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CORBETT OVER SULLIVAN WAS 1892 PREDECESSOR TO MAYWEATHER-McGREGOR

Corbett over Sullivan – A compelling case can be made for the heavyweight championship bout that took place on Sept. 7, 1892, in New Orleans as the biggest.

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CORBETT OVER SULLIVAN

CORBETT OVER SULLIVAN – What a difference 125 years makes.

While several boxing matches have claimed, with varying degrees of legitimacy, to be the biggest, most important of all time – think Johnson-Jeffries (July 4, 1910), Louis-Schmeling II (June 22, 1938), Ali-Frazier I (March 8, 1971) and, if you’re solely going by amount of money generated, Mayweather-McGregor on Aug. 26 – a compelling case can be made for a one-sided heavyweight championship bout that took place on Sept. 7, 1892, at the Olympic Club in New Orleans.

“Gentleman” Jim Corbett’s 21st-round knockout of long-reigning bare-knuckle champ John L. Sullivan, the “Boston Strongboy,” lifted a sport that previously had been existing on the fringes of respectable society, viewed either with marginal acceptance or as an outright criminal enterprise, as the harbinger of a new era that has not only existed but flourished to this very day. For historical purposes, let it be noted that Corbett’s upset of the favored Sullivan predated Mayweather’s 10th-round stoppage of McGregor by 125 years and 12 days.

The framework for Corbett-Sullivan was provided by the Marquess of Queensberry Rules, so named for an English lord named John Douglas, the ninth Marquess of Queensberry, but actually authored by a Welshman, John Graham Chambers, in 1865. Published in 1867, the Queensberry Rules’ mission was to make the “art of pugilism” less barbaric. No wrestling or “hugging” was to be allowed, with rounds to be of three minutes’ duration and one minute’s rest between rounds. “Fair-sized” padded gloves of the “best quality” were to be used, and a downed fighter who failed to arise and come to scratch within the allotted 10 seconds would be considered to have been knocked out. Said contests in all other respects were to be governed by revised rules of the London Prize Ring.

But America was still an evolving and largely frontier nation in 1865, the year the Civil War ended, and such niceties as the Queensberry Rules were seldom applied when two men came together to duke it out with balled fists for purses, side bets and the entertainment of fellow rowdies. Although it was not uncommon for individuals to be regarded as “world champions,” such titles were more the result of public acclamation than of being awarded by a widely recognized governing body. Jim Figg, who reigned from 1719 to 1730, is hailed as the first English bare-knuckle champ and was identified by no less an authority than Jack Dempsey, who came along 200 or so years later, as the “father of modern boxing,” a designation more than a few others have reserved for Corbett.

In any case, Sullivan, the son of Irish immigrants, was cast in the mold of classic tough guys who eschewed fancy steppin’ in favor of brute force. Loud, boisterous and fond of strong drink, he would make his presence known by striding into saloons and announcing that “I can lick any man in the house.” Few patrons were foolish enough to test themselves against the great man, but woe be unto those who chose to trade punches with the Strongboy.

The stocky, 5-foot-10 Sullivan has been described as America’s first athletic superstar and hero, and tales of his prowess eventually took on the trappings of legend. He won the bare-knuckle heavyweight championship with a ninth-round KO of Paddy Ryan in 1882 and he even donned gloves to win the Queensberry title with a six-round decision over Dominick McCaffrey in 1885. Most of his scraps, however, were gloveless and more primal, and he embellished his spreading reputation in old-fashioned slugfests with the formidable likes of Charlie Mitchell and Jake Kilrain.

But as John L. aged, he seemed content to rest on his laurels. He had not defended his title in three-plus years, making good money without having to throw or take a punch while touring in the stage production of a play called Honest Hearts, Willing Hands. He did keep his hand in boxing, in a manner of speaking, by engaging in several exhibitions, but he hadn’t participated in a real fight since July of 1889.

On the other side of the country, Corbett, a San Francisco resident and the personal and stylistic antithesis of Sullivan, was honing the kind of ring skills that hinged more on movement, defense and strategy. A bank teller and college-educated, he spoke proper English and had developed his own ardent following with victories over such notables as Kilrain and Joe Choynski, as well as a draw with Australia’s Peter Jackson, a 61-round test of endurance that lasted four hours. A groundswell for the long-inactive Sullivan to defend his title against Corbett – who turned pro in 1886 and had never been involved in a bare-knuckle fight — began to gain momentum.

