Kid Gavilan vs Billy Graham III | Ring Talk with Lou Eisen | Talkin Fight
EPISODE: Episode 2
Kid Gavilan vs Billy Graham III | Ring Talk with Lou Eisen | Talkin Fight
This week Lou discusses the August 29th, 1951 world welterweight championship bout between champion Kid Gavilan and challenger Billy Graham at Madison Square Garden. The August 29, 1951 fight at New York’s Madison Square Garden was a welterweight championship fight between Kid Gavilan and Billy Graham. Gavilan was the champion and Graham was the challenger. The fight went the full 15 rounds and Gavilan won by a unanimous decision.
The fight was a close one, with both men giving and taking punishment throughout the bout. Gavilan was the more accurate puncher, landing the cleaner, harder shots, but Graham was relentless in his attack, never backing down or giving an inch. In the end, Gavilan’s superior boxing skills and technique were just enough to edge out a victory on the scorecards, much to the delight of the New York crowd.
Discussing the greatest boxing controversies throughout history, Lou Eisen offers his opinions and insights in this fantastic live-streamed series of episodes. Watch live on TalkinFight.com every Sunday at 2pm ET.
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[, Music, ], foreign [, Music, ] boxing writer and historian, and this is ring, talk and Happy Thanksgiving to all my uh fellow Canadians.
You know a friend of mine, a brilliant comedian to later on Barker, who used to say when he would speak to Americans in the audience.
He would say so.
You celebrate your Thanksgiving later.
We celebrate ours now and you wonder why, and he said me too.
He said I live in Winnipeg Canada.
Have you been to Winnipeg in October? Nothing to be thankful about? Of course he was referring to the weather Winnipeg’s, a great City just want to say, and in the 1920s it was the epicenter of boxing, because Fighters would be sent all over the world because there were no laws preventing fights in place anywhere.
So boxes could fight.
Often, and get good before they went down to the States.
Okay, Lou move on so today we’re going to discuss one of the most controversial fights in boxing history.
I’Ve watched his fight hundreds of times and to be honest with you when I watched it, I think well, it was close.
It was closer than people thought.
This fight was between kid Gavilan and Billy.
Graham, it was the third fight, so Graham won.
The first fight and gavilion won the second.
This fight took place August, 29, 1951, Madison Square Garden, and it was for the Undisputed world of Welterweight Title gavlan was the champ he’d won the title from Johnny Bratton and another unfortunate, a great fighter, Johnny Bratton without a doubt, who’ve been you, know, cheated and robbed, And saved by the mob so had Gavilan and Gavilan.
When he came to the United States, his Ascent was rapid.
Uh he’d gone from featherweight.
You know when he started boxing because he was Tiny in Cuba.
Up to Bantam and uh.
Excuse me fly away.
Bantamweight featherweight lightweight and then weltered people.
That’S why when people get the accused, Manny Pacquiao of using steroids, I always say: that’s BS he’s always been tested, uh voluntarily, anytime and there’s prior history for this um kid Gavilan was one of them, and so was Jimmy McLaren and started as a fly also ended Up with 12 to 8 Titleist, so it can be done.
Uh, Gerardo Gonzalez.
I like kid Gavilan as a fighter, and this fight took place, as I said, between him and Billy.
Graham now I ate Gavilan at the Boxing Hall of Fame.
When I was Angela – and it was very – it was heartwarming because he was rooming at that time.
He was sharing neck grooming.
He was sharing an apartment with the great Bojack.
We should do a show on Bo Jackson.
Just Bojack was a wonderful fighter who fought with his heart soul.
He fought a whole fight with a broken leg, bug Jack and you know when his cornered said the legs broken.
Definitely he said to hell with it.
I got one good leg: Hank sitting down, I’m going after him.
That was Bo Jack.
You know like Lou Amber is the lightweight champ in the 30s when he had a broken hand, and this doctor examine it and said it’s broken.
He said this guy’s a bum I’ll beat him with my other hand, and he did so when I went when I saw them at the hall of fame.
It was a great.
It was very funny because they sit beside each other uh and kid Gavilan never spoke English, but Jack only spoke.
English Gavilan spoke Spanish uh Cuban, the Gavilan, wherever he went.
If you saw him at seven in the morning at the hall of fame having breakfast elaborate Suit and Tie, he looked just gorgeous suit and tie everywhere.
He went if you bumped into him at 11, 30 at night, somewhere suit and tie Angela Dundee.
They lived in Florida, Angela Sydney dropped by his apartment on a Sunday they’re watching football together, uh, there’s, boat Jack is always wearing chinos and a white T-shirt kid Castle, Man suit and tie he just he just always dressed like a gentleman and Gavilan didn’t want the Mob to control him, but as most people don’t understand, you didn’t have a choice as a fighter.
The mob was omnipresent and I relate this to Frank Sinatra.
My favorite singer and I think the greatest singer ever along with Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, people will say you know we played mob on clubs.
You know yeah well, all clubs back then were mob owned.
No one else had the disposable income to keep a club open and to be able to keep it open when, when tickets weren’t selling in down times or or when they had bad weeks, only the mob had the disposable income to do that.
And so the problem with the mob, of course, is they got greedy in boxing.
They got into it in the 1920s because that’s when money first came about with Jack Dempsey, and so the mob was satisfied, then, with with with um taking parts of Fighters, purses large parts and also fixing fights, and so they could bet beforehand, because betting implies risks.
They knew who would win and they didn’t make a coup with the mob.
Bookies and they’d make all this money and then, of course, they got greedier, because you know by doing this they’re robbing the fans and then they would take all the TV money and then it got to be too much um.
So this fight the third fight.
I watched it enough.
