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Marvin Hagler’s Legendary Career Was Largely Forged in Crucible of Philadelphia

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It would be technically incorrect to state that it all began for Marvelous Marvin Hagler during his frequent working visits to Philadelphia in the mid- to late-1970s. Hagler, arguably the best middleweight champion of all time (his name absolutely belongs in that discussion) turned pro on May 18, 1973, with a second-round knockout of Terry Ryan in a high school gym in the future superstar’s adopted hometown of Brockton, Mass. The southpaw slugger reportedly was paid just $50 for that bout, an insulting pittance for someone who had gone 55-1 as an amateur and had won the ’73 U.S. national championship.

Why didn’t Hagler, who was 66 when he unexpectedly passed away Saturday at his home in New Hampshire, delay his professional debut until after the 1976 Olympics, where he conceivably could have won a gold medal and, possibly, the immediate high visibility and generous early paydays that went to future nemesis Sugar Ray Leonard, the brightest American ring light at those Montreal Games? Hey, hanging around three years before he could cash checks for his boxing prowess was deemed too long a wait for someone who had grown up poor in the ghettos of Newark, N.J., the oldest child in a fatherless family of seven. Hagler figured it would take some time to work his way up the ladder and the kind of recognition his talent had always hinted at, but the process proved to be more laborious than he and co-managers Goody and Pat Petronelli could have imagined.

To say Hagler — who relocated in his late teens to Brockton, the hometown of legendary heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano — was avoided in the formative stages of his pro career is an understatement. He not only was really good, but a lefty to boot, so getting the kind of fights he needed to draw more attention to himself, in addition to honing his overall skill-set, proved to be an ongoing challenge.

The Petronellis found just such a crucible for Hagler’s refinement at the Spectrum in Philly, where their guy would fight five times, going just 3-2 with points losses to Willie “The Worm” Monroe and Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts.

“We knew if Marvin was going to develop into a champion, he had to go outside New England to fight,” Goody Petronelli told me in August 1991. “We went to Seattle and he got a draw with Sugar Ray Seales (a gold medalist at the 1972 Munich Olympics), but other than that he was 25-0 going into 1976 when we went down to Philadelphia to fight Bobby `Boogaloo’ Watts.

“When we got there, I remember the Spectrum promoter, Russell Peltz, telling me, `Guys from Boston can’t fight.’ But I looked Russell in the eye and I said, `This one can.’”

Goody, who was 88 when he died on Jan. 29, 2012 (he was preceded in death by Pat, who was 89 when he passed away on Sept. 10, 2011), said Philadelphia’s deep roster of tough, world-rated middleweights – Hagler swapped punches with Eugene “Cyclone” Hart and Bennie Briscoe, in addition to Monroe and Watts – was instrumental in helping their guy step up to the next level, at which he would remain for the remainder of his pro career, retiring with a 62-3-2 record following a controversial, split-decision defeat to Sugar Ray Leonard on April 6, 1987.

“All those Philadelphia fighters were tough,” Goody said. “We fought `The Iron’ down there. I called them `The Iron’ because they were as tough as iron. Whenever we fought one of ’em down there, I’d use the others as sparring partners.”

Goody Petronelli returned to the renamed First Union Spectrum on June 20, 2003, when another of his fighters, Ian Gardner, fought Dhafir Smith, from the Philadelphia suburb of Upper Darby. It was sort of like old times, except for the fact that Gardner, a middleweight, southpaw and with a shaved skull, only resembled Hagler before the opening bell rang, even though he did come away with an eight-round, unanimous-decision victory.

“You know what, it brought back memories, being here again,” Goody said, waxing nostalgic. “We had some wars down here with Marvin.”

Unlike certain fighters, who need someone to blame when they lose, discarding trainers, managers and promoters as if they were yesterday’s newspaper, Hagler remained fiercely loyal to the brothers Petronelli, who stood by him when it was still a bit questionable that he would fulfill the glorious destiny that eventually came to be his.

In a 1980 story that appeared in the Boston Globe, Hagler explained why he never considered leaving Goody and Pat for higher-profile or better-connected handlers.

“I didn’t trust anybody,” he said in recalling his financially desperate introduction to the pro ranks. “I had a dollar in my pocket and I kept it to myself. Goody and Pat amazed me. We’d go out to lunch and they’d say, `Keep your dollar. This is on us.’

“I’d think they were going to take it out of my paycheck and the end of the week (Hagler made ends meet in the interim by working as a swimming pool installer and roofer). But they didn’t. They said, `Marvin, when you make it big you can pay us back.’”

