|In June 1928 A.R. placed his hand upon a bible, swore to
tell the truth, and proceeded to perjure himself: "I don't
bet on football or boxing."
He didn't lie about football. Football made him
uncomfortable. Twenty-two men running around in a
dozen different directions. Too many variables; too much
to fix. But A.R. lied about boxing. In his crowd, boxers
were everywhere. Everyone followed boxing. Everyone
bet on boxing.
Boxing meant big money. Not for everyone, but certainly
to A.R. and his political friends, people who protected
you and made things happen or not happen. Boxing was
an enterprise the law often frowned on, and when that
happened those making or enforcing the law often grew
rich—especially in Tammany's New York.
He ran a saloon on 14th
Street, between 3rd & 4th
Avenues, that figured in
the Herman "Beansie"
Before Sharkey ran the
joint it was Sunny's, and
Rothstein gambled there
as a youth.
"The Ghetto Wizard"
A.R. had 10% of his
|Abe "The Little Champ" |
accomplice in fixing the
1919 World Series. Did
he work with Rothstein
to fix the first Dempsey-
|Jack "The Manassa |
Mauler" Dempsey in
sharply questioned Abe
Attell and Arnold
Rothstein's role in his
first loss to Tunney. A.R.
bet $125,000 on the
underdog Tunney in the
fight and won $500,000.
|Billy Gibson, Gene |
Jack Dempsey's Open Letter to Gene Tunney
The following appeared in the September 19, 1927 Chicago
Herald and Examiner:
As the story comes to me, Attell went to see you in your camp
at Stroudsburg. After a lengthy conference with you he raced
back to Philadelphia with your pure and innocent manager, Billy
Gibson. And then Attell hurried along and had a meeting with
["Boo Boo" ] Hoff.
As I understand it, Hoff is something of a political power in
Philadelphia. He is supposed to be a rather mighty figure in
boxing affairs, and the old saying goes that "Whatever "Boo
Boo" wants" well, that's what 'Boo Boo' gets."
Attell, the tool for the gambling clique; "Boo Boo" Hoff, the
political and boxing power in Philadelphia, and Gibson, your
manager, had various meetings, all secret. And then you
arrived in Philadelphia for the next chapter in the story finds you
in a meeting with Hoff and Gibson--one that lasted until about 6
on the fight night.
Since then I learned that some sort of written contract was
entered into involving Hoff, Gibson and yourself. Stories about it
differ considerably. But the document itself has been made
public. It strikes me as a strange document--one that puzzles
the public as it puzzles me, and it is one that I think should be
The contract stated, in substance, that Gibson borrowed
$20,000 from Hoff and that Gibson agreed to pay back the
$20,000 and nothing elseâ€”if you did not win the fight. But it
contains a peculiar clause to the effect that if you won the fight
Gibson was to pay back Hoff the $20,000 and, as a sort of
bonus or something like that, that you were to give Hoff 20
percent of all your earnings as champion. You signed as a party
to the agreement.
Can't we all have a little explanation about this?
You knew that if you won the title it would be worth at least
$1,000,000 to you. Why were you agreeable to paying Hoff
approximately $200,000 bonus for a loan of $20,000? What
could Hoff do to help you on to victory that would be worth
Arnold Rothstein's Boxing Chronology
1884 — Abe Attell born in San Francisco (Feb. 22).
1893 — Max "Boo Boo" Hoff born in Philadelphia.
1900 — Abe Attell's first pro fight, beats Kid Lennett (Aug. 19).
1901 — Abe Attell defeats George Dixon in 15-round
decision, claims featherweight title (Oct. 28).
1904 —Travels to Saratoga Springs, NY with Abe Attell;
1908 — Atell defeats Tommy Sullivan, becomes undisputed
featherweight champion (Apr. 30).
1909 — Monte Attell (Abe's brother) wins the bantamweight
1912 — Attell loses title to Johnny Kilbane (Feb. 22).
1914 — Willie Ritchie loses lightweight crown to Freddie
Welsh in London (July 7).
1917 — Attell's last fight (Jan. 8).
1919 — Fixes 1919 World Series with Abe Attell
1920 — Benny Leonard defeats Ritchie Mitchell in NYC, after
predicted first-round knockout to A.R. (Jan 14).
— Rothstein helps Abe Attell escape justice in Black Sox
—Former Mrs. Abe Attell arrested for $1,477,000 NYC Bond
1921 — Abe Attell and E. M. Tausend (formerly of I. Miller)
open the Ming Toy Bootery on Broadway above 51st Street.
1922 - Gasoline-soaked rags found at stairwell of Ming Toy
— Ming Toy Bootery bankrupt (July)
— Dempsey-Firpo heavyweight fight; A.R. helps Lucky
Luciano select a new wardrobe for the event (Sept. 14).
1923 — Gene Tunney loses to Harry Greb; Abe Attell in
Tunney's corner (May)
1924 — Harry Greb-Mickey "The Toy Bulldog" Walker fight
1925 — Boo Boo Hoff lends $20,000 to Billy Gibson and
Gene Tunney for 20% share of Tunney.
— Presence ringside at first Dempsey-Tunney fight causes
controversy; wins $500,000 (Sept. 23).
— Mickey Walker-Dave Shade fight at Yankee Stadium; A.R.
wins $80,000 on Walker (Sept).
— Harry Greb dies following eye surgery (Oct. 20).
— Attell investigated in matter of Peacock Club on 147 W.
48th Street (Nov.).
1926 — First Jack Dempsey-Gene Tunney fight, at
Philadelphia; A.R. wins $500,000 in Tunney upset (Sept. 23)
1927 — Dempsey questions Hoff loan to Gibson and Tunney
— Dempsey-Tunney rematch at Soldier Field Chicago, the
"Long Count" (September 22).
1928 — Tex Rickard predicts Rothstein's murder.
1929 — Tex Rickard dies of appendicitis (Jan 6)
1941 — Boo Boo Hoff dies broke in West Philadelphia.
1970 — Abe Attell dies at New Paltz, New York (Feb. 6).
1978 — Gene Tunney dies at Greenwich, Connecticut (Nov. 7)
1983 —Jack Dempsey dies in New York City (May 31).