I’Ve watched it as I said many times, and I thought going in having spoken to so many people, um uh, rehearsality fudge Angelo Dundee, uh Emmanuel Stewart, so many people uh uh, um, uh bird sugar, but shoulder I was predisposed to think well, Graham won, and so When I watched the fight the first five ten times, I thought it was close, Graham won, but it wasn’t a landslide, but I thought Graham did win now.
The fight the judge, Artie Schwartz, who who later on admitted according to excuse me Gart, Madison, Square Garden, Matchmaker the flight was at the Garden Teddy Brenner, said: uh, Hey scrapbook, hey scrapbook.
If you have a first name, let me know so.
I can and peace to you too, my brother, let me know so I can call you about your first thing or I can continue calling your scrapbook, which is a much better name than my name, Lou um.
So the judge Artie Schwartz, scored the fight for Gavilan.
The judge, Frank Ford, scored the fight for Graham and referee Mark Khan, scored about for gavilion Khan needed a police escort to get out of Madison Square Garden.
Artie Schwartz apparently said on his deathbed to his son, who told Teddy Brenner that I was forced by the mob to do it and then later that was disproven uh.
According you know, when they, when they looked it up, uh about what happened but um we’ll get to that later, I’m getting ahead of myself, so Gavilan wins the fight by by uh Split Decision two to one, the United, the Associated Press scored the fight for Billy Grahams several rounds for Graham five for Gavilan three, even uh UPI United president International score to fight for Graham eight six one eight rounds, Graham six Gavilan one, even United UPI did a poll United Press International 12 of 15 ringside boxing writers picked Billy.
Graham now, you might be sitting there thinking who cares what they think and you’d be right, because one of the most very well respected and great boxing writers, the New York Times James P, Dawson, scored about for Gavilan nine round s to six and he sat there And he said I’m not looking at the mob control this guy or that guy, I’m not looking at what the judges are supposed to.
I don’t care what they think.
I’M looking, who I think, won each round and I think Avalanche beat him nine rounds to six uh.
They fought four times.
Gavilan won three Graham actually won their first encounter.
Gavilan was born, they say, bear recalls Spain, but I think it was kamagoy Cuba January 6.
1926 and he died February, 13, 2003 and um, so he lived a nice long life and he had 143 career fights.
He had 108 wins and 30 losses and five draws and he only had 28 Knockouts.
He was not a knockout puncher, but you have to know: Gavilan stood five foot ten and a half which was big then for a Welter with the 71 Intrigue that was big Accords until Thomas Hearns came along at 6-1.
Billy Graham, was born September 29th in New York 1922 and he died January 22nd 1992.
He had 126 fights and he had, he had 102 wins 27 Ko’s, 15 losses and nine draws Graham, was never dropped.
The interesting thing about Billy, Graham okay scrapbook.
So the interesting thing about Billy Graham, is the fact that he wasn’t a big man.
He was only five seven 68 intrigued, but he did you know what rare as hell told me.
He did so many things well in the ring, and the other uh irony about Billy, Graham, is in training camp when he would train for fights, he’d knock at Spartan Partners out cold, and I could never figure this out.
How? How can we couldn’t do it in the rain? You know I mean you look at 126 fights just 28 knockouts and rare cells said because when you’re sparring there’s no pressure on you you’re, you know you’re not looking to you’re, not expecting the guy to try to take your head off you’re very loose you’re working On different things and you’re more likely to be yourself and let it go and that’s what he did, whereas when you’re in the rain, you said you got all these mental memos in your head.
Don’T do this, don’t do that when you throw this punch.
Keep this hand up to, and he said it’s just you know you’re, so on alert of not getting hit back, that you’re sort of very careful with your shots so and it was the same with gavling gavling didn’t have many knockouts either he only had 28 and 108 wins they were both skilled Fighters.
Gavlan was known for his bolo punch, which was a hybrid uh uppercut hook.
It was like uh razor ruddick’s, the Smasher Punch, remember the one wearing almost decapitated, Michael doakes, that was the same kind of punch and their first meeting February, 10, 1950 Madison Square Garden.
Graham wins, 10 round decision Split Decision.
Second is a majority decision in the 12 rounder November 17, 1950 Madison Square Garden same year and then uh their fourth fight after this third controversial one, Graham challenge Gavilan again for the world of altitude title.
But he did it in Cuba on October 5th 52 and he lost by uh a unanimous decision and that wasn’t a mob fight.
He actually lost that site and um.
You can only imagine the third fight in um in uh, Madison Square Garden, depression, that was on the referee and the judge to score, because the mob had gone to Irvine Cohen, who also managed um, uh Rocky Graziano and I believe, later on, Harry Norris and Irvin Cohen, who lived to his late 90s uh Frankie Cairo took him aside and said: you know your guy doesn’t win unless we get a piece and he said I understand, and he said how much of a piece – and he says well, you know 20 to begin, but Then that’ll move up to 40 percent and he went back to Graham and Graham said: no, I’m not going to sell a piece because, Graham and Cohen knew that once they got they got their hooks into Graham Cohen would be eased aside.
Graham would lose most of his purses 70 to 80 percent of his purses to them and the fights wouldn’t be on the level, so he might fight a guy who was like uh, you know, 19 wins 10 losses and they might say you got to lose my Knockout and Graham just couldn’t, live with himself.
He said his self-respect was worth more than than the lies to the Mob and that’s the other thing about the mob, even though the mob said we’ll give you a title: shot and you’ll win the title and you’ll make a ton of money they never they never Back there, whatever they said, they never kept their word.
They were thieving lying, corrupt, evil, vile sobs that for for were uh forever staying on the Glorious sport of boxing and when people say today, boxing was better when the mob controlled it for whom not for the fighters like Ike Williams, who ended up Indigent, who ended Up living in a park, you know not for the managers who, who you know uh don Jordan’s manager who ended up in a hospital with a fractured skull.
