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Wladimir Klitschko Continues to Reinvent Himself

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NEW YORK – Wladimir Klitschko, it would appear, has found his Seven-Year Niche.

When last the younger of boxing’s two dominant heavyweights fought here, a thoroughly bland unanimous decision over Russia’s Sultan Ibragimov on Feb. 23, 2008, in Madison Square Garden, he was markedly different, both in and out of the ring. The “Dr. Steelhammer” who returns to this side of the pond after 13 title defenses in Europe very well may be a new and improved model for his HBO-televised April 25 title defense against undefeated Philadelphian Bryant “By-By” Jennings, also in the Garden. Maybe it really is possible for an old dog to learn new tricks, or a 39-in-March-year-old fighter to add a few sprinkles and swirls to what many Americans had perceived, rightly or wrongly, to be a plain-vanilla persona.

For one thing – and this is important – there is a strong likelihood that Jennings (19-0, 10 KOs) will provide the sort of determined resistance that Ibragimov, who clearly was in survival mode from the opening bell against the much larger, much harder-hitting Klitschko, did not. As Klitschko (63-3, 54 KOs) noted at Wednesday’s upbeat media gathering, it takes two to tangle. If he occasionally happens to find himself in there with an opponent who refuses to engage, Klitschko is too smart – what else can you say of a man who speaks four languages (Ukrainian, Russian, German and English) and holds a Ph.D. in sports science from the University of Kiev? – to try to force something that doesn’t naturally fit. The wise boxer does whatever is necessary to win and move on to the next bout and next set of variables to figure out.

“I cannot make the fight by myself,” reasoned Klitschko, who holds the IBF, WBO, WBA, The Ring and lineal championships. “I need somebody who wants to fight back. That’s what makes an exciting fight. If somebody just doesn’t want to get knocked out, it’s very difficult because you have to chase him.

“There have been different fights I’ve had in the 25 years of my career. I do have different qualities of boxing and punching and, if it’s needed, of clinching. It doesn’t matter. I know the game and I know how to win, to have lasted this long.”

In Germany, where Klitschko’s popularity is such that he’s sort of a Teutonic amalgamation of American sports icons LeBron James, Tom Brady and Derek Jeter, nobody seems to mind if the strategic options available to him swing from displays of pulverizing power to technical expertise to something akin to Greco-Roman grappling, as was the case in his unanimous-decision victory over Alexander Povetkin on Oct. 5, 2013, in Moscow, a snore-a-thon that featured 160-plus clinches, most of which were initiated by the 6-6½, 245-pound Ukrainian. On these cynical shores, haters are going to hate, but in the Fatherland Wlad the Impaler can do no wrong. Six of the 13 title defenses he’s made since beating Ibragimov had been in sold-out soccer stadiums, and seven in sold-out arenas.

Seldom, however, has Klitschko’s star shone as brightly in the United States as it does in Europe. So why was HBO Sports boss Ken Hershman smiling like the cat that ate the canary during the champ’s turn at the podium? Well, it might be because Klitschko-Jennings might actually turn out to be the entertaining heavyweight slugfest so many seem to think it will be, and maybe it’s because the proposed megafight that tentatively is scheduled to take place on May 2 in Las Vegas, which was to have paired superstar welterweight champions Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, and be jointly televised via pay-per-view by both HBO and Showtime, remains, as always, in perpetual tease mode. With each passing day and no agreement finalized, it appears that Money May and Pac-Man will settle for their own Plans B, which can only serve to further alienate a public that has wearied of their ongoing circle dance. If Mayweather-Pacquiao doesn’t happen – again – Klitschko-Jennings has center stage all to itself.

Klitschko seems much more prepared to seize the moment than he was in previous journeys to America. The robotic, monotone guy whom many depicted as a real-life Ivan Drago prior to his unification bout with Ibragimov has, well, loosened up quite a bit. Perhaps that’s because he’s pumped at becoming a father for the first time (fiancée Hayden Panetierre bore him a daughter, Kayla, on Dec. 8). More likely, it is the natural progression of a man who seems much more comfortable in his own skin and in an American setting that has not always been accommodating to him and to older brother Vitali, the former WBC heavyweight ruler. This Wlad is stand-up-comedian funny and insightful on any number of issues, from parenthood to the armed conflict on the Crimean peninsula, to his dream of representing Ukraine in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, which could be an outside possibility if AIBA (the international governing body for Olympic-style boxing), opens the sport without restriction to pros as is now the case in basketball, track and hockey.

