NYU Black Renaissance Noire Spring 2015 - Page 16

Canadian boxer, George Chuvalo, told a different story about the competition between the noi and organized crime. He said that Glickman, a representative of Tony Accardo, the mob boss of Chicago, who had links to Frankie Carbo, told Ali’s manager that if Ali beat Terrell, he’d end up in a cement box. The Fruit of Islam paid a visit to Glickman and rendered a beating from which he never recovered. He died in a mental institution. Terrell “complained about training expenses or some baloney like that,” said Chuvalo. “What happened was Bernie Glickman was in the hospital at that time in Chicago, beaten within an inch of his life. Why was he beaten within an inch of his life? He went from there to a mental institution where he lost his life. He never saw the light of day again. He was questioned by the police but never said who beat him up. Let me try to figure this out for myself; he must have gone to see Herbert Muhammad (Ali’s manager) and threatened Herbert Muhammad much the same way that he threatened Irving Ungerman. If Ali wins he ends up in Lake Michigan. All Herbert Muhammad had to do was snap his fingers, and all his Islamic guys are right there and bing-bam-boom that’s it. And that’s why I got the fight with Ali.” Former abc reporter, Martin Wyatt, told me “Elijah Muhammad really wasn’t all that hot on Ali’s fighting, but he wanted to make certain that he wouldn’t be ripped off and that’s why he chose Herbert Muhammad to manage Ali — to protect the boxers from people like the interests that Bernie Glickman represented, gangsters and crooks, who surrounded the boxing game.” His being tied to the mob, specifically, Frankie Carbo, was used to thwarting Liston’s boxing career, yet some of his accusers were also tied to the mob. Cus D’Amato used Liston’s mob connections to deny Liston and championship with Floyd Patterson. Though Floyd Patterson’s manager Cus D’Amato was squeaky clean (his brother was cited by the Kefauver Committee as having ties to organized crime), the first fight between Patterson and Ingemar Johansson was promoted by an organization of which mob figure “Fat Tony” Salerno was a partner. Frankie Carbo owned other boxers as well. Not only boxers, he owned sports writers and the managers of boxers. He owned Rocky Marciano’s manager Al Weill. Teddy Brenner, who worked for Al Weill in the late 1940s and subsequently became president of Madison Square Garden Boxing, later acknowledged, “Carbo had his fingers on the throat of boxing. If he did not own a certain fighter, he owned the manager. Weill was a boxing politician who held hands with the mob. When Weill was Marciano’s manager, he was controlled by Carbo.” Gangsters like Frankie Carbo and Blinky Palermo ran boxing until 1960. In an earlier time, the notorious mobster, Legs Diamond, was involved in fixing fights. Some give credit to Herbert (named for Herbert Hoover) Muhammad for ending mob control of boxing, but others contend that organized crime maintained partial control by using a black promoter as a front. Bob Arum identified him as Don King to me in 1978. “In 1959, when he was already well known to the Manhattan District Attorney as a ‘gambler, bookmaker and policy operator,’ an investigation into the Mafia’s involvement in promoting boxing found that Mr. Salerno had secretly helped finance a heavyweight title fight at Yankee Stadium between Ingemar Johansson and Floyd Patterson. Mr. Salerno was not charged in the case,” (nytimes, July 29, 1992). Anthony Fat Tony Salerno died in prison at the age of eighty. It is obvious that Liston became bogey manned by boxing promoters and sports writers because he was not pretty and telegenic like Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and the current box office attraction, Alvarez. He was also big and black. 14 Was Liston the only boxer, who had connections to Frankie Carbo, described as “the underworld czar of boxing?” As Nick Tosches, author of Night Train: The Sonny Liston Story, reminds us, “In those days, bad niggers were not the darling middle-class iconic commodities and consumers of white ruled conglomerate culture. In those days bad niggers were bad news.” So why was Sonny Liston’s gang ties singled out and those of others ignored? BRN-SPRING-2015.indb 14 3/29/15 11:41 AM