The fighters and the managers ended up, broke and beaten up.
Only Frankie carbo and Blinky Palermo made money.
Everyone else got hurt, so these these two guys, you know, were Vermin and uh they’re they’re, they’re controlled the sport was just absolutely evil.
Let’S get to the fight.
So when we’re looking at the fight and I’m holding here, this is the chapter from my book about the fight and uh people keep saying to me: when’s your book coming out.
Well, I’m waiting on the last chapter to arrive, and it should be here soon.
My friend in England, Tony G has has um has uh.
What is Tony done.
Tony is, actually you know he he’s he’s edited for me, which is great so for this boat.
Everyone Cohen also managed Michael Doug’s.
Had him in his will owned an oil mine? Yes, that’s true scrapbook! Thank you! Buddy and um.
Uh gavlan was born in kamagoy Cuba January 6, 1926, second of three children, and he was born to an impoverished Cuban couple.
His father left early because he had inadvertently burned down.
His employer’s Plantation sounds like something an idiot like me would do, and so he didn’t know his father, but when his mother got remarried, she took this a new man’s name Gavilan as his last name and he started boxing and the family had moved to Palo Seiko.
A small sugar cane Village, so he was cutting sugar cane with a bolo knife, which is how he developed.
You know that punch and he was working full time there and in the kitchen from the age of 10, because poverty back then in Cuba was ubiquitous and he was very small for his age.
You know he was Tiny, so he had this his amateur career.
He was placed in what was called the little pests, Division and lightest.
It was the lightest weight class.
Then in Cuba also um, as I said before, a lot of guys, Jimmy McLaren and Manny Pacquiao Ted kid Lewis, who ended up fighting at light heavy started as a flyweight.
So this and Ted kid Lewis was a former World Welterweight Champion two times so Gavilan started boxing in carnivals and amateur tournaments and by the age of 10 he had 60 amateur.
Both that’s a lot of experience.
He turned professional in 1943, so he was 17 at the time, but he sprouted up so by the time he you know he turned professionally.
He was five ten, which was five ten and a half an oppressive height, for certainly for a welterweight and Ring magazine started to take notice of him in his very first fight.
He got a wonderful write-up.
He beat Antonio Diaz, who was known as baby Chango at 122, pounds, which was just shared at the 125 limit for featherweight and for his first contest the first win.
He was given the princely sum of 12 so but back then in Cuba, twelve dollars in the 1940s to a family that made nothing was tremendous.
You know, because you could get a whole dinner for 10 cents.
His backstory is fascinating even by boxing standards today, because um his family had moved from Canada to gavlin.
The family didn’t want to move from chemically they like chemic weight, so he had to move to Havana, which was the big you know.
It still is the big city in Cuba, and it was the heart of boxing there, and you can only imagine you know like baseball players in the 1890s coming from small town America to play in New York, I mean for him to go to Cuba.
It must have been an incredible culture shock.
It’S everywhere, you walk, you know, there’s there’s gambling power, uh, uh, parlors houses of prostitution, of powerful people; gamblers uh, uh Mobsters.
You know American mobsters, and so he took it on stride.
He started to win.
He was extremely focused as a fighter and he also showed from an early age that he was willing to pay a very high price.
You know to get there, so he he was doing well in the Rings, but he couldn’t progress his career, because no one knew him.
You know no one knew who he was and it’s hard to find something to compare it to um.
For instance, not many people know this off topic for one sec.
Please indulge me Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run in Toronto at Hamlin’s point.
The ball was never found and people say why wasn’t the ball found? Well, no one knew Babe Ruth.
Then he was playing as a member of the Providence.
Greece, no one knew him.
No one kept home run balls back.
Then they threw them back, but he didn’t stay.
You know if someone wanted to keep it wouldn’t make a difference.
Anyways, because he wasn’t well known.
There would have been no value in keeping it.
He was winning all these fights, but people said yeah, but you’re.
Nobody got no one behind you, and so he started to glamor and Glitz it up in the rain.
He started the showboat started to use the bolo punch.
He started to go out and and really use all of his skill.
He had no press backing.
He had no no clippings, no Financial backing and he kept fighting and fighting.
And finally, someone saw him and he found a really good trainer, Manolo Fernandez, but he found the guy.
The manager, which was more important, uh uh, Fernando balido, but the problem with belito is Lido, didn’t have any experience as a boxing manager, but he had mob ties in New York and for a fighter.
That’S really all he needed back then back then.
So Cuba had a very rich boxing tradition, so for a guy like him to break in would not have been easy, but he kept at it fight by fight round.
By round he stayed after each fight.
He talked to every fan he posed for pictures.
He he was a pure gentleman in the ringing out at all times.
Still his last breath on this Earth um and the reason he developed the bolo punch, was it set himself apart.
He needed a you know like Dangerfield, so I don’t get no respect.
He needed a hook to set himself from all the other boxers.
Cuba was rich with boxing Talent back then these guys were well skilled.
You know this tradition went back to the early 1800s in Cuba.
These guys could fight it’s still, a hotbed and so to set himself apart.
He became a much flashier boxer, which is why he developed the bolo punch and with the backing of of bolito, he started to move on and on and on and on and finally you know he realized.
I can only do so much.
He only lost one of his first 35 fights in Cuba, so we moved to New York and he had his manager became very well known, the Emil shade or Shad scrapbook.
Maybe you can tell me how to pronounce that if it’s see it’s spelled c-h-a-d-e it’s a Chad as an s-h-a-d or is it shade, as in s-h-a-d-e I don’t know, but anyways uh, this guy also uh trained or managed um the heavyweight you know Valdez.
He also did, I believe, um.
He also did uh uh uh other Fighters as well.
