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Monday, July 26, 2010

A Look Back: Barney Ross

In an effort to link the past with the present, The Jewish Boxing Blog will present monthly a short biography of notable former Jewish boxers.

Barney Ross is widely considered to hold the number two spot on the list of the greatest Jewish boxers of all time. Ross was the lightweight, junior welterweight, and welterweight champion of the world... at the same time! He captured the welterweight title twice. Known as the "Pride of the Ghetto," Ross defeated the likes of Tony Canzoneri, Billy Petrolle, Jimmy McLarnin, and Ceferino Garcia, beating each multiple times.

Born Dov-Ber Rasofsky in 1909, Barney Ross spent his formative years in the tough Maxwell Street ghetto in Chicago, which was filled with mobsters such as Al Capone. He was known as Beryl during his youth and was a lifelong friend of Jack Ruby, the murderer of Lee Harvey Oswald. His father was murdered in his store when Ross was 13 years old. His mother subsequently suffered a nervous breakdown and Ross's younger siblings were put in an orphanage. Earning enough money to support his younger siblings became the motivating factor in his boxing career.

Ross was a renowned amateur boxer. Training out of mobster Davey Miller's gym, he had his first professional fight in 1929. Ross quickly amassed a sterling pro record fighting on the undercard of Jackie Fields's fights. In 1933, with a record of 43-2-2, Ross took on the lightweight and junior welterweight champion of the world, Tony Canzoneri. He defeated the two-division champion by split decision to capture both belts. After defending the junior welterweight belt, he defeated Canzoneri by split decision to keep both titles. A year later Ross won the welterweight championship by earning a split decision victory over Jimmy McLarnin in a fight that saw the judges mark widely divergent scores.

Ross lost his next fight, a rematch against McLarnin to lose the welterweight belt. That continued a bizarre streak involving failed welterweight title defenses. That streak continued the next time Ross and McLarnin met in the ring. By this point, Ross had voluntarily abdicated his lightweight and junior welterweight championships. Ross earned the welterweight tile for the second time after unanimously out-pointing McLarnin.

Following the third McLarnin bout, Ross endured three tough matches with Ceferino Garcia, the master of the bolo punch. Less than year after the final fight with Garcia, Ross entered the ring against the legendary Henry Armstrong in 1938. Ross had often mentioned that he would retire after suffering his first true beating in the ring. Armstrong afforded Ross the opportunity to stay true to his word. Ross was universally lauded for his courage, but Armstrong snatched the welterweight crown from Ross by unanimous decision, ending Ross's career with a record of 72-4-3, 22 KOs (and two newspaper decision victories).

At the commencement of World War II, Ross joined the Marines and was heroic in the battle of Guadalcanal. He was wounded and received morphine to dull the tremendous pain. The morphine treatment transformed into a heroin habit when Ross returned to the United States. After much struggle, Ross was able to kick the habit and became an advocate for those afflicted by drug addiction. Afterwards, Ross ran guns and raised funds to help fight for a Jewish state. Ross's tremendous journey ended in 1967 at the age of 57.

Jimmy McLarnin vs. Barney Ross III
May 28, 1935
New York, New York
World Welterweight Championship
part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

Bodner, Allen. When Boxing was a Jewish Sport. 1997.
Century, Douglas. Barney Ross. 2006.
Dettloff, William. "Barney Ross is a tough act for Yuri Foreman to follow." The Ring Blog. 2010.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Klinefelters to Fight at End of August

Both Klinefelter sisters are scheduled to fight at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Iowa City, Iowa on Friday August 27, 2010 in six round bouts. Emily, 26, is an undefeated featherweight with 7 wins in as many tries. Katy, 22, has won each of her five professional fights.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nakash Wins by Decision

Widely divergent scores propelled Ran Nakash to his 25th consecutive win in 25 professional fights. Nakash (25-0, 18 KOs) defeated Victor Barragan (11-6, 3 KOs) by unanimous decision with scores of 99-91, 97-93, and 96-94. Both exchanged thudding body punches throughout the contest. Nakash broke Barragan's nose in the middle of the fight and Barragan never really recovered. This win, taking place at The Arena in Philadelphia, could lead to the much anticipated match up with Bobby Gunn.

On the same card, Israeli lightweight Oz Goldenburg rose to 2-0 with a majority decision victory over Marcos Garcia (0-3). The judges' scores were 39-37 (twice), and 38-38. Though Garcia threw more punches, Goldenburg's did more damage.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Weights for Nakash-Barragan

Undefeated cruiserweight Ran Nakash weighed in at 204.5 pounds for his fight with Victor Barragan later tonight at The Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Barragan (11-5, 3 KOs) stepped on the scale at 198 lbs. This marks the fifth time in a row Nakash (24 wins, 18 KOs) has weighed in over the 200-pound cruiserweight limit. The bout is scheduled for 10 rounds.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ran Nakash vs. Dan Sheehan

April 29, 2010
Tel Aviv, Israel
Nokia Hall

Nakash: black and yellow trunks
Sheehan: black and red trunks

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Yuri Foreman vs. Miguel Cotto

June 5, 2010
Bronx, New York
Yankee Stadium
WBA light middleweight championship

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

Foreman: black and yellow trunks
Cotto: black and white trunks

Monday, July 5, 2010

New Opponent for Nakash

Lou Del Valle, Ran Nakash's original opponent for July 14 at The Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has backed out. Instead of the middle aged former champion, Nakash is scheduled to take on Victor Barragan.

Barragan (11-5, 3 KOs) is a 28-year old American cruiserweight. He is better than his record indicates. In Barragan's five losses, his opponents entered the ring with a combined total of four defeats. BoxRec has rated Barragan as the 11th best cruiserweight from the United States. His last bout was a narrow 10-round unanimous decision loss to Nicholas Iannuzzi this past March.

Nakash (24-0, 18 KOs) looks to keep his undefeated record in tack in his fourth fight of 2010. For a change, Nakash will not have to look up at his opponent. Barragan is listed at 5'10", the same height as Nakash is listed. The match is scheduled for 10 rounds.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


John Duddy, a popular Irish boxer fighting out of New York, has been discussed as a possible opponent for former WBA light middleweight champion Yuri Foreman. Duddy (29-2, 18 KOs) is coming off of a one-sided loss to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on June 26. A 31-year old who hails from Derry, Duddy was initially a hot prospect until his star faded recently.

Yuri Foreman (28-1, 8 KOs) lost his title to Miguel Cotto on June 5. That night, Foreman tore his ACL and his meniscus. He has just started to walk with a brace and will likely not be back in the ring until 2011.