Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Al "Bummy" Davis

As long as we are on the boxing thread here's a slide show from July of 2007 that I never posted. A fascinating story about the boxer Al "Bummy" Davis called Bummy Davis vs. Murder Inc. by Ron Ross Davis' real name was Davidoff and he lived in Brownsville amongst the likes of the Murder Inc crew of Lepke, Reles, Strauss, and Goldstein. I'm sure some of the KV fathers who grew up nearby like Moe Nathanson and Jack Karney knew about these bad boys and knew enough to avoid them.
A review:
Ron Ross' dazzlingly descriptive biographical novel does a wonderful job in the recreation of the Brooklyn Jewish ghetto of Brownsville during the throes of the Great Depression. Ross exhaustively researched his material to give us a feel for the sights, sounds, smells of the crowded, sometimes squalid tenement that Brownsville was, complete with Yiddish expressions and verbiage common for the time.
Brownsville spawned both Murder Inc., the Jewish Mafia, and Albert Abraham Davidoff, better known as Bummy Davis, a dynamic lightweight boxing contender with a thunderous left hook. Murder Inc. was headed by Louis "Lepke" Buchalter. He used local Jewish thugs such Abe "Kid Twist" Reles, "Pittsburgh Phil" Strauss and "Buggsy" Goldstein to enforce policies
of protection, loan sharking, extortion, prostitution, and bootlegging. They terrorized the community using murder to keep everyone in line.
Davis, whose dad was a local merchant, had an older brother Willie who was a Lepke henchman. Davis who was a loyal, thoughtful, industrious and respectful guy, could never shake a negative image brought about by the exploits of his brother. After working as a fruit peddlar from a pushcart at the tender age of 10, he soon discovered that his fighting skills learned on the streets could be honed into productive boxing skills.
He turned professional at 16 lying about his age and became a money making prize fighter with exceptional skills. He used his money to buy his parents a home and refused to be controlled by the mobsters in cohoots with Murder Inc.
The story goes on to chronicle both the rise anf fall of the Brownsville Jewish mafia. Unfortunately the storied life of Bummy Davis was also abbreviated. At the tender age of 25 having retired from boxing due to the rampant corruption and prejudices that existed and about to begin a new career, he was gunned down in a bar room stick up trying to protect his friends.

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