As was the case with Sugar Ray Robinson, Mayweather and so many others who came to consider financial compensation for their services to be a reflection of their greatness, Sullivan said he would fight any contender for a winner-take-all purse of $25,000 plus a side bet of $10,000 put up by each man. The winner of Sullivan-Corbett thus would collect $45,000, a king’s ransom when you consider that $100 in 1892 dollars would be worth $2,541.10 in 2016. That meant a payout to the victor that was the equivalent of $1,143,495 in 1892, which might not seem like much to a profligate 21st-century spender like Mayweather, but consider this: the average annual income of U.S. workers in that time period ranged from $370.45 for coal miners to $493.20 for school teachers to $742.69 for plumbers. Also, the buildup for Sullivan-Corbett did not involve the Internet, satellite communications and television. Those who could not attend the fight in person had to make do with telegraph reports sent from the fight site to New York and then transmitted elsewhere around the country.

A momentary problem was that Corbett and his manager, William A. Brady, didn’t have the $10,000 side-bet fee. Corbett’s West Coast backers helped raise the cash in fairly quick order, however, and the fight was on. To appease Louisiana officials anxious to give the much-anticipated affair a veneer of gentlemanly propriety, it was announced the Queensberry Rules would be in effect. Although that stipulation clearly was beneficial to Corbett, Sullivan agreed to it because, hey, he knew he was the one who would come away even richer and more famous. To John L.’s way of thinking, all “Gentleman Jim” was apt to get were lumps, stitches and humiliation.

The big showdown was actually a rematch of sorts. The two had squared off in an exhibition at the Grand Opera House in San Francisco on June 26, 1891, when Sullivan was in town during a theatrical tour.  In a departure from his rough-hewn image, John L. decreed that the two men wear formal evening attire, which they did. The action, such as it was, did not remotely hint at the drama that would unfold 14½ months later.

The selection of New Orleans as the host city made sense, and in more ways than one. It was a city that was somewhat renowned as a fight site, beginning with the 1870 pairing of Jem Mace and Tom Allen, considered the first heavyweight prize fight. Not only that, but Sullivan-Corbett, fittingly labeled “The Battle of New Orleans,” was to be the capper of a three-day extravaganza of pugilism heralded as the “Carnival of Champions” from Sept. 5-7. The opening act saw undefeated lightweight Jack McAuliffe extend his winning streak against Billy Myer followed by featherweight titlist George Dixon, a black man, extending his six-year reign with a beatdown of Jack Skelly.

But those bouts were just meant to whet the public’s appetite for Sullivan-Corbett, with the rusty and apparently undertrained John L., a bit fleshy around the midsection at 212 pounds, 25 more than his lithe, perfectly coiffed challenger, nonetheless a 4-to-1 wagering favorite. Demand for tickets was such that event organizers erected temporary seating that raised capacity in the French Quarter facility from 3,500 to nearly 10,000, with ducats priced from $5 to $15, but scalped for much more.

The first two rounds saw Corbett, who did not throw a punch, retreating to the corners, which served the dual purpose of forcing Sullivan to chase him and slowly tire, and for the Californian to time and slip the loaded-up right hand that John L. had so frequently employed to starch a succession of previous victims. Whenever Sullivan let fly with that mighty right, however, it sailed through the empty space that had just been vacated by Corbett.

Even as the crowd grew restless at what many perceived as Corbett’s refusal to stand and fight, boxing as it had been was about to be radically changed forever, with liberal dashes of sweet science added to the standard recipe of pure slugging. In the third round, Corbett caught the bull-rushing champion with a big left of his own, breaking his nose, which bled profusely thereafter.

Corbett continued to stick and move, landing almost at will on an increasingly exhausted Sullivan until the 21st round when John L. twice was floored, and was counted out after the second by referee John Duffy, a local trainer, gym owner and manager with a pristine reputation for fairness.

As the teetotaling, superbly conditioned revolutionary who had just led boxing into a new and improved era, Corbett was celebrating his coronation with friends, family and supporters when the battered Sullivan, who would never fight again, graciously made an appearance at the party to congratulate the winner. The old champ, 33, then bade his farewells and reportedly went on an epic bender to drown his sorrows. A man of voracious appetites, he was 59, in ill health and destitute when he passed away on Feb. 2, 1918. He was a charter inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990, when a listed record of  40-1-2, with 34 KOs and one no-decision.

And Corbett? He also was a charter inductee into the IBHOF in 1990, but perhaps more so for his role for transforming his sport than for his achievements inside the ropes. He went just 2-4-1 in his seven post-Sullivan bouts, losing his heavyweight title to Bob Fitzsimmons on a 14th-round knockout on March 3, 1897, in Carson City, Nev. Corbett later lost twice to James J. Jeffries twice in bids to regain his title, retiring after the second defeat to finish 11-4-3 (5) with two no-contests.

But Corbett, who was 66 when he died on Feb. 18, 1933, no doubt would have been immensely pleased that his life story, the climax of which was his conquest of Sullivan (played by Ward Bond), was made into a 1942 film, Gentleman Jim, starring the dapper Errol Flynn in the title role. Mike Tyson has long said that that film is his favorite boxing movie.

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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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