I think Alfredo Gomez is someone else that he managed to do that with and uh in Felix Trinidad, and so when you boxed in Cuba in the 1940s, you had two primary bases.
You had the arena Crystal and you had the Palacio de deporte and those locations.
Um sort of became real strongholds for him.
This is where he fought and gained his following, and he was lucky because uh as this query progressed, he started to fight rank Fighters and when he knocked out a guy with a lot of experience, Joe Pedroza, to win the Cuban lightweight Crown.
This is when rigged magazine started to push him in Earnest.
They thought this guy’s, a real Comer he’s going to move up and be lightweight champion or he may gain weight become.
I was going to say a leather white welterweight champion and back then, if you want a Cuban title, it was really an accomplishment because there were so many gifted Fighters that were ranked in the world ratings that if you beat someone it really counted so after when The Cuban title he started to work in New York.
He moved to New York, but New York was mobbed up, so he wanted to get to the world Undisputed World welterweight crown and in order to get to any disputed uh crowd, not disputed Undisputed Crown, especially in a lighter weights but heavyweight too uh.
You had to go through Frankie carpo, Mr Gray, Czar, the underworld Czar of boxing and His companion Blinky Palermo, who was from Philadelphia Plymouth was the guy who uh took all of 99 of hike Williams ring earnings.
You know, Williams, probably earned a couple million in his career and ended up, probably with less than ten thousand so so he he um.
He did that to him.
He did it to a lot of uh Canadian Fighters too.
So he was just a reprehensible.
I’M not going to curse, but a reprehensible piece of work.
Uh one of gavlin’s co-managers was a guy named Angel Lopez who who would do leg work for the mob? He was a criminal and he owned pieces of nightclubs, but he was also a conduit to cardboard and playing my own carbo and Palermo was still seal packs.
They were still cone killers, and this is why the mob got their way in boxing, because he did what they didn’t make idle threats.
They did what you said: they did what they you did, what they told you to do, or they would kill you or break your legs or kill someone close to you.
They did not kid around and if you didn’t go with them, they go fine.
We’Ll fix the referee of the judge, and if that doesn’t work, you just weren’t going to get a fight.
Ever again, you had to go somewhere else so shade, like the blinds.
Thank you scrapbook, so um it was just in with the mob that helped gavlan rides through the ranks, though his skill did well, it didn’t happen right through the ranks it.
It helped him get the important fights that he needed and he knew with the help of the mob that his weight wouldn’t be long before he was knocking on the doorstep of Fame.
You get a guy with Billy, Graham who was your typical New Yorker, born to a Catholic Family and the Murray Hill section and September 9th 1922, and his father was a candy store owner and his mother was a homemaker yeah.
They ran you, that’s right.
Scrapbook uh, carbon Palermo ran the IBC IBC took over from the international from not the international from 20th century sporting club run by Mike Jacobs uh, who had taken over from uh uh Jimmy Johnson and but really succeeded as next big promoter.
After tax record and then when Jacobs had a stroke in the late 40s, he was replaced by his his brother-in-law, Saul Strauss, who was muscled out by the mob.
They signed Joe Lewis to have a heavyweight tournament and Joe Lewis gave his name and and returned for 250 Grand which he never got and then say in the tournament which he never got.
And then the international boxing control, with uh, with the um and primitor of James Norris on the Chicago Blackhawks and owned the Chicago Arena and the joint Olympia arena and had a piece of Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens.
He allowed this to go on.
It was his money that funded it all and the IBC was like a big octopus and they ran this.
This uh uh uh conglomerate unboxing, and they ran it until the early 60s until it was broken up by the government.
Yes, Jim Norris.
Thank you, scrapbook and Graham did Wally boxed at Catholic boys clubs to joined the Police Athletic League.
He boxed against other boys.
He had a lot of amateur fights.
He began his career at the age of 11.
uh and even in the amateurs he beat the immortal Sugar Ray Robinson uh.
He attended Gramercy Park High School for a short time, but he wasn’t a good student.
It’S not that he wasn’t smart, he didn’t care, he knew what he wanted to be.
He thought I’m 11, I’m 12.
I want to be a boxer.
Why am I still here learning all the stuff that I don’t care about? He was rejected three times by the New York Golden Gloves because he had a heart murmur, but he just thought I’ll, correct it by continuing to work out and never drank, never smoked, never ate garbage throughout his whole life.
When I said garbage didn’t eat, pastries ice cream, candies cook, anything like that always was a healthy guy and he turned professional on the fourth uh April 4th 1941 and he scored a fourth round knockout one of his few over a guy named Connie Savoy.
Now here’s the interesting thing uh.
This is what George chevala would always lament to me when George Savala turned Pro in the 50s, because there was no one else in Canada that was as good as him or had.
His name is good.
Looking as him, he had to fight 15-round fights so George said he had to sacrifice his learning curve.
Well, they didn’t do that.
They didn’t do that with with um, with Billy.
Graham Graham actually was lucky because he started four round fight six, eight ten twelve.
So he got to learn and he had plenty during his pro career plenty of fights and it’s funny, because heart is the one thing, even though it stopped him from the Golden Gloves.
It was the one thing he had more often than just about any other fighter.
In the sport uh, he started in the lightweight division, similar to starting in a lighter division like Gavilan had, and you know, Gavilan uh Gavilan was a tremendous fighting, as I said, but so was Graham and grain was nothing to shake your eyes at you know.
You know or excuse me to turn your nose up at so I’m just excited, so I’m getting a bit uh ahead of myself here, so Graham kept fighting and fighting and doing well and so did Gavilan.
They were fighting the best of the best and they weren’t getting any breaks while they were doing this.
So you have to understand that, while these guys are fighting like that and just looking for the fight statistics here, which I should have at my have in my head, but my Advanced age at 61 – it’s not easy to have them all in your head anyways.