On becoming a father: “I’ve been watching how my brother’s life has changed. He has three kids – two boys and a girl. He also said something that is more related to boxing. He said, `As father, I punch harder.’ So I’m, like, OK with that. Let’s see if it is true on April 25.”

On the continuing hostilities in Ukraine between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels who support that nation’s attempt to annex Crimea: “I am very aware of the struggle of the Ukrainian people, and the aggression that came from Russia. It is a situation that’s almost impossible to imagine, that during the day a city can be bombarded with rockets and schools are being hit, all because of the geopolitical ambitions of Russia. The world needs to pay attention to what’s going on. It’s not just a local problem. It’s a world problem. Nobody knows what it’s going to lead to. Nobody knows what it’s going to lead to. Who knows, maybe China says Siberia is ours, or Germany says part of Poland is ours, or Russia says Kazakhstan is ours.”

Of his vision of adding an Olympic gold medal in 2016, 20 years after he took gold in the super heavyweight division at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics: “That is my dream, to fight in the Olympics again, 20 years later, and to win the gold medal again. AIBA needs to get along with professional boxers. I know about the rules, that a certain number of pro bouts are allowed. Right now I’m not familiar with that. But, yeah, if there is a chance, I would love to participate. In every other sport, Olympic athletes can play professional and still compete. It’s a shame for boxing that professional boxers cannot perform in the Olympics.”

On the possibility of Vitali, who is 43 and whose last bout was in 2012, coming out of retirement to fight again: “Sometimes before my fights when he gets in, he says, `Man, this is such an exciting time, and I’m missing it.’ But he has responsibility now, as mayor of Kiev, for four million people.”

An interesting individual, this Dr. Steelhammer. But always the question remains as the pages of the calendar inexorably turn: How much gas is left in his tank at almost 39? Promoter Gary Shaw, who works with Jennings, said it is not out of the question that Klitschko will get old in a hurry against the 30-year-old challenger, who vows to throw all that he has at a man who will be appearing in his 27th world title bout.

“When people ask me what the outcome of the fight will be, I say, `It’s going to end in a knockout,’” Jennings said. “It’s either going to be me or him.’ One of us is going down. But guess what? I don’t think it’s going to be me.”

Added Shaw: “Twenty-five years ago, on Feb. 11 (1990), Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson. I believe on April 25, history will once again be made for an American heavyweight to do something spectacular. But this time, instead of being overseas (Tyson-Douglas was in Tokyo), it’ll be here in the United States.”

And here in the United States is the last frontier that Klitschko needs to conquer. It is at least that portion of the globe that he needs to reclaim for his perch upon the most gilded of thrones to be fully legitimized.

“`World champion’ means champion of the entire world,” Klitschko said. “You have to go around the world, like Muhammad Ali did in another time. I remember when my brother and I met Max Schmeling (the former heavyweight titlist who was 99 when he died in 2005). He said, `Guys, if you really want to make it, you have to make it in the States.’

“Fifteen years ago, I was fighting on the undercard of Michael Grant and Lennox Lewis, at Madison Square Garden. Was exciting night. That is the dream of every performer and entertainer, to be in main event at Madison Square Garden. There’s nothing better than this arena, worldwide. If you make it this far, it means you really made it. Frank Sinatra said it right. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. Madison Square Garden IS New York. I’m glad to be back.”

If Jennings is correct – and the fight ends in a knockout, preferably of the spectacular variety – boxing can only benefit, regardless of whether Mayweather and Pacquiao continue to play their infuriating game of hide-and-seek. With Deontay Wilder the new holder of the WBC title, by virtue of his unanimous decision over Bermane Stiverne on Jan. 17, the U.S. has its first heavyweight champ of any sort since Shannon Briggs in 2007. A Jennings shocker over Klitschko would again return all the belts to America, and if Klitschko is the man who gets there first with a big bomb, he again will figure prominently in HBO’s plans moving forward. That is quite a reversal for a man who, along with his brother Vitali, was all but shown the door by then-HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg in 2010. Asked about the Klitschkos, Greenburg dismissively said the pay-cable giant has “stopped playing in that sandbox.”

