Joe Bruno on Boxing – Muhammad Ali is Not a Hero.

Posted in Uncategorized on November 6, 2010 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Muhammad Ali passed away Friday night, June 3, 2016. I wrote the article below around the year 2000.

I got to know him fairly well in the 1980’s, when I was Vice President of the Boxing Writers Association. He was a real friendly man, and we had several nice conversations about what I have written below.

Still, his death doesn’t change what he was, and what he did early in his career.

It is with a sad heart that I stand by what is written below.

It’s just the truth, and a man’s death doesn’t change the truth.

*****

Muhammad Ali Hero?—Not!!!!!!!
There’s a new phenomenon taking place in boxing, and in the news media in general, which I’ll gracefully call revisionist history. I’m talking about the way the so-called media portrays one of the most controversial figures of all time – Muhammad Ali.

Former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali may have been great fighter, but he was also a shameless draft dodger, who refused to fight for his country in the Vietnam War.

If you say the United States didn’t belong in Vietnam–I agree. If you say it was a stupid war, a war we couldn’t win — I also agree. I didn’t like the war any more than Ali did, but me and hundreds of thousands of other men like me, black, white, or whatever, went into the United States armed service because it was our duty to our country and to our families.

Ali’s refusal to be inducted wasn’t a black/white thing like he and his people tried to shove down our throats. Hundreds of thousand of white men chickened out and avoided service in Vietnam too.

Ali claimed to be a Muslim minister as his exemption to get out of the military draft. Ali was a minister like Al Sharpton is a Reverend and like Dr. Irwin Corey is a physician. The draft board rightfully saw through Ali’s charade and classified him one A. But this man, who had already gotten rich though the American system of free enterprise, adamantly refused to take the one symbolic step forward on the day he was drafted.

To me, that was not only traitorous, it was darn personal.

My own life was put on hold for almost eight years because of the Vietnam War. I graduated Cardinal Hayes high school in 1965, I wasn’t taking enough credits at Hunter College to avoid the draft because I had to work full time so I could buy food to eat and keep a roof over my head. So, as was prescribed by the rules of the draft, I received a 1A classification.

In 1966, I decided to join the Navy, which three of my uncles had already served in, rather than get drafted into the army. I did four years active duty and another two years reserved. I could’ve beaten the draft like other skells did. Some jerks erroneously claimed to be gay to beat the draft. Others put needles in their arms and said they were junkies so they would fail the physical. And still others like myself were too proud to do things so disgraceful and humiliating, so we did what we thought was the only right and honorable thing to do. We either joined, or we were inducted into the Armed Forces of the United States of America. My only other alternative was suicide, since my father and my uncles would’ve surely beaten me to death if I ever did anything offensive to myself, my family and my country.

Starting in 1969, I did an 11-month tour on the aircraft carrier Constellation in the Bay of Tonkin 40 miles off the coast of Vietnam. I was a parachute rigger, so once a week I had to fly by helicopter into De Nang to pack the chutes in their base parachute loft. I saw white men serving there in the worst of conditions, along with black men, Muslims, Catholics, Jews and Protestants and a couple of Lithuanians too. Men that didn’t want to be in Vietnam any more than I did, but went anyway because America, right or wrong, is still our country, and if you want to live here and enjoy what the best country in the world has to offer, you have obligations.

I’ll never forget the night Ali fought Joe Frazier for the first time in 1970. The fight was broadcast live on Armed Forces Radio in the middle of the night for us in Vietnam. I remember hundreds of us setting our alarms for 3 am, even though we were on 12-hour working shifts in the war zone for as long as 45 days in a row. We sat around radios in all parts of the Constellation and I don’t remember one man who was rooting for Ali to win. Every race, color and creed was rooting for Smokin’ Joe Frazier, not the big-mouthed, race-baiting, draft dodger, and when Smokin’ Joe landed his famous left hook that dropped Ali in the fifteenth round, the huge ship rocked with cheers.