So we’re looking at these fights and back then you know lightweight range from 126 to 134, so it was sort of a gray area and also Graham had a problem when he was starting out because he had a lot of hand fractures.
So he took time off, but he never could take enough time off to let his hands fully ill, because this is how he made his living.
He was a skilled fighter, he wasn’t flashy, but he was skilled and he was efficient.
He didn’t waste punches and you know his trainer was Whitey.
Bimstein Whitey was this gnome-like character, one of the all-time great trainers, trained lots of great Fighters, Angela Dundee loved him and you’d always see pictures of whitey in his trousers and a white undershirt with uh Q-tip sticking out of his mouth and from his ear and Whitey Taught him everything, and just before he turned 19, a mutual friend introduced him to the great Irvin Cohen and Cohen, is the one who who brought him along and Cohen, went by what Graham wanted.
So when Graham said, I’m not doing business with the mob go and said fine I’ll Stand By You Cohen, said to carbo I’ll.
Ask him I’m not going to commit on his behalf because he may walk away.
So I will ask him and I’ll: let you know what he says.
Cohen was being honest, something that Carnival couldn’t even spell, but Cohen was smart because he knew how to bring a fighter along gradually and so did.
Bimstein and you know, hiring bimstein was a tremendous move on his part and in his first 16 fights he won 12 and had four draws.
So we started off well one thing that happens if a lot of young fired us today and I used to say in Canada, but this is Canada, the United States and around the world.
They get their records built up on guys that aren’t good Fighters and so you’ll see their records 25-0 and then you’ll see you know 20 of their fights against guys of losing records, and what happens is when they go up against a guy with real talent.
They get beat and beat easily so the way to prevent that is, you have them fight good Fighters, better Fighters with more skill with each successive fight but Fighters that they can learn from.
So I never meant Whitey bimstein.
I I heard he was a great guy Angelo loved him and he was a New York staple just a lovable guy and and scrapbook said.
A truly a great guy and scrapbook you’d have to agree he’s one of the all-time great trainers right if you’re gon na name, you can’t name top 10 anymore for anything, because there’s just too many great people in boxing an h28 division to limit it to 10.
But if you’re going to name top 10 Trainers or top five wedding bands team would definitely have to be there, and you know fighting off four rounders to begin with was really a brilliant idea because it didn’t rush his development, so World War II happens and gavlan’s Excuse me uh.
He Graham joins the Coast, Guard he’s on anti-submarine patrol and then he’s released from the service and once again April 1944.
He starts his career and at this point uh he had an impressive record 34-0 with five draws.
So you look at Graham and actually his record with 58-0.
Today, you wouldn’t see that see today, a fighter that would be 58 now would be at the end of his career.
So back then that was the guy at the beginning of his career, Ray Robinson, but before he fought for the world, Welterweight Title was like 90-0.
I mean that’s unheard of today.
That’S at the end of a career, but you know that’s what you had to do to get a title match today.
A guy could have, especially in flyweight or straw weight.
You could have eight fights or five fights or like lomachenko could get a title fight in your very first pro fight.
Mario lomachenko is an exception because he’s one of the all-time greatest fighters ever to have set foot in this Earth.
So you can’t argue that uh, he lost a highly disputed 10-round decision, uh.
That was his first loss to Tony poloney in Queensborough at the Queensborough arena in Long Island, that’s happened in 1945.
Of course, polony was a mob controlled fighter, and I think this was done to let, Graham you know, don’t get too big for your britches and it was the mob hegemony that just didn’t.
Allow him to win that fight and there’s nothing.
You could do.
People would say after like with the gavlance like what could you have done? Could you go to the Press? No, because it wasn’t news that the mob was fixing fights.
Could you go to the law? No because if you went to the police or whatever they would kill you and you couldn’t go to the New York State boxing Commission, because a lot of mobsters worked there anyways, yes, scrapbook! That’S a great Jimmy DeForest Harry Wiley and uh rare cell Angelo Dundee, Gail, Clancy and also Jack Blackburn, who trained Joe Lewis and for a time just Joe Walcott, Blackman and Doc Bagley, who was the first well-known uh modern boxing trainer, so uh Graham, was known for His honesty and his moral Integrity throughout his whole career.
He wasn’t going to do business with the mob and he didn’t want anything.
He was an all-time great.
He had nothing to be ashamed of when Graham retired, he had his brains intact and he has Integrity intact, and not many athletes in any sport can make that claim so and in 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.
As I said earlier, the bomb controls the New York State athletic commission that controlled boxing with an Iron Fist and only the courts would take, would take carbon plural down, but that was 10 years in the future.
This fight was 51.
You know it was 10 years before they could do anything, and you have to admire Graham and and um Irvin Cohen, for standing up to the Mob.
And you know he never got the title of world champion, which would have meant a lot to him.
But a lot of people look on, Graham as the uncrowned champion, so sometimes it doesn’t matter what corrupt sanctioning bodies say.
It matters with the people who pay the freight say, and if the people are recognizing this Champion, then you have to give them credit for that.
So in the 1950s pav lands rising up through the ranks and the Axis powers.
Carnival employment are helping them get get everywhere.
He was, and you couldn’t stand up to the Mob unless you were Sugar, Ray Robinson who had the who could change professions but then came back found out his family and friends that ripped off all his businesses and had no choice but to get into business.
With the mob, so you know it’s hard to describe carbon Paloma, they were rapacious, they were patiently violent, actually is what they were, they wouldn’t hesitate to kill a manager or a fighter, they never did it and if, if you were supposed to go down and lose And didn’t lose, you know your legs would be broken.
Your head would be bashed in.
You could have one of your family members killed these guys.
They controlled everything they controlled, the the bedding.
They control the TV rights, the radio rights they controlled.
