Newspaper Archive of
Post-Gazette
Boston, Massachusetts
Lyft
January 23, 2015     Post-Gazette
PAGE 16     (16 of 16 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
 
PAGE 16     (16 of 16 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
January 23, 2015
 

Newspaper Archive of Post-Gazette produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2017. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.




Page 16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 23, 2015 HOOPS and HOCKEY in the HUB by Richard Preiss Steve Morgan (Max Baer) and Primo Carnera The Rematch Part 1 Weigh in for Baer-Carnera. Last week I wrote about the 1933 film "The Prize- fighter and the Lady" in which Steve Morgan, por- trayed by Max Baer chal- lenged Champion Primo Carnera for the Heavy- weight title. This fictional battle ended in a draw, with Carnera retaining his title. Less than a year after that movie was made the two met in the ring again, this time in a real match for the real title. It is thought that Baer and Carnera went approxi- mately 30 rounds in filming the fight scenes for the movie. This would have given both of them insight into the other's moves. There has never been a time when two boxers vying for the title have worked in the ring together so soon before an actual fight. Former sparring partners have stepped up to challenge their one-time employers, but that was usually years after their tenure in the training camp. The movie helped to hype the bout along with Max's outgoing personality and an- tics. At the weigh in for the bout he leaned over to Primo and pretended to be plucking hairs from the 6'6" giant's chest while saying "He loves me, he loves me not." This infuriated Carnera who did not take kindly to being made a fool of. In the publicity leading up to the bout, there was an effort to portray Baer as be- ing America's hope of bring- ing the title back from Fas- cist Italy. Camera had met with Mussolini and the pub- licity agents of the day were doing their best to make him look llke a tool of the evil dic- tator. This did not really catch on as the country at that time was in ~de an iso- lationist mood, people such as Charles Lindbergh were sympatheticto the Fas- cist regimes in Europe. The public was not as ripe for buy- ing into this being a symbolic match betWeen good and evil as they would be a few years later when Joe Louis would ta~e on Max Schmeling. Nonetheless, there was strong sentiment for having an American reclaim the Championship belt. The fight took place at the Madison Square Garden Bowl on Long Island on June 14, 1934. In a side note, many believed the Garden Bowl was jinxed as no cham- pion ever successfully defended their title there. This night was going to be no exception. When the combatants en- tered the ring, Baer was wearing the same robe with the name Steve Morgan written on the back that he had on when making the movie. New York Boxing Commissioner George Brown had watched Baer in train- ing and felt he was not tak- ing the bout seriously. He felt so strongly about this that he wanted the fight can- celed. Looking at the two men as they entered the ring, they both appeared to be fit and strong. Baer at 6'2" Elfft[N MUt I~nR Poster for fight. weighed in at 210 and Camera at 6'6" and 263 Lbs. When announcer Joe Humphries introduced Max Baer he led off by saying "The man we put our faith in to bring back the title to the good old USA." I watched this fight on a tape that was broadcast on Baer stands ESPN Classic, and it did not show all the rounds and only showed portions of the ones it did include. However, I was able to glean a number of things from watching it. As the bell rang for the first round, Baer came out cautiously and was circling the much bigger champion. Carnera was up on his toes and throwing tentative jabs. It seemed like a fairly typi- cal first round with two fight- ers feeling themselves out. Midway through the round Max landed a tremendous overhand right to the point of Primo's jaw and he went down hard. Hurt and embar- rassed, the champion did not stay down and take a count, but instead got right to his feet where Max, who had not gone to a neutral corner, was waiting for him. Shades of Dempsey Willard, as Baer dropped Camera twice more before the end of the round and it didn't appear the fight would last much longer. It has also been reported that Primo broke his ankle in that opening round, and I did find two references to that fact in the press of the day. One is from the Associated Press where they quoted a Dr. Vincent Fanani who ex- amined Carnera after the bout and read the x-rays. I quote Dr. Fanani from the story, "Carnera suffered a chip fracture at the talus (ankle) bone and torn liga- ments apparently when he went down in the first round." The ankle injury was also reported in the New York Times. This is interesting to note because Camera has often been accused of having a glass jaw. I would argue that by being able to go eleven rounds with one of the hard- est hitting heavyweights of all time while suffering from a broken ankle and still be- ing on his feet at the end, it shows that he had a very sturdy jaw. And, not only did he remain standing, but he also had managed to win a number of the middle rounds. I have not been able to find the original scoring of the bout and reports that I have read varied quite a bit, but there are some that say Primo was ahead on rounds going into the 11~ when the bout