For whatever flimsy reasons he and white-hating Muslim sect tried to concoct, Ali refused to be inducted into the armed forces, and to me and millions like me, that’s the bottom line. You disgrace the memory of tens of thousands heroic Americans, black, white or whatever, who died in Vietnam and in every war before and since Vietnam, when you glorify the draft dodger, scoundrel, reprobate and the four-marriage adulterer Muhammad Ali definitely was. The pitiful condition he’s in now is sad, but has no relevance to the sins he committed back when he was, as he defiantly proclaimed —-The Greatest.

Thirty years have passed, and the sportswriters who railed against Ali’s treason in the 1960’s – men like Jimmy Cannon, Dick Young, and the great Red Smith – are all dead. The scribes still living are mostly the flower-child, pot-smoking, free-love, “peace man” types (Maynard G Krebs/Beatniks) and selective-memory airheads like Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Frank Rich and Mollie Irvins. Others who choose to ignore Ali’s dark past are generally Jane Fonda/Country Joe Fish-types and Woodstock Generation lemmings, who watch MSNBC and read left-wing rags like the New York Times, The Village Voice and the Washington Post. Not to mention limousine-liberals like the Kennedys and Cuomos, who wouldn’t be caught dead being in the same building with the very people whose pain they supposedly feel.

Muhammad Ali was a great fighter, but he was a draft dodger and much worse. In my book he will never be a great American. He was certainly no Joe Louis, a black man who proudly served his country in World War II and was rightfully referred to by Jimmy Cannon as “a credit to his race — the human race.”

Ali is a credit to no one but himself. His war record, along with the alimony he is forced to pay to four ex-wives, tells me more about Muhammad Ali than anything he ever did in the ring.

Photo Joe Bruno- Muhammad Ali 1985.

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Joebruno999

Joe Bruno on Boxing — Why the Boxing Writer Awards Are Meaningless

Posted in Uncategorized on November 6, 2010 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Joe Bruno on Boxing

By Joe Bruno—Former Vice President of the New York Boxing Writers
Association and the International Boxing Writers Association