A lot of the print media and they took wages from the fighters.
Everyone knew what was going on.
Only several people, Dan Patrick stood up to them.
The great writer mind you Dan Patrick, was six six 280 and he stormed Normandy during the second world war.
So when Mobsters came to his house to shut him up, he answered the door.
He wasn’t afraid you know he looked at it as you guys are the ones in trouble, not me, and also bud showberg who wrote on the waterfront and the harder they fall uh.
He he stood up to them and regularly wrote columns disparaging violently disparaging the mob about how evil and vile they were so uh.
What happened was when the mob got control of Gavilan um.
They they gave him Charlie Goldman one of the all-time great trainers.
We didn’t mention him scrapbook and also um uh.
They gave him Ray arcel, who we did mention, and that was really a step up in training, because between Goldman and arcel you had all you know over 100 Years of boxing knowledge, so who was gon na.
You know who’s gon na be better than that, and they were able to refine a lot of what uh uh gavlan did and they knew especially Goldman you.
Don’T you don’t mess with the fighters, not Joe Tendencies, but you can refine them, and so when he fought Sugar, Ray Robinson for the Welter, he didn’t win gavlan.
But he gave a great accounting of himself and he cut Robinson.
He wasn’t outclassed by any means, and people were surprised at a guy.
You know that someone from anywhere, let alone Cuba could even with its Rich boxing tradition, you can get in the ring, it’s the greatest fighter of all time, Ray Robinson and give him a hell of a fight one of the fighters that the mob screwed uh was Ike Williams, one of my favorite photos when I met him at the international Boxing Hall of Fame was extremely bitter, and I felt really sad.
You know I mean he was living in a park on a bench.
Someone had to buy him a suit for the festivities they stole all of his purses, family left, and so when he testified against the mob.
He said what, if I got to lose, what are they gon na kill? Me they’ve been doing me a favor at that point if they did that so Gavilan uh.
If you look at some old ring magazines, gavlan was a big thing in the 1950s.
In fact, here in Toronto, I went to a second bookstore called books, movies videos, and I got some more police gazettes from the 1950s and Gavilan was on the cover of one, the Cuban hawk kid Avalon and Gavilan.
They said at one time sold more TV sets to Milton Berle people wanted to see miltonborough, so people bought TV set today world show was going to be on apparently gasoline.
We don’t know how many, but he outsold him, because whenever gavilion was going to fight, you know how, if you’re a real like man boxing not it’s like, I got ta see the fight whatever it takes, I’ll see it, and that was that was when Gavilan thought.
So people went and bought TVs by the tens of thousands too bad.
He didn’t get a commission from it and he was made for TV and TV was perfect for boxing because it only required One camera at the time.
People didn’t have to go out and look for parking.
People didn’t have to go out and pay the price of a ticket in the arena.
You know people could stay at home in the comfort of their own home, have dinner drink, a beer with friends and family and watch a fight and of course, the mob had to screw this because they had to take all the money.
And eventually there were so many fixed fights on TV fans, just thought you know, fans stopped coming to the Arenas and they thought why watch this? It’S a wasted time.
I watched roller derby and wrestling because it’s more honest so and it’s the first chance first, as I said, to win a world title first, try Robinson was the guy that he had to face, and this was 1949 July 11th.
He lost the unanimous.
It’S still here to Robinson now you have to understand Robinson was only a welterweight for a short time and, and he beat the great Tommy Bell for the title Bell.
Could fight but Robinson knew that the big money was in middleweight, so he moved up and he vacated the Welterweight Title.
And you know in that fight against Robinson two judges had it nine to six for Ray which isn’t bad for a young guy like Gavilan.
But then the judge naresboro gave it to Robinson by 12 to three margins, so that was really a bit a bit.
Much because uh, you know he gavel and lost, but he proved that he was an elite level fighter, especially in the eyes of Ring magazine um.
But as everyone agreed when he watched a fight – and you can see the fight, it was a pretty even fight for six seven rounds and then Robinson’s skill and technique took over and he just he dominated from from the 7th to the 15th round.
Even though he lost yes, that’s right, scrapbook gavilan’s, Ike Williams, boats with Enrique Bolano series was warmed up.
I was like Williams, fights or mobs up, and it was a shame because he was such a brilliant fighter and such a great person and he ended up indigent um, even though he lost to Robinson it didn’t matter.
It didn’t affect his rating and he still was going to get another title shot because he had the mob in his pocket.
The mob didn’t care he lost, but the main thing wasn’t the fact that he lost or that he won or a fight.
It was the fact that he was drawing viewers and they were making more money.
More people were coming out, so they could charge more prices for the tickets and they could charge the networks.
You know more money for broadcasting it, that’s all they cared about I’ll play.
My own carbo cared about when the day you know if the fight it’s Sunday, if the fight’s next Saturday, it’s how much money I can make between now and next Saturday, how much money from the TV from the fighters from their purses from the gate can I Stuff in my pockets and not declare it to the government, that’s all they cared about, even though people had said to them.
You know like Chris Dunn, the brilliant Chris Dundee Hall of Fame promoter said you know, you’re killing the long-term interest of the sport.
We don’t care you can get, you can fill the Arenas and leave the fights on the level and still make great money.
I don’t care because they didn’t want to bet on fights that were that where the outcome was unknown, they don’t like the elemental risk.
They took their money off the fighters off the gate, from TV and from bedding, they were greedy and it could only last so long before people.
You can’t go into people’s houses and force them to watch Boxing, and it almost came to that with these morons because of their unabated greed.
So Gavilan got another shot at the title and when I say the title, so it was the national boxing Association Ring magazine and then New York State athletic commission who are the real power Brokers in boxing.
So if you were the Wisconsin boxing commission and recognized a prison, it meant nothing uh.
