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August 30, 2013

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Page 16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, AUGUST 30, 2013 THEVETERAN BOXER Vinny Marino from Punching to Pasta by The South Side Gym, which was located on Washington Street, in Roslindale Square, opened its doors in 1970, and served as the training ground for boxers of the day, until 1995. During ,+hose years some of the most notable boxers, and trainers were part of an institution that will be remembered forever. The box- ers scheduled the workouts with their trainers. The train- ers, in mention, were the best around, and their knowledge of the Sweet Science was unequaled. Among the staff were Daffy DeFazzio, a beloved figure in the Boxing Community, Rich Torsney, Charlie Pappas, and the pro- prietor of the South Side Gym, Vinny Marino. Unfortunately we don't see the cali- ber of this collection of trainers anymore. Many the popular fighters of the day, Danny Long and Kenny Butler, to name a few migrated to the South Side Gym. Bobby Bower, who went on to be a well-respected trainer, and Deputy Boxing Commissioner, said that his years in Boxing were molded by his time spent at the South Side Gym. Marino had an in depth resume when it came to the Sweet Science. As an amateur he sported a record of 32 wins against only 2 losses, which was outstanding, consider- ing the talent that was around in the fif- ties. He captured the New Eflgland AAU Title in the 139 pound Open Class, and duplicated the same feat in the Diamond Belt Tourna- ment. His only two losses were at the hands of two other great New England Amateur pugilist; in the Golden Glove Novice Finals he lost a close decision, after a punch filled bout to the upcoming, and popular Joe Amanti. The next year he recorded his sec- ond, and final amateur loss in the Golden Glove Open Class to the immortal Leo Lydon, who had eventually closed out his amateur career with an outstanding record of 99 wins against only 7 losses. In that fight Vinny was on his way to victory until a head butt opened up a serious cut over his eye. Leo later became a fixture at amateur cards as a distinguished trainer, but passed away at the young age of 56 in 1992. Vinny broke into the professional ranks in 1961 with a victory over Willie 'Cadillac' James. He had trained at the ever popular New Garden Gym in Boston, but then moved onto the 5th Street Gym, in the heart of Miami, Florida. Lou Black was his manager, and Bobby Agripino was the trainer of record. Marino sparred with the cream of the crop, to name a few, Joey Giambra, Holly Mimms, Joe Micelli, Joey Giardello, Mike DeJohn, Chico Vejar and Vince Martinez. At one time he was the personal sparring partner of Benny 'Kid' Parret, who lost his title and his life in a bout with Emile Griffith in 1962. My father, who boxed way back when, and I, religiously patronized the fights when they were a staple four nights a week on the small screen. On one of these telecasts, in 1962, I heard the Ring Announcer introduc- ing the two fighters; one was Buddy Enfield, and the other was a guy fighting out of Miami by way of Boston, his name -- Vinny Marino. Angelo Dundee was working his corner that night, and anyone who knew boxing knew Angelo only worked with win- ners. Case closed. After five challenging rounds, of a schedule 8 rounder, in which Mickey Finn, President of Ring 4 he received a gash that took thirty stitches to close, his corner and the referee wanted to call the fight. Vinny pleaded for one more round, and he came through scoring a sixth round TKO, proving that he had what it takes to win. Paul Doyle, who boxed in the Juniors with me, and went on to win the Pacific Coast Title, also saw the fight and we both still rehash the experience. Not only did we get to see the guy from Boston come out on top, but we became very close friends with the victor. Paul has a great deal of admiration for Vinny, and says, "His cook- ing ability equals his ring savvy, and that's a tough call to make." He closed out his pro career with a record of 13 wins against zero losses. Not a bad record for fighting the degree of excellence the boxers possessed in those days. Johnny Mastrangelo, the proprietor of the Kelly Square Pub, in East Boston, remembers his days at the New Garden Gym sparring many rounds with Vinny. He never forgot Vinny's profession- alism in the Ring, and the power of his punch. Vinny Marino is also a professional chef, who is capable of putting forth dishes of vari- ous meals for every conceivable taste. His resume in the food industry includes "The Natural," an eatery, which was brought into being long before its time. The menu con- sisted of all natural foods with no preserva- tives. He had twenty-four restaurants in various states. The Banana Boat, in Boca Raton, Florida, was another successful ven- ture that served a varied menu, and catered to some top name celebrities of the day. Back in Massachusetts he was the propri- etor of Vinny Marino's Casa, which again served elegant Italian meals, and a great array of lamb dishes. The Casa was a great drawing card for locals, more so for those who appreciated a satisfying meal, and an enjoyable environment. Marino's present venture is the Brick House Cafe, at 109 Bridge Street, in Dedham. His patrons enter with an enthusiastic appetite, and leave totally satisfied after a great meal. On Saturday he opens at noon, and serves a brunch that is second, to none. During the week The Brick House opens to