Times change. Attitudes can be adjusted. Wladimir Klitschko has now been repackaged for American consumption, and on April 25 a nation of would-be skeptics can see if the metamorphosis meets with its collective approval.

It’s hardly out of the question. Remember, Klitschko’s late trainer, Emanuel Steward, was unstinting in his appraisal of what Wlad was, and even more of what he could be if only more opponents elected to meet him strength-on-strength.

“For one-punch power, Wladimir tops them all,” Steward said. “If he ever became more aggressive and just went after people, he could be the most devastating puncher ever. I’ve trained many fighters, and Wladimir is one of the few who can turn the lights out without using the dimmer switch first.”

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 274: Yeritsyan vs Randall at Chumash Casino, Japan and More

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Violence of an organized nature begins in the rustic and peaceful surroundings of Santa Inez, California as welterweights Gor Yeritsyan and Quinton Randall headline a 360 Boxing Promotions card at Chumash Casino on Friday.

Hours later, three world championship fights erupt in Japan. And hours after that, super middleweights tangle in Florida.

All will be streamed.

Undefeated Yeritsyan (17-0, 14 KOs) meets Randall (13-1-1, 3 KOs) for the WBC Continental Americas title on Friday, Feb. 23, at Chumash Casino. UFC Fight Pass will stream the 360 Boxing Promotions card.

Others on the card include undefeated super lightweight Cain Sandoval (11-0, 11 KOs) meeting Javier Molina (22-5, 9 KOs) in a battle set for 10 rounds. It’s a stronger test for Sandoval who has blasted out every opponent. Molina is one of the fighting twin brothers who both were Olympians.

Javier was an Olympian in 2008 for the USA and Oscar Molina an Olympian for Mexico in 2012.

“I’ve been hearing about Cain for a while, but I know my skills and experience will give me the victory,” said Molina who fights out of Los Angeles.

Sandoval, 21, last November won by knockout in Madison Square Garden in New York City.

“Javier is a very good veteran who has had many more fights than me, but he’s never felt my power before,” said Sandoval who fights out of Sacramento.

Chumash Casino is located near one of the old California missions and built by the Spaniards in 1804. You can see open land for miles with the next nearest town of Solvang a short driving distance away.

Over the decades I’ve seen some memorable fights including Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley’s wild victory over Manuel Garnica in 2007 and Seniesa “Super Bad’ Estrada’s pro debut win in 2011 against Maria Ruiz.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Tokyo Hosts Three World Title Fights

It’s a triple-header in Tokyo for real fight lovers.

Early Saturday morning at 1 a.m. (Pacific Time) three world title matches headed by WBC bantamweight titlist Alexandro Santiago (28-3-5, 14 KOs) of Mexico defending against Japan’s Junto Nakatani (26-0, 19 KOs) take place.

Santiago defeated legendary champion Nonito Donaire last July in Las Vegas in an upset. He also fought to a draw against Filipino slugger Jerwin Ancajas who is also on this card.

Nakatani is a big hitter and two-division world champion. He is very familiar with Mexican fighters and often trains in Southern California. I saw him in Maywood, California a year ago. He’s quite a fighter.

In the other co-main event WBA bantamweight titlist Takuma Inoue (18-1, 4 KOs) defends against former super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (34-3-2, 23 KOs) of the Philippines. Its speed against power.

A third co-main features WBO super flyweight titlist Kosei Tanaka (19-1, 11 KOs) defending against Mexico’s Christian Bacasegua (22-4-2, 9 KOs).

ESPN+ will stream the card live on Saturday.

Matchroom in Orlando

It’s a showcase for contenders.

Brooklyn native Edgar Berlanga (21-0, 16 KOs) “the Chosen One” meets United Kingdom’s Padraig “the Hammer” McCrory (18-0, 9 KOs) in the super middleweight main event on Saturday, Feb. 24. DAZN will stream the Matchroom Boxing card from Orlando, Florida.

Berlanga, of Puerto Rican descent, burst on the pro boxing scene by knocking out 16 consecutive foes. But ever since 2021 he has been unable to win by knockout. Five consecutive opponents went the distance.

Can Berlanga still punch?

Facing the Boricua slugger will be McCrory a 35-year-old from Northern Ireland who remains undefeated. To put it into perspective, the United Kingdom is filled with very good super middleweights and none have beaten McCrory so far.