News Item: New York Boxing Writers Announce their yearly awards.
Although they now bill themselves as the Boxing Writers of America, in early January the New York Boxing Writers did one of the two things they actually do to justify their existence (besides bending their elbows at wet luncheons), when they announced their yearly boxing awards.
Now let’s examine the dubious voting process, that somehow awarded Lennox “The Lummox” Lewis the 1999 Fighter of the Year. Lewis had two fights in 1999, both lackluster bouts with ancient and ring-worn Evander Holyfield. In the first Holyfield fight, Lewis was robbed by blind-judge officials, especially one Eugenia Williams, and their waltz was declared a draw. In the second fight, which many at ringside thought Holyfield had won (the ringside press were 3-1 in favor of Holyfield), Lewis won an uninspired 12-round unanimous decision. For this Lewis wins the NY Boxing Writers Fighter of the Year Award. How can that be? Well, if you look closely, there’s a reason, no matter how dubious and contrived.
Being a member of the New York Boxing Writers from 1979-1991, I attended many NY Boxing Writer luncheons, where the nominations were taken for their various awards. Of the 60 odd members of the NY Boxing Writers, approximately half are public relations people who work for various promoters, or television networks like HBO and Showtime, who are in the business of robbing the paying public by showcasing dreadful fight cards at $49.99 a pop. Some of the PR people are staff. Others are freelance. But they all stuff their pockets with the boxing public’s hard earned cash, that trickles down through the dirty paws of fascists like Seth “The Shrimp” Abraham of HBO, Bob “Bullspit” Arum and Dung King
After chomping down a roast beef lunch, and quaffing more than a few cocktails, the members of the NY Boxing Writers are then asked to nominate someone for each award. In almost every case, the nomination is put forth by a PR person interested in furthering the career of a fighter, manager, or trainer, his, or her boss, has a vested interest in, and sometimes even the boss promoter himself. Only one second is needed to place this nominee’s name on the ballot.
In 1982, it got so darn ridiculous, Murray Goodman, then Dung King’s chief flack, nominated the Dungster himself for the James J. Walker Award for Long and Meritorious Service in Boxing. At that time, King had been meritoriously serving boxing, and mostly his own bank accounts, for the sum total of five years. James J. Walker, you may remember, was the notorious former Mayor of New York City, who resigned his office in disgrace, after being caught with his felonious hand in the till. So maybe Dung King winning an award named after a famous crook wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Still, in 1982, Eddie Futch won the James J. Walker Award in a landslide victory of good versus hairy evil.
After six nominees are selected for each award, the luncheon comes to an end, and the real drinking begins, at the expense of the NY Boxing Writer’s checking account, of course. Sportswriters in general, and boxing writers in particular, are notorious freeloaders, and extremely tight tippers to the restaurant staff to boot.
I once raised the ire of an old time scribe at a NY Boxing Writers luncheon, by having the audacity to tip the bartender/waiter a ten spot, after I had imbibed about half a dozen Bloody Marys, several beers and a roast beef lunch. Foolishly, I thought it was the decent thing to do.
“Don’t spoil it for the rest of us,” I was chided, by this relic with a red nose, who had obviously had never worked for tips.
So after the luncheon is over, the secretary of the NY Boxing Writers, the truly lovable Tommy Kenville, for as long as I can remember, puts the nominations into an envelope and mails them out to all the members, even to the PR flunkies who work for the greedy promoters. The members then scribble in their votes, and a few weeks later, the president and vice president of the NY Boxing Writers, along with Kenville as the scorekeeper, tally up the votes.
Being the vice president from 1982-86, I was present at several of the vote counting sessions. I once saw the President Barney Nagler take one of the ballots he emphatically disagreed with, tear it up into little pieces and dump them into the trash. So much for one person, one vote. (This same dwarfish despot, as I was reading the first page of my four-page speech to present Tommy Kenville with the Walker Award in 1985, behind my back, tore up the remaining three pages of my speech, and I was forced with a red face to stammer, “And without further ado, I present you Tommy Kenville.)
So now you understand how the system works, and why we can never take the NY Boxing Writer’s awards, or their awards dinner seriously until the rules are changed to allow only real boxing writers to vote for the awards. But since more than half the present voting group are PR people, that has about as much of a chance of happening as Don King and Bob Arum going shopping for silverware together.
What an amusing thought. I wonder who would wear the tight skirt?

Joe Bruno on Boxing — The Disgrace of Tony Ayala

Posted in Uncategorized on November 6, 2010 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

