ONLY THE RING WAS SQUARE by Teddy & Barney Nagler Brenner


Email this review


Fast-talking, tale-telling memories of 40 years in the fight game--including two decades as the Madison Square Garden matchmaker. Brenner, the archetypal Brooklyn boy who made good, hustled around the fringes of the boxing world before World War II, then went into the Seabees. By 1949, he was assistant to Al Weill, the matchmaker for Jim Norris' IBC, a notorious MSG-affiliated outfit which also did business with the likes of Blinky Palermo and Frankie Carbo--""who killed people and owned fighters and made champions at will."" Boxing's TV era was at its height, and young Brenner arranged successful fight cards for Gillette's Friday-night series at smaller metropolitan N.Y. arenas (St. Nick's, Eastern Parkway, etc.) as well as at The Garden. In 1959, when the Supreme Court declared the IBC a corrupt monopoly is restraint of trade, the Norris interests sold out, and Brenner became the MSG matchmaker. During his tenure, which ended in 1979 (largely because of a power struggle with the flamboyant Don King, then close to Garden boss Sonny Werblin), he was involved with virtually all the top pugs in the game: Rocky Graziano, Dick Tiger, Sugar Ray Robinson, lake LaMotta, Sonny Liston, etc., etc. And--who else?--Muhammad Ali. Brenner knows the lawless, venal world of the ring from the inside, and he names names (evening some old scores) in the dozens of yarns he spins about dishonest dealings, mob influence, and routine crookedness. With a wealth of background lore, a sure bet for boxing fans with no illusions to lose.

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 1981
Publisher: Prentice-Hall