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November 7, 2014

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Page16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, NOVEMBER 7, 2014 1 THE LONG SEASON -- The availability. Often, as is the Iron Mike Pusateri Honored season is just underway in case in Boston, an NBA fran- boxer he was also a the NBA but as things began chise shares a facility with champion in the there were already rum- an NHL team. In at least one kitchen. I will never blings about the length of the instance (the Staples Cen- forget his Chicken season. Although others ter in Los Angeles), there Marsala, the best I have commented on this are three pro teams using ever had. topic in the past, the more the same facility (the Lakers After retiring from current comments have in- and Clippers of the NBA, plus the ring Mike stayed cluded some from players the Kings of the NHL). Throw active in boxing and such as LeBron James. To in concerts, occasional was always there for be more precise, the com- college games, plus other his brother boxers. He merits center around what events such as figure skat- was known as the Ring the current 82-game sched- ing shows and one comes to 4 Ambassador and ule creates numerous understand that there just lived up to the title, instances of back-to-back might not be enough days Iron Mike always had a games -- with one team of- over the course of the six- smile on his face and ten playing in one city on the month regular season to give a nice thing to say. He first night and then flying everyone the exact days they loved to talk about his overnight to a second city to desire. friendships with Rocky play another game the very People have proposed vari- Marciano and Allie Columbo. One funny next night. And, although ous "cures" for this problem. story he would relate was about the time in not common, once in a while All center on the concept of On October 31 st a plaque honoring the late the early '60s when he and Rocky were trav- that second game could be a having fewer games in the Iron Mike Pusateri was unveiled at the cling in London. A photographer came up to day game, leaving even less regular season. Several pro- Norwood Civic Center where Mike spent so them and asked if they would pose for a photo time to rest. More often than posals, most often coming much time working with young people while with a group of young musicians. When they not, the home team in the from beat writers or players being a very positive influence on their lives, walked into the hotel lobby where the young second city has not had (such as LeBron James) but Mike was a long time member of Ring 4 men were waiting and took a look at them to travel, is therefore well not from NBA officials, call for and an inductee into the Ring 4 Hall of Fame. with their long hair they said to forget about rested and can perform at a a regular season of 60-65 He was one of the most loved people in box- it. It wasn't long after that that The Beatles higher level than the squad games spread over the same ing and had friends all over the world. In made their debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. that played the night before, amount of time as the cur- 1961 Iron Mike won the Middleweight Mike would shake his head and laugh while got in late to the hotel after rent regular season. This Golden Gloves Title in Lowell. Soon after he reliving that moment, a 2-3 hour flight and is thus would give the players ad- turned pro and fought until 1972 facing the Sadly, Mike left us much too early when not as sharp as the home equate time to rest between top contenders of his day both locally and in he passed away in 2011 at the age of 71. He team. This is not a rare games and would eliminate their hometowns. Mike never shied away was still cheering people up till the very end occurrence in the NBA. The the need for back-to-back from a challenge and scored wins over world with phone calls. He called me a couple of Celtics, for example, have 18 games, the bane of virtually ranked contenders Willie Luddick and Doyle days before the end. He was totally upbeat back-to-back contests in the all players and coaches. How Baird while holding Charley Shipes to a and was not looking for sympathy. I knew 2014-2015 season. The first well can a coach prepare for called for the Celtics to host a team overnight when corn- draw. Mike's two very close fights with Joe when the conversation was over that it was DeNucci in Boston are still talked about. His his way of saying goodbye. I felt deeply sad Indiana at the Garden in pared to having 2-3 days last two bouts in Boston were very exciting but also inspired by this man who was tak- early November and then fly to prepare for an opponent? matches against Johnny Coiley. ing his final hours and using them to reach to Chicago and face the pow- When Doc Rivers was coach- For many years Mike was a chef at his out to those whom he knew and loved, erful Bulls the very next ing the Celtics, for example, family's restaurant The