Also on the card is Cuban Olympic gold medalist Andy Cruz (2-0) defending a regional lightweight title against Mexican southpaw Brayan Zamarripa (14-2, 9 KOs). Cruz has blistering speed and an aggressive style as a pro.

Other interesting fights feature bantamweight prospects Antonio Vargas (17-1) and Jonathan Rodriguez (17-1-1). Both can punch but each lost via knockout. Whose chin will prove sturdier in this clash?

Fights to Watch (all times Pacific Time)

Fri. UFC Fight Pass 7 p.m. Gor Yeritsyan (17-0) vs Quinton Randall (13-1-1)

Sat. ESPN+ 1 a.m. Alexandro Santiago (28-3-5) vs Junto Nakatani (26-0).

Sat. DAZN 4 p.m. Edgar Berlanga (21-0) vs Padraig McCrory (18-0).

Photo: Tom Loeffler is flanked by Javier Molina and Cain Sandoval. Photo credit: Lina Baker

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Fighters from Tijuana are on a Roll; Can Alexandro Santiago Keep Up the Momentum?

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Fighters from Tijuana are on a Roll; Can Alexandro Santiago Keep Up the Momentum?

Last Thursday, a Golden Boy Promotions card in California produced an early entrant for Upset of the Year. In the main event, unsung Jesus “Ricky” Perez out-pointed former U.S. Olympian and former two-division title-holder Joseph “Jojo” Diaz.

Perez hails from Tijuana. Heading in, he had lost five of his last nine and had never won a match slated for more than eight rounds. He started fast and held on to win a split nod (ancient ringside judge Lou Moret awarded Perez nine of the 10 rounds).

The fast-growing, hardscrabble city of Tijuana, which sits at the northwest tip of the Baja peninsula, has produced a steady stream of good boxers over the years (Erik Morales, a Hall of Famer, and Antonio Margarito, a two-time world welterweight champion, come quickly to mind), but is currently enjoying arguably the best run in the city’s boxing history. And the distaff side is sharing in the prosperity. Flyweight Kenia Enriquez (28-1, 11 KOs) and her younger sister Tania Rodriguez (21-1, 10 KOs), a light flyweight, are knocking on the door of world title fights (Kenia holds an interim belt).

Last December, when pundits at the leading U.S. boxing websites brainstormed to come up with the 2023 Fight of the Year, two bouts stood out above all others: the Feb. 18 match between super bantamweights Luis Nery and Azat Hovhannisyan and the June 10 super middleweight contest between Jaime Munguia and Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

The Nery-Hovhannisyan match was a riveting, see-saw rumble that ended with Nery winning by TKO in the 11th round. Munguia scored a knockdown in the 12th to overcome Derevyanchenko, eking out a razor-thin but unanimous decision. Both victors have since added another “W” to their respective ledgers. Nery (35-1, 27 KOs) KOed Filipino veteran Froilan Saludar. Munguia (43-0, 34 KOs) dominated and stopped England’s John Ryder.

In case you hadn’t noticed, Luis Nery and Jaime Munguia were both born and raised in Tijuana. And we will be hearing a lot more about them. Although unofficial, Nery has an agreement in place to fight superstar Naoya Inoue in Tokyo in May and, according to various reports, Munguia is now the frontrunner to be Canelo Alvarez’s next opponent.

The month after Munguia-Derevyanchenko, Tijuana’s Alexandro Santiago (pictured) scored his signature win and won the vacant WBC world bantamweight title with an upset of the great Filipino fighter Nonito Donaire. Santiago won a clear-cut decision on the card topped by the mega-fight between Terence Crawford and Errol Spence.

Santiago (28-3-5, 14 KOs) has a formidable challenge for his first title defense which comes on Saturday in Tokyo. In the opposite corner will be undefeated Junto Nakatani (26-0, 19 KOs) who is moving up in weight after winning world titles at 112 and 115. Nakatani can really crack as he showed with his brutal, one-punch knockout of Andrew Moloney.

There are two other title fights on the card which will air in the U.S. on ESPN+. Needless to say, one will have to get out of bed early to catch all the action. The first bell is slated for 4 am ET, 1 pm PT.

Santiago will be a heavy underdog against his Japanese opponent who will have a 5-inch height advantage. However, if recent history is any guide, one should not be too quick to dismiss his chances.

