From baking to boxing, Phil Alessi was a Tampa original

- Tampa bakery owner and promoter Phil Alessi Sr. died Sunday at the age of 74. His son, Phil Alessi Jr., said his father battled diabetes and had been on dialysis. 

The elder Alessi learned the baking business in the Tampa bakery his grandfather started in 1912. 

"He talked about starting when he was 6 years old and that's when he really recognized that's what he wanted to do," said Alessi Jr. 

The Alessi Bakery was purely a Tampa business until Alessi grew the family business and placed products in Publix and other supermarkets nationwide. 

Known for his charisma and passion, Alessi tapped his love of boxing to become a promoter. He brought many famous friends home, his son said. "Muhammed Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Angelo Dundee would come. Before he got sick, Dundee was in our gym every day."

Alessi Sr. is in the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame, and in the hearts of many friends and customers. 

"Talk about charisma and creativity, the products out there, they're his creativity," added his son, gesturing toward the bakery filled with cakes and other treats which are Tampa originals, just like Phil Alessi.

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