Vinnie Cala entered the world on Buffalo’s West Side on February 29, 1936, where he spent his early days and initiated his amateur and professional boxing careers. Vinnie attended the old and now long gone School # 81 but graduated from the newer School # 19. He completed his secondary education at Lafayette High School.
He started boxing at the Butler Mitchell Boys Club at Virginia and Tenth Streets under the guidance of Sammy Sacco, a former boxer. In his early days of boxing he was trained and managed by Cosmo Militello and John Toth.
During his amateur career, Vinnie won Buffalo Golden Gloves Championships in the bantamweight and lightweight divisions in 1951, 1953, 1954, and 1955. In 1955, at Madison Square Garden, he fought in the final bout for the Eastern Golden Gloves lightweight championship but lost a very close decision. George Lampshire, a long time coach of local boxers, was trainer of the Buffalo team that year.
Vinnie had approximately 48 amateur bouts before enlisting in the U.S. Army. He was assigned to a Military Police unit. During his two year enlistment, which was preceded by a four year hitch in the New York National Guard, he fought as a welterweight in 12 bouts in various Military instillations in Florida and Georgia.
In 1961, Vinnie entered the pro ranks as a lightweight. He trained at the Singer’s Gym located at 338 Washington Street which at that time was the prime venue for honing the skills of local boxers. He went on to win 16 of his first 17 bouts with 11of those victories by KO’s. His first and only loss was a split decision to Rudy Richardson, who previously lost a very close match to Welterweight Champion Billy Backus. After that loss Vinnie fought and won one more bout before retiring in September of 1969.
Early in his pro career, Vin was cited in Ring Magazine as one of 10 young boxers who displayed promise towards becoming champions in various weight divisions.
Another highlight in Vinnie Cala’s career occurred during a brief training period in the gym operated by noted trainer Angelo Dundee. It was there in Miami Florida That he had the opportunity to spar with Mohammad Ali. Needless to say, “The Greatest” did not throw any heavyweight bombs at the 135 pound lightweight.
Vinnie is now self - employed as a part time charter taxi driver. He also keeps busy by maintaining his restored 1938 Ford Model “A” two door sedan which he tools around town in while visiting his eight adult children and twenty one grandchildren.
Tonight we are delighted to induct Vinnie Cala into Ring #44’s Boxing Hall of Fame.