He won the world Welterweight Title and he scored a unanimous decision.
15 rounds May 18 1952 at MSG over the great Johnny Braxton.
If you haven’t seen Johnny Braxton read about him, there’s a great article, but my dear friend Corey Erdman, on Johnny Braxton.
It was an all-time great fighter, another guy that was screwed over by the mob, but he deserved to be remembered because he was exceptionally exceptionally skilled.
Fighter and now he’s the world Welterweight Champion, but he didn’t know that he had to sort of Damocles hanging over his head because now he’s not only the world champion but he’s beholden to the Mob.
So the mob could say you know next week, you’re fighting Phyllis Diller and you got to lose in one round and if he doesn’t do it, he gets his legs broken or Worse, he’s got to do what they see so being a mom fighter had its perks.
He got the best fights, he got the most TV exposure, you got endorsements, he got all sorts of stuff, but he never got the money he signed for in the fight contracts, mostly the endorsements for cigarettes and other things.
You know he may have had some money, but the mob took almost all of that and they robbed him blind.
Why did they rob him blind? Because he was a house Fighter for the mob and there was nothing he could do about it? What are you gon na? Do you know you go to the press and the Press said hey.
This is what you wanted.
You got into bed with him.
He didn’t want to get into bed with him, but he didn’t turn it down.
Wasn’T his fault, you know it just happened and that’s the way boxing was run back then, and he ended up with nothing.
There’S no more, nothing.
You could do or say about thievery, everyone knew it, but no one was willing to do anything and people’s response.
If you were a lawyer, you know if you’re a government official or in the New York State, athletic commission or a police officer somebody within power in government, they would say well, then don’t be a boxer.
Do something else.
If you don’t like it that much, and so he never thought that he would lose his title and on fortunately, on 1954 years after the gav or the fight with uh, Graham on uh October 20th, he lost in a horrible to say from the Johnny Saxton of Philadelphia and Saxton did not win that fight Saxton, you know, lost the fight and uh.
It was a terrible decision anyways, that’s that sort of the inter um introduction to it.
So here we have this fight between Graham a great fighter who’s coming into the fight with a tremendous record and the world Welterweight Champion kid Gavilan.
Now they had fought before each won a fight, so it would stop by the public at large and by everyone and everyone in boxing.
This will be a great fight because both Fighters are evenly matched Braxton defeated, Charlie faceri for race vacated Crown.
Yes and Braxton went nine rounds of fight yeah, that’s right.
Williams broke Braxton’s, jaw and and and and uh he still kept fighting.
That was the era of tough Fighters, guys back then got their jaws broken.
They didn’t quit, it’s not like a baseball player.
Today I have a hangnail.
I got to go on the DH, you know or the DL excuse me.
You know back then guys thought with broken, broken, jaws, broken hands and scrapbook.
It’S you know.
Rarely would a fighter go into the ring ever completely healthy.
You had to make money you had to fight, so it’s amazing that that uh, carbo and Palermo are at these flights because they both have people working for them that have been arrested and they’ve been arrested dozens of times, but no one ever said: hey you guys, Shouldn’T be at ringside, you guys are known felons, but the police did nothing.
They thought it’s boxing who cares uh right before the fight jacked up Kearns, who trained Jack Dempsey, who managed Dempsey? Excuse me middleweight, champ, Mickey Walker and later on Archie Moore, the Undisputed light heavyweight champion the greatest of all later um.
He he told his friends in New York and around the world uh when this fight was coming up.
Bet the house in Gatling, don’t bet and Graham fate is – is his uh bag, gavilan’s gon na win and before the fight.
You know the night before the fight card was there entertaining people in his suite in New York, all these hoodlets, all these mobsters and killers, and other people in the fight game he’s entertaining them all all toasting.
The gavaline victory the night before it was written about.
In the papers or the New York State, athletic commission did nothing.
You know the government, commission or the government did nothing.
Uh, state or federal.
The police did nothing, the Press mentioned it, but nothing came of it.
It outraged fans.
But what could you do? You know and before the fight Blinky was interviewed and he said hey, I have been arrested in almost 20 years.
What do you always get on my case for but in fact, of course, as usual, he lied.
He’D been arrested the year before in Philadelphia for reckless use of a firearm and for attempted murder.
So these guys didn’t know how to spell truth, let alone tell the truth: Frankie carbo.
This is a an article written by um from an article written by uh Dan Parker.
You know, uh carbo had a lot of murders on his record.
He only he was in another prison for a year, two years on the murders uh.
He killed a butcher and then sentenced us 15 years when it was out unless it was out in just over a year.
He killed if he seen the movie Bugsy of Warren Beatty Harry big, greedy Greenberg.
He also killed bunch of single.
It was rumored and as Dan Dan Parker wrote in the daily New York, Daily, Mirror and but silver.
If cardboard wanted to, he could have shut down.
Boxing goes to goats.
You could have just said no more boxing.
You know I say we’re going on strike for a year or two and he could have done that.
Who didn’t one thing you have to remember rare cell and Charlie Goldman? You know our our these trainers and yeah the trading training guideline now the thing about our cell was our cell uh had left the business as a train.
You’Ve been training, he trained Benny, Leonard and Robert and our cell went to Boston and he called up the mob and he said: listen, these aren’t ranked Fighters.
These are just Club Fighters that have no chance of winning in title and we’re putting on shows for ABC and they run the fighters by me and I’d, say: yeah he’s all right, he’ll be gone.
I get very little money and it’ll never be for a title and carbo said: that’s fine, it doesn’t involve us, but then four or five months later Carver said that’s all changed.
I want all the money now.
I want all your money, all the fighters money and all the money from ABC and ourselves said.
I can’t do that why he said, because literally I’m not involved.
All I do is when I’m at work at my day, job I’m not in boxing anymore.