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Who Murdered Peter Bufala? A ‘Whodunit’ with a Boxing Backdrop

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On Friday, Oct. 8, 1976, Peter Bufala returned home from work just as a new day was dawning. The Las Vegas baccarat dealer pulled his Cadillac into his circular driveway, exited his car, walked toward his front door, and was felled by two bullets from a 9 mm handgun, one entering his chest and the other his brain. A neighbor fetching his morning newspaper found him lying in a pool of blood on his front lawn. He was dead when the police arrived. He was 33 years old and left behind a wife and two young daughters.

A 12-year resident of the fast-growing southern Nevada gambling mecca, Bufala grew up in Chester, Pennsylvania, a blue collar suburb of Philadelphia. He had come here to rekindle his boxing career.

A Middle Atlantic amateur featherweight champion, he had begun his pro career on a high note, winning a 4-round decision over a fellow novice on a show at New York’s St. Nicholas Arena that included Rubin “Hurricane” Carter who would go on to fight for the world middleweight title but would be best remembered for the many years he spent behind prison walls for his alleged involvement in a triple homicide.

Following his New York engagement, Bufala fought in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia. As a pro, he never fought in his home state and there was a reason for it. In 1961, while undergoing a routine medical examination at an amateur show, he was diagnosed with a heart murmur. The Pennsylvania Boxing Commission rescinded his license. He subsequently underwent a series of tests at Temple University Medical Hospital and was given a clean bill of health, but the Pennsylvania authorities were unyielding and, bit by bit, in a day when news traveled slowly, other jurisdictions fell into line.

Nevada was the Wild West. The regulators there had looser standards and Bufala resumed his career on Sept. 2, 1964 at the Castaways, out-pointing his opponent in a 5-round match to improve his ledger to 7-3. The publicity man misspelled his name, adding an extra “f”, and he would remain Pete Buffala whenever his name appeared in the sports section of the local papers.

Fifty years ago, in 1964, approximately 165,000 people resided in all of sprawling Clark County, home to Las Vegas. The thought that Vegas would someday host a Formula 1 Grand Prix or a Super Bowl, two of the grandest sports spectacles in the world, was preposterous. The only local sport that ever made the national news wire was boxing.

The fulcrum was Bill Miller, a hot-headed boxing junkie from Elmira, New York, who owned a saloon on the Las Vegas Strip that he out-fitted with a boxing gym in the basement. Miller’s “Strip Fight of the Week,” which bounced from one little casino to another during a run that lasted well over a decade, bucked the national trend. Small fight clubs, with very few exceptions, had fallen by the wayside, a development triggered by the mass production of televisions.

Miller was hardly immune to all the little hassles that plague a grass-roots boxing promoter. Matches were constantly falling out. But he had several things working in his favor. As opportunities dried up elsewhere, journeymen boxers were drawn here by the promise of steady work. And although Miller couldn’t afford to pay enough to make boxing a full-time profession, good-paying jobs were plentiful in the construction and hospitality industries.

To be certain, there were also push factors. Chester, Pennsylvania, a shipbuilding hub during World War II, had fallen on hard times, plagued by unemployment and racial strife. Lowell, Massachusetts, a city known for its vibrant amateur boxing culture, was likewise hurting with row after row of textile factories sitting vacant. Lowell produced Eddie Andrews, a hard-hitting middleweight who would be the first fighter to make promoter Miller any significant money without having to take him on the road to a larger precinct or overseas.

Andrews supplemented his ring earnings dealing blackjack at Caesars Palace. For a time, Ralph Dupas was a co-worker. A former world title-holder at 154 pounds, Dupas settled in Las Vegas in the mid-1960s as his career was winding down and remained here until his encroaching dementia passed the tipping point and family members brought him home to his native New Orleans to live out his final days.

Returning to Peter Bufala, he worked his way up the ladder on Miller’s promotions, eventually topping the marquee for a fight with Johnny Brooks. They fought at the Hacienda, a grind joint at the south end of the Strip (where Mandalay Bay now sits) on April 13, 1965. Brooks was nothing special, but he was better than his 17-6-3 record. He would go on to last the distance in 10-round fights with future Hall of Famers Emile Griffith and Carlos Monzon.