News Flash!!! Convicted rapist returns to the ring.
In 2000, Tony Ayala Jr., one of the most despicable human beings I’ve ever met in the sport of boxing (and that’s saying something) made his return to the ring after spending sixteen years in the slammer for his second rape conviction.
“El Torito” (Baby Bull) stopped an outclassed Manuel Esparaza in the third round of their scheduled middleweight bout.  Ayala showed some of the punching power that made him one of the feared fighters of the early 1980s before he was sentenced to 35 years in prison for the rape of a New Jersey woman. Ayala also showed plenty of ring rust against an opponent who lost his last fight on a sixth-round knockout, and would have had no business being in the ring with an Ayala in his prime.
“It felt like the old days,” Ayala said. “I can’t tell you how much this meant to me.”
I hope he meant “the old days” boxing in the ring, and not when he was terrorizing helpless young women.
Any sportswriter who spent any time around Tony Ayala Sr. and his brood in the early 1980’s felt like he was hanging with Ma Barker and her gang.
Tony’s old man, Tony Sr., was hardly a positive role model for his troubled sons. Oldest son Mike, a world ranked featherweight, battled drugs throughout his career. Mike also had constant battles with his father, and sometimes it got downright nasty.
In 1980, Mike won a decision at the Felt Forum in Madison Square Garden. When I interviewed Mike after the fight, he asked me if I was going to Totowa’s Ice World the following week to see his younger brother Tony fight the main event. I said yes, and Mike told me, “When you see my father tell him I said hi, and tell him I’m sorry.”
A few days later, Tony Jr. won on an easy first round knockout over some Joe Schmoe for the Duvas out in Totowa, New Jersey. I did a quick interview with father and son, then I turned to Tony Sr. and told him what Mike had said.
Tony Sr. turned on me with angry eyes and screamed, “Tell my son Mike he can–” And I can’t say what he said next.
Tony Jr. was standing right next to good old dad as the father continued his profane verbal assault against older brother Mike.
Tony Jr. was first arrested for sexual assault when he was only fifteen years old. He attacked a young girl in the ladies room of a drive-in theater in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Ayala raped the poor girl, then roughed her up a bit. But because Tony Jr. was good with his fists, and had a promising pro boxing career, he somehow got off with only a slight slap on the wrists.
No prison time included.
Tony Jr. signed with the Duvas, and by 1982, he was one of the top junior middleweights in the world. This teenage snake was so vicious in the ring, he once spat at a fallen opponent named Robbie Epps.
Then Tony Jr. decided it was time to get down and dirty again.
Ayala was arrested for raping a young woman in her own bedroom in rural New Jersey. No slap on the wrist for El Torito ( El Disgratciata) this time. Thirty five years to life. But with the new math applied to his sentence, that somehow translated out to be only sixteen years in the can.
Ayala Jr. did his time, and like any citizen of the good old US of A, he is entitled to resume his wretched life outside prison walls.
Still, there’s something obscene about this two-time rapist making $200,000 in his first fight in almost two decades against such inferior competition. And on pay-per-view to boot.
What disturbs me most is that not one woman’s rights group picketed Ayala’s first fight back, like they did at Tyson’s when he fought for the first time after his rape conviction. In fact, before Ayala’s fight, two middle-aged woman carried a large banner around the ring that read “Hispanic Women For Better Justice support Torito.” These misguided morons even threw a brunch in Ayala’s honor the following day on the campus of San Antonio State College.
Better justice for whom? Certainly not for the hundreds of women who are raped and beaten annually in this country.
This sickening display of misplaced loyalties makes me want to puke. Sorry, but I just can’t help but wanting only bad things to happen to Tony Ayala Jr. in the future. Maybe soon El Torito (El Disgratciata) will be on the short end of someone else’s fiendish fury.
Then justice might finally be served.

As an addendum to the Ayala story, one of Ayala’s new advisors is the infamous, roguish, never to be trusted, but hard to dislike Don Elbaum. Elbaum has the reputation that if you shake hands with him, you better count your fingers quick.
One of the best Elbaum stories concerns a benefit dinner he once threw for the legendary Sugar Ray Robinson. At the night’s end, Elbaum stood at the podium, and with tears in his eyes he presented Sugar Ray with a set of old boxing gloves, ones Elbaum claimed were the very gloves Sugar Ray wore in this first pro fight four decades earlier. Sugar Ray graciously accepted the gloves, then suddenly noticed they were two right gloves.
Elbaum just smiled and shrugged his shoulders.
Typical.

Joe Bruno on Boxing – Hector Camacho

Posted in Uncategorized on November 3, 2010 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Who said a leopard can’t change its spots?

Hector “Macho” Camacho turned pro in New York city in 1980. At the time I was the boxing editor of the News World, a New York City Daily newspaper owned by the Reverend Sun Young Moon. Half the newspaper staff were Moonies, the other half non-Moonies like me. What did I care? As long as the good reverend didn’t try to convert me to the faith, or ask me to sell flowers near the Holland Tunnel. Also owned by Reverend Moon was the Spanish Daily newspaper Noticias Del Mundo. My daily boxing columns were translated into Spanish and also printed in De Mundo. This caused me a lot of grief with the Spanish community, and especially with Mr. Camacho.

