Who knew I’d get a hankering to watch and read about 1950’s boxing. It came about as a dare–a dare not expressly offered to me, but one issued to my husband.
One of the creators the the Jack Tunney, Fight-Card series of stories, Paul Bishop, offered my husband the opportunity to join the many talented men who write these stories. My husband, Tim, who was raised with four girls, doesn’t have a sports bone in his body and wasn’t interested in Paul’s offer. I, however, being raised with four boys, had lived and loved sports from the time I was a little girl. So I took the silent, unintentional dare and started writing my version of a Fight-Card series book. I called it Lady’s Night. As you can probably tell from my other posts, this is something I’m consumed with at the moment.
On my journey of discovering or rediscovering a love for the sport of boxing, I watched a lot of fights from the 1950’s. Marciano defeating Archie Moore. Marciano defeating Ezzard Charles. Sugar Ray Robinson boxing Rocky Graziano or Jake La Motta, and so forth. Not a lot of people could watch these fights in the early 50’s until TV’s were installed in their homes. Most people gathered eagerly around their radios to glean the exciting play-by-play, from the voice of the enthusiast radio/TV announcer, and them imaged the blows and felt the pounding the loser would experience and the pressure to win.
There are actual boxing matches from the 50’s on YouTube. Tony DeMarco once fought a newcomer, Carmen Basilio in a fight at Boston Garden in December 1955. Here is the article about the fighter knows as the “Onion Picker.”
A lot of fighters during the 50’s were presented with the opportunity to have fights fixed in their favor or take dives–for money, a lot of money. The mob presented the easy life for fighters because in some instances, the mob owned the boxing world. But Gary B. Youmans said of Carmen, “In his quest for boxing greatness, Basilio was not only up against highly elite fighters but organized crime as well. Though possessed by dreams of title belts, Basilio, unlike Jake LaMotta, steadfastly refused to cooperate with the mobsters who were the gatekeepers to the boxing kingdom.”
The boxers from the fight card series are faced with many temptations and it’s exciting to see if they’ll hold true to their convictions. The many authors of this amazing series have written books that will stand the test of time when the good, though challenged, will rise to the top much like that fattening cream off fresh milk.
Whether this love of boxing will linger long after I’ve completed Lady’s Night and published it right along the other pioneers of the genre, I can’t say. But the other night I sat through a couple of Saturday night fights then rounded it out with a couple of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), cage matches. I think Paul Bishop may have created a monster.
Pick up a copy of one of the Fight-Card Series and see for yourself what an exciting for boxing the 1950’s were for these soldiers of the “Sweet Science.”