Bufala was bloodied in the third round and knocked down in the fourth, but mounted a furious rally and at the end of the 10 rounds the judges could not pick a winner and the match went into the books as a draw. Working on the “5-point-must” system, the scores were 46-44 Bufala, 46-45 Brooks, and 46-46. (Trivia time: The 46-46 tally was turned in by ringside judge Harry Reid who would go on to become the most powerful man in the U.S. Senate. Nowadays, visitors flying in to Las Vegas arrive at Harry Reid International Airport.)

Had Bufala won the bout, his next fight would have been a 12-rounder against Reno’s Dave Patterson, the Nevada Lightweight Champion. But when he returned to the ring the following month, it was in a 6-rounder against an unsung fighter from Los Angeles named Davey White and, in a shocker, White blasted him out in the second round.

Bufala announced his retirement after this fight. It warranted scarcely a mention in the Las Vegas papers, but the folks back in Chester hadn’t forgotten him. “Pete Bufala Quits Boxing for Health,” read the bold headline on the sports page of the June 9, 1965 issue of the Delaware County Daily Times. The accompanying story said that Buffala, “Chester’s most promising professional fighter,” had emerged from his most recent bout with a blot clot in his neck and was troubled by chronic back problems. (Buffala would have one more fight before quitting the sport for good. He won his final fight, a 6-rounder, bringing his final record, per boxrec, to 16-5-2.)

Bufala never returned to Chester. He married a local girl and, in short order, was a father of three, two girls and a boy who tragically died at 16 months when he crawled into a plastic laundry bag and suffocated as his mother was distracted writing checks.

In December of 1973, the MGM Grand opened on the southeast corner of the busiest intersection on the Las Vegas Strip. This was the city’s original MGM Grand that would take the name Bally’s and was recently re-branded the Horseshoe. With 2,100 rooms, a 1,200-seat showroom and a jai alai fronton, the MGM Grand made its competitors look puny by comparison. Peter Bufala was there on opening night, dealing baccarat.

In terms of the money put at risk, baccarat is the crème-de-crème of card games. It attracts the whales, the high-rollers that leave the biggest tips. On a good night at a high-end establishment like the MGM Grand, it wasn’t uncommon for a dealer to rake in $500 in gratuities. Bufala worked the graveyard shift (likely 9 pm to 5 am; it varied by hotel), the most coveted shift for a dealer in a day when visitors to Las Vegas were more nocturnal than they are today.

One didn’t get to be a baccarat dealer in a ritzy joint by working his way up from the bottom. One had to know the right people. In the vernacular, one got juiced into the job. And the juicer might expect a kick-back.

One of the most influential people in Las Vegas was an outsider who tried to keep a low profile, Gaspare “Jasper” Speciale. A transplanted New York bookmaker, Speciale co-owned and managed the Tower of Pizza restaurant which sat a stone’s throw from the MGM Grand on the opposite side of the street. Speciale opened doors for dozens of people seeking employment in the hospitality industry. If one was new in town and needed work in a hurry, Jasper was the man to see.

Until the arrival in Las Vegas of the notorious Tony Spilotro, Speciale was the city’s premier private money lender. He would eventually serve four years in a federal prison for loan-sharking.

Whenever there was a murder in Las Vegas that had the earmarks of a mob hit, speculation always centered on Gaspare Speciale. It mattered not that he was active in his church and donated lavishly to local charities. Moreover, he had a warm spot in his heart for prizefighters. In the spacious backyard of his home, chockablock with mementos of his boyhood in New York City, there was a replica of Stillman’s Gym complete with a punching bag and rubbing tables.

Another theory, although one that acquired less currency, pointed the finger at Bufala’s father-in-law who was the beneficiary of Peter’s life insurance policy. The two were partners in a small sporting goods store where it was rumored that one could purchase an unregistered firearm.

On the day that Peter Bufala was assassinated, the story about it in the Las Vegas Sun, an afternoon paper, said that the former boxer had no bad habits – he didn’t drink, smoke, gamble or chase women — and that he was well-liked by everyone that knew him. But, said a police detective, “Someone wanted him dead and eventually we’re going to find out who that someone is and why.”

Forty-seven years after the fact, the who and the why remain as baffling as ever. If Peter Bufala were alive today, he would be 80 years old. This is a mystery that will likely never be solved.

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