was stopped. I am not over Camera. so sure about that, but in the footage I watched Carnera was doing well during that part of the fight, even though this may have something to do with Max having backed off due to being tired from all of the punches he threw. I will say that Baer was being wary of the big man's punches, and that Primo was using an excellent jab and tossing some decent right uppercuts that got Baer's attention. Part 2 next week. The con- clusion of the fight and some reflections on Camera. The elevator at the TD Garden was ascending now, carrying those inside up- ward from level 3 -- the arena level -- to level 9 -- the highest in the building. And when the doors opened, out stepped one who many thought was the best at his profession during his active career -- Bob Wilson, the legendary Bruins and Hockey Hall of Fame radio announcer whose voice told of the exploits of the Black and Gold over a span of three decades. The occasion was March 26, 2011 -- a day designated as Bob Wilson Day at the Garden. It was a time to cel- ebrate the life of the man whose professional career was intertwined with the Bruins. On that day the radio booth was dedicated to Bob, a much deserved honor. Indeed, it should be noted that Bob Wilson, who died of cancer January 15th at age 85, possessed a distinctive voice that carried far beyond New England. During many of the years that Bob did the play-by-play the Bruins flag- ship station was WBZ-AM 1030, a clear channel sta- tion that could be heard at night in 38 states, several Canadian provinces and sometimes even overseas if weather conditions were optimal. What that meant was that the Bruins were more than a New England team. They were, during many of the Bob Wilson years, really al- most a national team on ra- dio with the call of the leg- endary announcer adding a distinctive quality. If one thinks that the posi- tion Bob Wilson held was al- ways one of glamour, nothing could be further from the truth. We remember when Bob told us he often had to be at the Garden at 3:00 pm to tape an interview with the coach that would air hours later on the pre-game show. Those hours didn't differ on significant holidays. For years during Bob's career, the Bruins traditionally played a Christmas night home game at the Garden. Bob once confided that dur- ing those years there was never a normal Christmas in his household, since he had to forgo Christmas din- ner in order to be on hand promptly at 3:00 pm to inter- view the coach. Bob's voice, of course, was familiar in other settings on the radio dial. For years, he did well-remembered com- mercials for South Boston Savings Bank, ones that touted high interest rates paid on deposits by proclaim- ing the bank was "always the leader." Those words were also an apt description of Bob, one of the best an- nouncers in the history of hockey. In the days since his pass- ing, some were surprised to learn that the name Wilson was not his name at birth. In fact, it was Robert Castellon, a name he re- tained when away from broadcast settings. Yet Wilson was not a stage name picked out of thin air. Early in his career while do- ing stints as a DJ, a station asked him to use a shorter name. He chose Wilson, the maiden last name of his mother. So, in a way, when everyone in hockey called him Bob Wilson, they were really honoring the family name of his mother as well. We thought that was a wonderful way for Bob to pay tribute to his mother, who meant so much to him. Bob was born in Stone- ham, grew up in Arlington and then lived in Belmont after he and his wife Nancy were married. During his career they began spending more time at their summer home in Gilford, NH -- near Lake Winnipesaukee. Eventually, in the late 1980's, they moved there permanently. This meant that Bob would often stay at a Woburn area hotel after Bruins home games, rather than risk a long, late night drive through wintry weather. Bob retired in January, 1995 --just as the NHL lock- out that had consumed the fall portion of the schedule was ending. The timing may have been appropriate for Bob was a Garden original, all the home games he called were in the original Garden, a building he had known throughout his pro- fessional life. Both came into the world in the 1920s. The Garden opened in 1928 while Bob was born in 1929. By the fall there would be a new Garden, one that at the time seemed bland in com- parison to the original. Your faithful correspon- dent first met Bob Wilson in the fall of 1991 -- when we first started covering the Bruins. We quickly came to realize that Bob treated everyone the same --with a hearty welcome, good con- versation and sound advice. It didn't matter if it was a media member's first sea- son or his 21~t. You were treated exactly the same by Bob Wilson. Going back to that day in 2011: although it had been a number of years since Bob had seen me, the recogni- tion was instantaneous, his big smile and warm hello on that day will be long remembered. As long as the game of hockey is played, people will be able to listen to audio pre- sentations of Bob Wilson's legendary calls archived on the Internet, the words that rang out over the majority of North America, calling the action on a sparkling cold and glistening winter's night, warming the hearts of many as they heard his familiar voice -- the voice that will forever be synony- mous with Bruins hockey. Indeed, Bob Wilson was, is and forever shall be "always the leader."