From the first time we met,  Hector and I  hit it off like oil and water. Truthfully, I can’t remember the contents of one bad column I wrote about the Macho Man. But there were plenty. Hector was eighteen and I was around thirty. Two guys from the mean streets of Manhattan, where the main motto is, “Don’t take shit from anyone.” He didn’t. And neither did I. We clashed. We argued. We almost came to blows several times.

One time in Atlantic City, Camacho was fighting an Angelo Dundee fighter called Louie Burke. It was on national TV one Saturday afternoon when weekend daytime fights were the big rage on all three major networks. I think I must’ve written sometime negative about Camacho before the fight. Truthfully, I can’t remember.
In the third round Camacho decked Burke. He went to the neutral corner, where I was sitting in the first press row next to boxing writer Mike Katz, then of the New York Times. While the ref counted over Burke, Camacho stuck his glove between the ropes and flicked it at my nose. He missed me by inches. I don’t know if Camacho was trying to hit me, or maybe I had some lint on my nose and he was trying to help me out. Camacho won by a knockout soon after, and in the post-fight press conference, he had some pointed things to say about me and my hallowed brethren in the boxing press. I don’t remember what he said, but I certainly did not use his fiery words in any resumes I sent out in the future.

Late that night I was alone in the elevator heading either to, or from the Casinos. As God would have it, the elevator stopped and Camacho headed in by himself. We both had obviously been drinking. We sneered at each other for a moment, then shook hands and went  our separate ways.
Fast forward sixteen years later. I’m now retired and living in the sun-drenched splendor of sunny Sarasota, Florida. My friend Don Guercio (Donny G. to Sarasota TV fans) is part owner of Blab TV in Sarasota, Channel 36. He has a weekly sports program called “Let’s Talk Sports”, on which I occasionally appear. Through the  Internet, I found out that Camacho is now living in Orlando, less than two hours away from Sarasota. His training camp supervisor is former middleweight Alex Ramos, also from New York City. Through Ramos, I arranged to go to Camacho’s camp with a cameraman to film a spot for Donnie G’s show.

How will Camacho react to seeing his old nemesis? Did I need a bodyguard? The answers were great, and not in the least. We arrived a little early. Minutes later, Camacho drove up in his white Isuzu Trouper. The car stopped. Hector and Ramos got out of the car. My heart fluttered. My gut tightened. My biceps flexed. All for naught. When I extended my hand, Hector took it, hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. He said, “What ever’s past is past.” passed.”

I almost fainted.

The interview went well. Hector admitted in the interview that years ago he didn’t like me. But he also said he couldn’t remember the particulars of one single incident where we had clashed. And neither could I. After the interview was complete, we spent about an half an hour talking like old friends. No animosity. No nothing. Hell, the kid ( he’s not a kid anymore) is a damn good guy, and I regret not knowing this sooner.
A leopard can change his spots. Only I’m sure both us old leopards had a lot of changing to do to for me to come to this conclusion.

Joe Bruno on Boxing -Don’t Pay For Pay-Per-View

Posted in Uncategorized on November 3, 2010 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

