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Joe Bruno- Inside Boxing - The Boxing Writers Fiasco- Dung King

Joe Bruno- Inside Boxing - The Boxing Writers Fiasco- Dung King

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Published by Joe Bruno
I was the Vice President of the Boxing Writers from 1982-86. And a member until 1992. During that period the selection process for the yearly awards was a joke. I have had no connection with the group since 1992. I do not know if this still applies, but if I had to guess, I'd say it does.
I was the Vice President of the Boxing Writers from 1982-86. And a member until 1992. During that period the selection process for the yearly awards was a joke. I have had no connection with the group since 1992. I do not know if this still applies, but if I had to guess, I'd say it does.

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Published by: Joe Bruno on Jul 29, 2010
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04/25/2011

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Inside Boxing
By Joe Bruno
In past columns, I've attacked everything from unscrupulous boxing promoters (DungKing-----Bullshit Bob Arum), to incompetent and biased boxing judges (take your pick), tohaughty boxing honchos (Seth "Shrimp" Abraham of HBO). But now I'm going to give you boxing fans some insight into the inner workings of the Boxing Writers Association, anorganization almost seventy years old, who for years have done nothing for boxing but togive out questionable awards, sometimes to their own members.The Boxing Writers Association (once more properly called The New York Boxing WritersAssociation) was formed in the middle 1920's, and some of it's illustrious early presidentswere Nat Fleishcher of the "Bible of Boxing" Ring Magazine, and boxing writer EdSullivan, who later changed hats and gave black and white TV viewers a "Really big shew"every Sunday night at eight pm.In the late 1970's, I was a wide-eyed neophyte boxing writer doing a full page of boxingevery Monday for the News World in New York City. In fact, I was the only full- time boxing writer employed for any daily newspaper in the city of New York. So, I summonedthe courage and applied for admittance into the hallowed Boxing Writers Association.Unfortunately, I was not met with open arms.The old fogies in the Boxing Writes Association probably thought if your name is JoeBruno and you were born and raised in Mafia territory in Little Italy, I had to be somehowconnected to "The Boys." They had already rid boxing of Frankie Carbo and BlinkiePalermo( two paisans who ran boxing with an iron fist and steel bullets for many years, andwent to prison for their troubles), so accepting another vowel-ending member was not onthe top of their list of important things to do. Yet, after careful consideration (and maybethe fear of having their knees broken), I was reluctantly issued my Boxing WritersAssociation membership card.My heart fluttered, as I not sat down and broke bread with my early sports writingheroes---Red Smith and Dick Young. But I was soon shocked and dismayed to find out thatthe majority of the members of the Boxing Writers Association were not boxing writers atall, but in fact public relations people, most working for various boxing promotersthroughout the country.Sure, their were crack boxing scribes like Mike Katz, then of the New York Times, andEddie Schuyler of Associated Press, but the men who carried most of the weight and madeall of the decisions were the late Murray Goodman (PR person for Don King), Irving Rudd(Bob Arum), Boxing Writers recording secretary Tommy Kenville (Madison SquareGarden) John Condon (Madison Square Garden), Trish McCormick (Madison SquareGarden), and independent PR persons-for-hire Rich Rose, Irvin Rosey, Eddie Pitcher,Harold Conrad, Howie Dolgen and Patti Dryfus. There were more boxing press agents whowere also voting members of the Boxing Writers Association, but their names and facesnow escape me.
 
The secretary-treasurer of the Boxing Writers for as many years as any one couldremember was the intensely disliked Marvin Kohn, who's claim to fame was that he wasSophie Tucker's press agent sometime in the Roaring Twenties. Kohn was also aninfluential long-time commissioner at the New York State Athletic Commission, and heused his power there as a lead weight to beat into submission anyone who dared tochallenge his clout in the Boxing Writers Association. (As treasurer, Kohn hoarded theBoxing Writers monies accumulated throughout the years, and at every meeting Dick Young demanded an accounting of the funds, and was never given one. Young died in1987, and Kohn died a few years later, and as far as I know, the mystery of the BoxingWriters riches died with him)The private interests of the powerful press agents became evident when we held our yearlyluncheon to nominate people for our prestigious awards presented at our yearly bigwigBoxing Writer's Dinner held in some hallowed hotel in New York City. Nominations weretaken for Fighter of the Year, Manager/Trainer of the Year, TV media person of the year,Boxing Writer of the Year, and other illustrious awards such as the James J. Walker Awardfor "long and meritorious service to the sport of boxing." (Why such an important awardwas given in the name of a New York Mayor who was so disgraced he resigned from officeand fled the country before he was arrested was never explained to little old me)The procedure for accepting nominations were thus: You raised your hand and namedanyone you damn well pleased. Such name was immediately accepted into nomination, andwhen five or six names were compiled, the nomination was closed. Secret ballots were sentout weeks later, and votes were counted, but since some of the press agents did the actualcounting, the ballots were hardly secret at all.I got my first whiff of a possible conflict of interest when Murray Goodman nominated his boss Dung King for the James J. Walker Award in 1981. King's "long and meritoriousservice to boxing" at that time was a whole five years, but when you were as old as Murraywas, I guess you lose track of time.The following month during the winter holiday season, King threw a holiday extravaganzaat a famous New York City nightclub. Invited were certain boxers, trainers and managers, but the main recipients of King's largess were the fifty or so member of the Boxing WritersAssociation who would vote for the awards right after the first of the year. The dinner wasmore lavish than most weddings I've attended in New York City. There was an open bar from six pm to midnight, and the dinner consisted of Prime Ribs and Lobster tails. But the biggest hint that King wanted bang for his buck was when after the dinner MurrayGoodman went around to each member of the Boxing Writers Association and handed us agift, saying, "When you vote next month for the James J. Walker Award, don't forget tovote with your conscience."I tugged open the holiday wrappings and came face to face with a huge silver platter withthe King's name and logo stuck smack in the middle. This platter had to cost close to fivehundred dollar in 1981 money. I was so shocked by the offering and the innuendo, and Icouldn't figure out what to do with the damn thing anyway, I almost handed the platter  back to Murray. But more on that later.Then, Murray and Dung made the rounds of all the boxing writers, and Dung offered eachone of us his personal holiday greetings. By the time Dung caught up with me, I was

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