the public at 5:00 pm, and caters to a delighted full house all night. Since the expansion of the Cafe rotation moves very efficiently and there is always a seat avail- able for one to enjoy a wonderful evening of indulging in an unequaled meal. Vinny greets his guests and makes his rounds to each table, and seat, to assure the satisfac- tion of the food. The decor of the Brick House has elite surroundings of Boxing Memora- bilia of well-known pugilist, who are much respected for their skills in the Ring. The Ring 4 Hall of Fame Plaque is also on dis- play, at the establishment, for everyone to share in its glory. Bobby Franklin, Past President of Ring 4, states, "Going to the Brick House is a great night out, because not only do you have the enjoyment of a great meal, but you also have a knowledgeable conversation with Vinny, about Boxing. I so enjoy him recalling his days in the gym. The stories are never ending, and very (Continued on Page 6) It was August, which at one time used to feature those lazy, hazy, days of summer. For more recent generations, however, those days of the year's eighth month have signaled a quickened pace of activity as people make preparations to return to school and other fall activities. Now it seems that every- one wants to get the jump on things. There are earlier starts for the first team meeting of the year, the first faculty meetings and the first day of classes. And thus it was that the first real hockey meeting of the coming year took place in August, a good many days before Labor Day. The set- ting was the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Vir- ginia. They are just outside of Washington D.C., a collec- tion of the best American- born hockey players con- vened for the 2013 U.S. Men's National Team Camp, an initial gathering of those players that USA Hockey feels have the potential to make the 2014 Olympic Team that will compete for the gold in Sochi, Russia this coming February. There were 48 players invited to this two-day affair, a number symbolic to those of a certain age since 48 was the number of states for a significant period in our na- tion's history -- until Alaska and Hawaii were added dur- ing the Eisenhower admin- istration. Still, the phase "The Lower 48" has a cer- tain beloved ring to it and with that exact number of players invited to this camp, the symbolism of the good old USA was especially evoca- tive. Interestingly, there weren't any on-ice scrim- mages at the camp because of what was stated as high insurance costs, whatever, most of the NHL General Managers were probably de- lighted to know their star players couldn't be injured in an on-ice action -- espe- cially with training camps slated to open by the second week of September. So these will be basically a meet and greet sessions, with el- ements of a reunion thrown in for a number of players, many having played together on the same national teams or development teams while coming up through the ranks. Most players were OK with the no-skating rule, saying that a better assess- ment of them could be made during the first half of the NHL season. What that means for these selected 48 is that their performances in NHL games from October through January will essen- tially double as tryouts for the Olympic Team. The current plan is to cut the four dozen players down to about half that number as the Olympics draw near. Given the talent pool, this means that some real hard decisions will have to be made just after the Holidays. For some there will be joy and for others their hopes will be dashed. Those who will do the evaluating will be led by Team General Man- ager David Poile, the Presi- dent of Hockey Operations and General Manager for the Nashville Predators. He pre- viously served as assistant GM of the 2010 Olympic Team that lost the gold medal game to Canada in overtime. He'll be assisted by Ray Shero, the President and GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins and veteran NHL Adminis- trator Brian Burke, who most recently served as President and GM for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Burke, the team's director of player personnel this time around, was the General Manager of the 2010 Olympic Team. Shero will have some familiar faces to interact with on the coach- ing staff. Dan Bylsma, the coach of the Penguins, will serve as the head coach of the team with Tony Granato, an assistant with the Pens, also serving in that capac- ity for the Olympic squad. Peter Laviolette, who grew up in Franklin and is pres- ently the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, will also serve as an assistant. He was the head coach of the Olympic team that com- peted in the 2006 games in Turin, Italy. Todd Richards, the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, will also work behind the bench. The NHL will shut down for two and a half weeks in February so that its players can compete in the Olympic Tournament. All of the best teams will be loaded with NHL players. Gone are the days when amateurs or even minor league players have a chance of making these teams. Unlike the "1980"s USA Miracle on Ice Team" that forged a bond through an extensive six-month train- ing schedule, the squads to- day are essentially all-star teams that come together at the very last moment to com- pete. They are a better tal- ent wise, of course. But there is something missing from (Continued on Page 13) "Our FamiLy F.; iism, " Complete Starting at $3900. not . . Ample Off Street Parking * Comp Valet Parking * Nonsectarian