It is almost inconceivable given today’s accelerated path to the top for a few select fighters who get world title shots with a dozen or fewer bouts, but Marvelous Marvin – he legally added “Marvelous,” which previously had been only a nickname, in 1982 – had to wait until his 50th pro outing before he got such an opportunity against reigning WBC/WBA middleweight titlist Vito Antuofermo at the Caesars Palace Sports Pavilion. The split draw that enabled Antuofermo to retain his championship was widely derided, and left Hagler with a deep-seated suspicion of Las Vegas judges that was never more apparent than in the outrage he expressed in the aftermath of his setback to Leonard.

Hagler got another crack at the big prize on Sept. 27, 1980, when, in his 54th pro bout, he traveled to London to challenge the man who had dethroned Antuofermo, Alan Minter of England, in Wembley Stadium. There would be no pilferage by pencil this time as Hagler stopped Minter in three rounds, but the occasion was marred when unruly Minter fans began hurling objects into the ring.

Once anointed as the king of the 160-pounders, Hagler settled in for a long and productive stay upon the throne, logging 12 successful defenses. He went through most of the division like a scythe in tall grass, scoring wins inside the distance against Fulgencio Obelmejias, Antuofermo, Mustafa Hamsho, Caveman Lee, Tony Sibson and Wilford Scypion. But not every fight with his belt on the line was a walk through the park; his three-round war with Thomas Hearns has been called “the greatest seven minutes in boxing history,” and he also was extended in matches with Roberto Duran, Juan Domingo Roldan, John “The Beast” Mugabi and Hamsho (rematch).

The last time around for Hagler, although no one could have known it then, was the much-anticipated showdown with Leonard, who was on the plus end of the official scorecards submitted by JoJo Guerra (an almost-incomprehensible 118-110) and Dave Moretti (115-113) while Lou Filippo had Hagler up by 115-113.

At the postfight press conference, a bitterly disappointed Hagler complained that Leonard had fought like “a sissy” and “a girl,” while depicting himself as the aggressor, constantly stalking a fleeing opponent who couldn’t and didn’t hurt him, and whose only goal was survival.

“I put pressure on him, I took his best shots,” Hagler said. “If it wasn’t for me putting pressure on him, he wouldn’t have fought. He would have laid back. The man was dead on his feet, he was tired. I had to pressure him.

“I’ve never seen, for a championship fight, a split decision where the other guy (challenger) wins the fight. That’s not right. If it’s a split decision, it should go to the champion. I think he would have to beat me more decisively – knock me down, beat me real bad, in order to take the title away. And he didn’t do that.

“I still feel as though I’m the champion. I fought my heart out to keep my belt. It’s just not right. I think I’ve done a lot for boxing. I’ve been a true champion to the sport. It just puts a bitter taste in my mouth, the way they went and did this.”

Although a rematch seemed to be in order, it never came to be and Hagler opted to retire, seemingly with a fair amount of tread on his tires at the age of 32. He never yielded to the temptation to return, if indeed he ever felt such an urge, and thus joined the likes of Marciano, Michael Spinks and Lennox Lewis as elite fighters who stepped away from the ring and never came back.

Hagler found a degree of satisfaction in the next phase of his life upon moving to Milan, Italy, and becoming an actor, before moving back to the United States. He was the Boxing Writers Association of America’s Fighter of the Year in 1983 and ’85, and also was named Fighter of the Decade in the 1980s by Boxing Illustrated. A 1993 inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993, he drew crowds of adoring fans for public appearances where he was always gracious and accommodating.

He even was able to mend some bridges with Leonard, whom he blamed for resisting all overtures for the do-over that never happened.

“Hagler didn’t want to be around me for a while, which I understand,” Sugar Ray told me on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of their fight, in 2007. “But when we see each other now, we’re cordial. I was in Vegas for Oscar (De La Hoya) and Felix (Trinidad). Marvin was there. He asked to see me. We shook hands and spoke.

“After the fight, which Oscar lost, I saw Marvin the next morning before I went to the airport. I said, `Can you believe that decision? No way Oscar lost.’ He said, `Yeah, I believe it. It happened to me.’”

And now Marvin is gone, too soon, but at least he took his leave from this mortal coil on the night that two gallant smaller fighters, Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, engaged in what no doubt will be remembered as one of the best bouts of 2021. You have to figure the Marvelous One would find that to be an appropriate way to cross over to a celestial destination where great champions such as he presumably shall forever reign.

Here on earth, Hagler’s passing figures to again spark old and familiar debates regarding his place among the middleweights’ all-time greats, an exclusive club whose members include Harry Greb, Sugar Ray Robinson, Carlos Monzon, Bernard Hopkins and maybe a couple of others who merit consideration.

Hagler’s second wife, Kay, confirmed her husband’s death on social media. Marvin Hagler was a father of five children with his first wife, Bertha, and was also the half-brother of former middleweight contender Robbie Sims.

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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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