The mailman knocked on my door this morning and delivered me a package. It was a GPX CD Player AM/FM Stereo Cassette Recorder I had ordered from Amazon.com. The price? A measly $19.99, plus shipping and handling. The Boombox originally cost $49.99. But Amazon discounted the player to $29.99, then added a $10 gift certificate, lowing the price to less the twenty bucks.
So it can be done. Something that once cost $49.99, can be bought for $19.99. Then why can’t the same thing be done for pay-per-view boxing?
Tell the truth. How many of you now reading this column spent $49.99 of their hard earned money on a pay-per-view boxing match in the past decade. Fifty bucks to watch a so-so main event, and a undercard filled with stiffs, freaks and and mismatches (Butterbean immediately comes to mind. Plus Christy Martin against the waitress of the week).
Come on now; raise your hand if you were one of the hundreds of millions of poor saps who had to fork over their fifty bucks if they wanted to see whatever spectacle the main event was advertised to be. And how many of you thought you actually got equal value for your dollar?
So why do you continue to sit back and do nothing about this blatant highway robbery? Would you same people pay 50 thousand dollars for a 20 thousand dollar automobile? I don’t think so.
So here’s what we are going to do. We are going to write our cable company (The form letter is provided below by the CBZ. All you have to do is fill in the cable company name and your name, and slip it in the envelope the next time you pay your cable bill). In this letter we are going to tell the cable company that we want value for our dollar. We will gladly pay $19.95 for every pay-per-view boxing match they may broadcast in the future. But
never again will we fork over the exuberant price of fifty bucks.
The poison dart is in your hand. Throw the damn thing.
Remember if you are not part of the solution, you are definitely part of the problem.

—————————————————————————————————

Dear (fill in cable company name)

This is to inform you that I insist on getting value for my dollar. I pay your cable rates without question (My payment for last month’s bill is enclosed). Your price is your price, and that’s what I pay because there I feel I am getting equal value for my dollar.

But your pay-per-view rates for boxing matches are exorbitant and totally out of line with reality. I will never again pay $49.99 for a boxing match that either ends with a dubious decision, or ends early because some lout has chosen to foul his opponent, either by hitting him low, hitting him after the bell, or by biting off his opponent’s ear.

However, I will gladly pay $19.95 for every boxing match you propose to air on your cable network. I feel $19.95 is a fair price; a just price for pay-per-view boxing matches. I am willing, for $19.95, to take the chance that the fights will be competitive, and that some bizarre ending to the boxing match will not mar my evening of enjoyment.

So please contact your partners in pay-per-view boxing; the boxing promoters. Tell them my feelings. Tell them I’m tired of getting ripped off. Tell them I would be glad to pay $19.95 for pay-per-view fights, as would millions of other people who have so far refused to pay $49.95 for over-hyped and under-performing pay-per-view boxing events. As a result, more people will get in the habit of paying for pay-per-view, which in the long run, will notably increase your bottom line.

The good will you will generate by this gesture will foster improved customer relations, a prime objective of any revenue generating business.

Thank you,

Your valued customer,

(Fill in your name)

Joe Bruno on Boxing – Hector Camacho

Posted in Uncategorized on November 2, 2010 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

 

Who said a leopard can’t change its spots?


Hector “Macho” Camacho turned pro in New York city in 1980. At the time I was the boxing editor of the News World, a New York City Daily newspaper owned by the Reverend Sun Young Moon. Half the newspaper staff were Moonies, the other half non-Moonies like me. What did I care? As long as the good reverend didn’t try to convert me to the faith, or ask me to sell flowers near the Holland Tunnel. Also owned by Reverend Moon was the Spanish Daily newspaper Noticias Del Mundo. My daily boxing columns were translated into Spanish and also printed in De Mundo. This caused me a lot of grief with the Spanish community, and especially with Mr. Camacho.


From the first time we met,  Hector and I  hit it off like oil and water. Truthfully, I can’t remember the contents of one bad column I wrote about the Macho Man. But there were plenty. Hector was eighteen and I was around thirty. Two guys from the mean streets of Manhattan, where the main motto is, “Don’t take shit from anyone.” He didn’t. And neither did I. We clashed. We argued. We almost came to blows several times.


One time in Atlantic City, Camacho was fighting an Angelo Dundee fighter called Louie Burke. It was on national TV one Saturday afternoon when weekend daytime fights were the big rage on all three major networks. I think I must’ve written sometime negative about Camacho before the fight. Truthfully, I can’t remember.