Gardens in The plaque that was placed at the Civic night. There are three back- he often was forced to watch Dedham. Along with being a world-class Center reads as follows: to-backs set for December, video of the second opponent four are scheduled for Janu- on the plane as the team "IRON" MIKE PIISATERI ary, three in February, a flew through the night. We Professional boxer, local hero, instructor to hundreds, whopping five in March and think that while this discus- Mike always led with his smile, two in the first couple of sion brings forth a number Mike taught boxing at the Norwood Recreation Department for twenty years, weeks in April, including a of positive points, the real- Always the gentlemen, season ender that has ity is that the regular sea- Mike taught young men how to carry themselves in the ring the C's hosting Toronto on son will not be shortened. and to be great role models out of the ring. April 14 and then finishing Fewer games would result in The Norwood Recreation Department is proud to place out the regular season less exposure on television this plaque where Iron Mike taught his trade and at Milwaukee on April 15. and reduced funds from provide important lessons for life. Tellingly, although there "broadcast partners" that pay I know Mike is smiling down on all of us have been several comments huge sums to televise games. and his influence will continue to inspire people for many years to come. concerning the length of the There also would be reduced regular season, virtually no revenue from sponsors and Say a Prayer for Leon Spinks one has suggested shorten- "corporate partners" of the ing the length of the second NBA, plus fewer tickets that Former Heavyweight Leon, a former Marine season the playoffs. While could be sold to fans. All of Champ Leon Spinks has who won a Gold Medal in the back-to-back games in the the foregoing would reduce been having a very tough Light Heavyweight division playoffs are rare, remember the incoming revenue time of it over the past at the 1976 Olympics, went that the playoffs start after stream, a stream that has month while being hospital- on to make history when he the teams have played about enabled sky high salaries to ized for a serious ailnent, won the World Heavyweight 90 games the 82 regular be paid to players, coaches His wife Brenda tells Us he Championship in his eighth season games plus eight or and league executives. Fans has had multiple surgeries professional fight defeating so pre-season games. Oh, of the NBA love the league and has been in intensive Muhammad Ali by decision, and did we mention, there and want to see the stars care for much of the time he Now the Champ is in the are sometimes back-to-back perform as often as possible. has been there. She is ask- fight of his life. Please take games during the month of Fewer games mean fewer ing that people say a prayer a moment to keep him in October the time the pre- opportunities to purchase for the former Champ. your thoughts and prayers, season games are played. No tickets, thus decreasing the wonder some of the teams chances of seeing a game(s) entering the playoffs are not in person. The NBA, through Rest in Peace Julia Burley at their best. In the NBA who shrewd marketing and in- is standing in April (as the teractions with broadcasting Widow of Charley Burley Passes playoffs begin) may be some- and corporate entities, has The widow of all time great Charley shame he never wore a crown. Hearing of what different from those built up a successful enter- Burley, Julia Burley, passed away this past Julia's death is once again a reminder who took the floor back on prise over the decades. It's week. Julia was 93 years old. Reading this of how cruel boxing can be to its participants, opening night in the fall. not about to shorten a for- news reminded me once again about the The playwright August Wilson's hit Some of this is not the fault mula of success that has injustice that was done to her late husband Broadway Play "Fences" was partly based on of the NBA, of course. Partly, worked well for the league who is considered by almost all boxing the life of Burley. The lead character is a it has to do with building over the decades. experts to have been one of the greatest, if former baseball player named Troy Maxon not the greatest, pound for pound fighters who works for the Pittsburgh Sanitation who ever lived. In spite of this, Charley never Department, the same place Charley The Federal Trade Commission got a title shot. Part of this may have been worked after his boxing career, and Maxon, WO for  consumer to prevent due to racism, but a lot of it had to do with like Charley, was a very talented athlete fraud and deception. the fact that he was just too good. Boxers of who was never able to break into the big all races avoided fighting him. Charley was time because he was active before the | 1-877-FTC-HELP(l-877-382-4357) an amazing boxer who also possessed a major leagues a11owed blacks to play punch that could fell oak tree. It was truly a for them.