High School: Sacramento
During the 70’s, before the Sacramento Kings arrived, boxing was king in Sacramento and the Memorial Auditorium was legendary. One of the reasons for that was “Pistol” Pete Ranzany. Ranzany was the biggest star and attraction in the capitol city because of his crowd pleasing style and character.
Ranzany compiled 59 wins and was one of the most popular fighters ever to come out of Sacramento. Ranzany and Memorial Auditorium went hand in hand as Pete fought there 55 times and a total of 57 in his hometown. He set the tone for future area fighters like Tony “The Tiger” Lopez, Sal Lopez, Loreto Garza, Willie Jorrin and Diego Corrales. Pete was the first recognizable professional fighter from Sacramento and drew huge crowds.
Pete never won a world title but he did have a lot of success and fought some of the biggest names in the sport. He defeated future welterweight champion Carlos Palomino as an amateur in the Olympic Trials in 1972, but later lost to eventual gold medalist, Sugar Ray Seals, in the final.
As a pro, Ranzany won the NABF title with a victory over Randy Shields. He challenged Pipino Cuevas for the WBA title outside at Hughes Stadium in front of 17,000 fans. He also fought Sugar Ray Leonard at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and Wilfred Benitez. One of Pete’s biggest victories came against former champion Sean O’Grady in 1982.
Pete retired in 1983 and remained in the area. He worked as a correctional officer at Folsom Prison for nearly 20 years and established a boxing program for inmates. Pete continues to live in Sacramento and still is a fan favorite to many who will always remember his classic fights.