In the third round Camacho decked Burke. He went to the neutral corner, where I was sitting in the first press row next to boxing writer Mike Katz, then of the New York Times. While the ref counted over Burke, Camacho stuck his glove between the ropes and flicked it at my nose. He missed me by inches. I don’t know if Camacho was trying to hit me, or maybe I had some lint on my nose and he was trying to help me out. Camacho won by a knockout soon after, and in the post-fight press conference, he had some pointed things to say about me and my hallowed brethren in the boxing press. I don’t remember what he said, but I certainly did not use his fiery words in any resumes I sent out in the future.


Late that night I was alone in the elevator heading either to, or from the Casinos. As God would have it, the elevator stopped and Camacho headed in by himself. We both had obviously been drinking. We sneered at each other for a moment, then shook hands and went  our separate ways.

Fast forward sixteen years later. I’m now retired and living in the sun-drenched splendor of sunny Sarasota, Florida. My friend Don Guercio (Donny G. to Sarasota TV fans) is part owner of Blab TV in Sarasota, Channel 36. He has a weekly sports program called “Let’s Talk Sports”, on which I occasionally appear. Through the  Internet, I found out that Camacho is now living in Orlando, less than two hours away from Sarasota. His training camp supervisor is former middleweight Alex Ramos, also from New York City. Through Ramos, I arranged to go to Camacho’s camp with a cameraman to film a spot for Donnie G’s show.


How will Camacho react to seeing his old nemesis? Did I need a bodyguard? The answers were great, and not in the least. We arrived a little early. Minutes later, Camacho drove up in his white Isuzu Trouper. The car stopped. Hector and Ramos got out of the car. My heart fluttered. My gut tightened. My biceps flexed. All for naught. When I extended my hand, Hector took it, hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. He said, “What ever’s past is past.” passed.”


I almost fainted.


The interview went well. Hector admitted in the interview that years ago he didn’t like me. But he also said he couldn’t remember the particulars of one single incident where we had clashed. And neither could I. After the interview was complete, we spent about an half an hour talking like old friends. No animosity. No nothing. Hell, the kid ( he’s not a kid anymore) is a damn good guy, and I regret not knowing this sooner.

A leopard can change his spots. Only I’m sure both us old leopards had a lot of changing to do to for me to come to this conclusion.

Joe Bruno on Boxing

Posted in Uncategorized on November 2, 2010 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

This column has a little to do with boxing, but a lot to do with right and wrong in the streets of New York City.
I was abjectly disgraced by fellow paisans Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro at the 1999 Academy Awards. The duo who brought us the Academy Award winning boxing film “The Raging Bull” (DeNiro also played sleazy lawyer/boxing promoter Harry Fabian in “The Night And The City”), drastically shrunk in stature when they accompanied disgraced Black List Informer Elia Kazan onto the stage to receive his controversial Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy. Kazan spilled his yellow guts in 1952 to a Congressional committee investigating Communist influence in Hollywood. Kazan cowardly named the names of people who along with him belonged to a pro-communist group 20 years earlier. Those people were blacklisted and never worked under their own names in Hollywood again. Some even committed suicide.
For me pal, this one was personal.
In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, although we were not friendly, I grew up on Baxter Street in New York’s Little Italy, just scant blocks south of Scorsese’s Elizabeth Street apartment building . DeNiro grew up a few blocks west and to the north in Greenwich Village. If there was we learned one thing in the old neighborhood is that you just don’t tolerate rats. Even multi-talented rats like Kazan.
The true men in the audience were ones like Academy Award nominees Ed Harris and Nick Nolte, who sat on their hands during the tribute to Kazan, maybe as an alternative to giving the 89-year old canary the Italian salute.
Comedian Chris Rock said earlier in the show as he stood at the podium presenting another award, “I saw DeNiro backstage. They better keep DeNiro away from Kazan. We all know he hates rats.”
Boy, did Chris Rock miss the boat on that one.
What’s next for Bobby Ba Da Bing and Marty the Mook? A tribute to Sammy the Bull Gravano?