Savarese won two New York Golden Gloves Championships. Savarese won the 1985 Super-Heavyweight Novice Championship and the 1986 Super-Heavyweight Open Championship. In 1985 Savarese stopped (RSC-2) Jonathan Hill of Gleason's Gym in the finals to win the Championship and in 1986 Savarese defeated Alex Stewart of the Uptown Gym in the finals to win the Championship. In 1987 Savarese advanced to the finals of the Super Heavyweight Open division. He was to have met future Heavyweight Champion Riddick Bowe but Savarese was injured and could not box. Savarese trained at the Cage Recreation Center in White Plains, New York. Savarese is originally from Greenwood Lake, New York. He now resides in Houston.
Savarese, a Roberts Elementarian, began his professional boxing career on April 30, 1989, knocking out James Smith (not the former world Heavyweight champion) in four rounds at Galveston, Texas. Savarese's first win by first round knockout came on his second fight, against Terrence Roberts, on May 25, at Atlantic City.
Savarese won his first eight fights by knockout. On April 19, 1990, Savarese was forced to fight an entire boxing fight for the first time, when he defeated Mike Robinson in Poughkeepsie, New York by a six-round decision. He proceeded to win his next seven fights by knockout, and, in 1991, Kayo boxing cards published a trading card featuring Savarese.
On September 20 of that year, he and Robinson had a rematch, with Savarese knocking Robinson out in the fourth round. His next fight, against Mike Faulkner on November 26, at White Plains, New York, resulted in a five-round disqualification win for Savarese.
On November 21, 1992 Savarese fought Larry Givens, who is mostly famous for his incredible lack of success as a professional boxer. Givens retired with a record of 3-46. Savarese managed to KO Givens in the 2nd round.
Savarese ran his record to 36-0, with 30 knockouts, but he was a relatively unknown fighter: apart from the 1991 Kayo boxing trading card, no other type of media attempted to make Savarese's name a household one, partly because of the type of opposition he had met. Of Savarese's thirty six opponents, none was known to most boxing fans. So the Savarese management team came with an ingenious, and not very often seen, way to draw the public's attention towards Savarese: a Lou Savarese fan club was created, and, by the middle 1990s, the fan club was being advertised on major boxing magazines, such as Ring and KO. The advertisement offered free membership to anyone, and promised free personalized, autographed photos to each new member.
The idea worked, and Savarese was next faced with his first relatively known opponent, Buster Mathis Jr.. This fight was for the NABF's vacant regional Heavyweight title, and Savarese won the title on November 1, 1996, by knocking Mathis out in round seven, at Indio, California.
Next was a major fight against former two time world Heavyweight champion George Foreman. The fight was held on April 26, 1997, in Atlantic City. It was Savarese's HBO Boxing television show's debut, and for the widely unrecognized WBU "world Heavyweight title". While Savarese lost for the first time, he nevertheless impressed boxing critics and fans, many of whom felt he deserved the split decision that was given to Foreman. Savarese lost by scorecards of 110-118, 112-115 and a favorable 114-113.
Based on his performance against Foreman, the outcome of his next fight, against David Izon on November 1, was considered to be a mild upset. Savarese and Izon fought at New York's famed Apollo Theater, and Savarese suffered his first knockout defeat, when Izon beat him in five rounds.
But Savarese would rebound by scoring two important wins: on April 23, 1998, he defeated Jeff Lally by a knockout in round two at the Sheraton Hotel in Houston, and then, on June 25, he scored what was arguably his biggest career win, beating James Douglas, a former world Heavyweight champion and the first man to beat Mike Tyson, by knockout in the first round to pick the also widely unrecognized IBA's "World" Heavyweight title.
After that, he fought only twice in 1999, winning a split decision over then prospect Lance "Mount" Whitaker and losing by ten-round decision against future Lennox Lewis world championship challenger Michael Grant, on June 19 at New York's Madison Square Garden.
More than one year later, on June 24, 2000, Savarese had his first fight abroad, when he faced Tyson in Glasgow, Scotland. The fight was stopped thirty eight seconds into the first round. While attempting to stop Tyson, referee John Coyle was accidentally pulled to the floor by him. Tyson was declared the winner by technical knockout.
Savarese remained active, and, after two wins, he beat David Bostice on November 2, 2001 by a twelve-round decision.
Another major win for Savarese came on September 22, 2002, when he beat former two-time world Heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon by a knockout in round five at Friant, California.
On March 15, 2003, he lost the title to former John Ruiz world title challenger Kirk Johnson, who knocked Savarese out in four rounds at Dallas.
Attempting to win another regional Heavyweight title, Savarese fought Leo Nolan, for the IBA's vacant Americas Heavyweight title, but he lost to Nolan by a twelve-round unanimous decision on May 7, 2004. Lou Savarese returned to the ring on March 18, 2006 stopping Marcus Rhode in two rounds at Convention Center in Fort Smith, Arkansas. His record now stands at 44-6-36 ko's.
Savarese is trained by Jesse Reid, who survived a shooting in 1984 when another of his boxers, former WBC world Jr. Welterweight champion Bruce Curry shot him two days after losing to Billy Costello.
Lou Savarese continued his comeback by stopping Travis Fulton in 3 rounds on January 18, 2007, in Houston TX. Savarese showed he still has decent ability and has now brought his record to 45-6-37 kos.
On June 30, 2007, Savarese fought former Heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfield. He fought with great heart but lost by decision to a sharp looking Holyfield. Savarese announced after the fight that he had given it his all but it wasn't good enough, and this would be his last bout.
On June 20, 2013 Savarase competed in a mixed martial arts bout. He won the fight by first-round TKO.
Savarese has been featured in episodes of The Jury, Guiding Light, The Sopranos, Damages and Rescue Me as well as the movie We Own the Night. He also played a lead role in ESPN’s documentary Cinderella Man: The James J. Braddock Story, for which he received excellent reviews for his portrayal of boxer Max Baer. Other recent works include the independent film Nicky’s Game, A Matter of Honor (film)|A Matter of Honor, and Knock, Knock, a horror film in which he plays Rico, the villain.