They come by my only some people on paper.
This guy’s had 30 fights.
This guy’s had 28 fights.
Would this be a fair fight? Yes, that’s all.
I do not good enough, you get it done, and so a couple days later he’s going to work and he gets near work and somebody hits him on the head with lead pipe fractures, the skull this is in 52-53 and he he’s he’s out and the mob Forces him to write a letter saying he’s out of boxing forever.
He doesn’t come back into boxing and and until the days of Roberto Duran and handles Duran after Duran’s manager, checked him around with the mob and said: don’t worry about it, because the guys that he had dealt with were long dead.
So he was out for well over 20 years and he suffered a fractured skull and he really wasn’t involved that much in the ABC boxing program.
But that’s how psychotic carbo and Palermo were.
These were were pathological killers and they should have been put down on before they were so um.
The fight goes on, the fight is made and for the fight or been calling Meats of carbon cardboard says you know, even if your guy scores a knock down, it’s not going to make a difference.
The only way Billy takes the title from from uh Gavilan tonight, as if I get a piece Blinky and I need to have a piece and go into his credit said.
Well, he says no, but but I will go, ask him again and I’ll come back and tell you they asked him and Graham said: no, I’m not giving them a piece.
They did nothing.
Why should they get a piece they’re not going to take a piece they’re going to take my entire purse they’ll, take your money and then they’ll force me to fight the guys they want and I’ll have to lose to someone like Chuck Davey with someone else who Isn’T nearly in my class I’m not doing it so he came back and and uh uh Cardinal said.
Okay, that’s your decision, but you know all my guy has to do is stay on his feet, even if he loses all 15 rounds.
He still retains the title.
You can’t imagine I mean somebody having the unmitigated God say that so they went and they had to fight and, of course, Graham does well Graham’s very skilled.
You know uh, it took him two three four rounds, but you know he’s he’s starting to dominate in the first three four rounds.
But after that he’s starting to really pick it up.
Gavilan comes back and starting to win the middle round, but Graham was a good technical fighter, so he’s countering Gavilan.
Graham, you know when you watch fights today, uh one of the great one of my favorite photos, Showtime Sean, Porter and also Timothy Bradley, another great fighter and a great person talks about keeping your head offline.
Well, that was what Graham would do Graham was always moving.
His head and he was always moving his feet.
He was never a stationary Target.
He would never square up against an opponent.
He was very hard to hit at a distance or on the inside, and I have to remember: here’s Gavilan, it’s five, ten and a half and here’s Graham it’s five seven.
So he had to get in side, gavelins reach, pound him to the body and head.
You know be able to block the shots with his arms and then move back out and like a lot of Fighters.
Today, last night I watched Sebastian Fedora and he fought well and he’s a great fighter.
I love watching them fight, but for the most point, when the most part, when he backs up, he has his right hand up, which is good, but a lot of times he doesn’t and, of course he doesn’t because he’s six six, so very few Fighters will be Able to reach him, but a lot of guys who back up straight up, get hurt.
You just don’t do that in boxing and Graham never did that, but he would back up in a Crouch or if he had to be up a little bit.
Straighter he’d have his hands up to protect his hand.
If one hit me to the Elbow or in the belly.
Fine, but you’re not going to catch me in the head.
Graham, was never knocked down once in his career because he had Perfect Balance.
Uh Gavilan had gone down, but Gavilan had tremendous chin and could take a real, really tough shot.
So these were two evenly matched Fighters and uh.
You know five six, seven and those rounds you you have Gavilan coming on he’s using his faster hand, speed he’s turning Graham a lot – and you know, Graham, is getting great information in his corner and so is gavinland, and these are thinking Fighters they’re, not there.
What should I do next, should I do this, but they’re reading each other.
You know, like a computer, reads, a program they’re reading each other he’s doing this, so I have to do that he’s doing that.
So I have to do this they’re staying, I eat out of each other’s power alleys, but meanwhile they’re piling up points.
The grade was piling at more points, he’s quicker at recognizing the opportunities and and capitalize them.
That’S a very important point in boxing there’s a difference between fast and quick.
There are guys like Sugar, Ray Leonard or Muhammad Ali, who have incredible, blinding hands feet, and there are other guys like Jimmy McLaren or Billy, Graham, who are really quick, and when I say quick, I mean they were.
They were exceptional at seeing an opening and capitalizing on it right away, so another guy was just so quick.
He could overwhelm me with the speed, but if you made one mistake for a fraction of a second, you know if you’re moving back and forth and your left hand went down for a sec bang, you got tagged, that’s how good these guys work.
So this went on.
This was an even fight, but Graham was starting to put rounds in the bank.
Both Fighters were evenly matched and um.
As I said, Graham the Gavilan in training camp.
They could knock guys out, but it just never happened in the ring.
Never really translated, but they never went for The Knockout.
You know we saw with our temperature BF in a fight in Montreal last year where he was cut and the referee was going to stop it because there was a lot of blood.
So he had to go out that round and knock the guy out, and he did this.
These guys didn’t go for Knockouts.
It was organic if it happened, you took it, but mostly you know it was.
It was scoring points putting rounds in the bank and being smarter, tactically than the man you were facing in the ring.
It wasn’t a boring fight if you watch it, it was a smart fight because each round was very close, but Graham, I thought was winning more of the rounds than gavlin, but it was very close.
It wasn’t a landslide and uh, Graham and Gavilan.
You have to understand during their entire career, which is well over 100 fights each were never knocked out.
You know, and that says something about them.
Um gavilan’s losses, some of them were genuine, others were were mob.
Directed uh same happened to Graham, even though he wasn’t a mob fighter.
He fought mob Fighters and sometimes he won, and sometimes you know it just didn’t go his way.
So he had a tremendous skill set.
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