Al Ettore and the Missing Round

By Clarence George on May 28, 2014
Al Ettore and the Missing Round
Al claimed that the television broadcasts of the Louis fight were an invasion of his privacy.

“He feels like a heel, he really feels bad; he wanted them to see that he could fight; but on the television they saw nothing; he was really a bum on television…”

“Lawsuit: A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.”—Ambrose Bierce

Heavyweight Al Ettore fought from 1930 to 1939 (62-17-4, 20 KOs), winning 39 before finally losing to Abe Feldman on points at Madison Square Garden on January 19, 1934. He took on the toughest hombres of his time, including Pete Latzo, Jim Braddock, Unknown Winston, Willie Reddish, Ad Wiater, Tommy Loughran, Eddie Simms, Leroy Haynes, Jersey Joe Walcott, Steve Dudas, Arturo Godoy, John Henry Lewis, Freddie Fiducia, Gus Dorazio, Bob Pastor, Jimmy Adamick, Matt Raymond, Johnny Paychek, and Maxie Rosenbloom.

At the Velodrome in Nutley, New Jersey, on July 27, 1937, Ettore was deboned by Tony Galento, who in the eighth round twice knocked his opponent “clean out of the ring,” as the New York Times reported, thus winning one of the most delightfully savage and exciting heavyweight matches in the history of the Sweet Science. But Al is best remembered for his bout with the great Joe Louis at Philly’s Municipal Stadium on September 22, 1936.

Louis won, of course, by fifth-round KO. But…what happened in the third round? No, what happened to the third round?

In the 1950s, Al Ettore sued both Philco Television Broadcasting Corporation and sponsor Chesebrough Manufacturing Company for $200,000. Al claimed that the December 30, 1949, and December 8, 1950, television broadcasts of the Louis fight were an invasion of his privacy. Worse, that not televising the third round damaged his reputation, caused him public embarrassment and humiliation, and that fight commentator Jim Stevenson’s “There’s the end of round 2. In the 3rd round Louis just paces himself. Not too much action. And here we are in round 4.” gave TV viewers an inaccurate and uncomplimentary idea of his performance.

Said Al’s legal team, “The plaintiff will offer testimony that the 3rd round was his outstanding round, and that he won the 3rd round. The plaintiff will offer further testimony that at the time of the telecast plaintiff told his friends to watch for the 3rd round, which was his outstanding round; that he felt embarrassed after the fight, because the 3rd round was not shown; that it is something he cannot forget about; that he feels like a heel, that he really feels bad; that he wanted them to see that he could fight; but on the television they saw nothing; he was really a bum on television. The next day he went to work at his father’s saloon, and the people there derided him, stating, ‘What was the matter with the 3rd round? Did you lick that boy?’ (Meaning Louis) ‘Is that why they didn’t show that?’ Which left the witness unable to say anything, and the plaintiff will further testify that he really fought pretty good, but after the television show he was shown as ‘a bum’; that his friends refused to believe what he had told them and regarded him as a liar and braggart; that as a result of this the plaintiff was humiliated, embarrassed, and pretty well ‘burned up.’”

Ettore was unsuccessful in his colorfully phrased lawsuit, the judge rather brutally pointing out that he “displayed no more ability and skill as a fighter in round 3 than he did in any other round of the fight.”

But imagine the precedent if he’d been successful. Why, Adrien Broner would argue that showing the second and eighth rounds of the Marcos Maidana fight would be uno scandalo assoluto! “Your Honor, think of the faith and morals of our women and children, the widows and orphans, our venerable elders. Would Your Honor have some cherub-cheeked boy in beanie, plus-fours, and argyles pulling at my pant leg with a ‘Say it ain’t so, Adrien. Say it ain’t so’? Nay, I say! A thousand times…nay.”

Cue curtain.

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  1. Clarence George 07:02pm, 05/29/2014

    Couldn’t agree more, Irish—Louis had the ideal build for a fighter, including for a heavyweight.

  2. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:52pm, 05/29/2014

    Take a gander at the photo above…..aside from the fact that Joe had a damn perfect physique for a fighter…..he had one other thing going for him in those deep dark Great Depression/Jim Crow days of yore…..could his skin have been any lighter?....My guess is that if he shared the same skin tone as Jack Johnson he wouldn’t have been beloved by the masses nearly as much….great disposition….gentlemanly/mature/modest demeanor….. and all.

  3. Clarence George 01:07pm, 05/28/2014

    My mistake.  I’m right about the French, but I meant to say, “which includes Spaniards and Italians,” because it’s the Eyeties rather than the Frogs (oops!) who pertain to the point raised.

  4. Clarence George 12:56pm, 05/28/2014

    Thank you, Irish.  And, as you know, I share your admiration for Goldwyn and loathing for all things PC.  Ah, for a return to the days when Jimmy McLarnin was known, alternatively, as “The Murderous Mick” and “The Hebrew Scourge,” and without a “gasp!” or “eek!” in earshot.

    Speaking of gold mines, another excellent post, ch.  You bring to mind commenter Beaujack, whose outstanding posts are much missed.  Anyway, glad you liked it.

    I think “Latin” in this context refers to speakers of the Romance languages, which includes Spaniards and the French.  By the way, I’m particularly annoyed by “Native American.”  Not only inaccurate, as Indians originally came from Asia and elsewhere, but also a prime example of Norman Lear paternalism.  Most Indians prefer “American Indian” to “Native American,” but “we” know what’s best for these red-skinned children, don’t we?

  5. Eric 12:15pm, 05/28/2014

    The PC wordsmiths decided to make Latin equivalent to or synonomus with “hispanic.”  Really don’t see a whole helluva lot of similarities in Italian and Puerto Rican culture.

  6. ch. 10:51am, 05/28/2014

    Funny thing, I have tens of thousands of news clips on boxing and before 1960, Italian boxers were often referred to as Latins (after all they are the true and original Latins) : Midget Wolgast -“The latin half pint;” Lew Massey - “the downtown latin;”  Tony Falco - “the latin sheik;. Canzoneri, Mandell, Graziano, Marciano, Pep, etc. often were described as “Latin.”
    That all being said, thanks again Clarence for bringing attention to a real rough and tough, son of immigrants, and man of the depression, who took on all comers and ducked nobody (black or white).

  7. Ted 10:43am, 05/28/2014

    Eric, all I can say is tee hee to that loop earing thang!

  8. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:25am, 05/28/2014

    Clarence George-You are mining gold here….Ettore introduced as “the pride of the Latin race”.....circa 1936…..eons before the advent of all this PC bullshit which has led to the current Fascist thought control…..which reminds me….“Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.” (Samuel Goldwyn)....not a PC bone in his body.

  9. Eric 09:44am, 05/28/2014

    Nah. I’m probably just making excuses for myself for not wanting to be a modern man. I hate change, but I’m a classic liberal and not the manufactured fascist neo-liberal of today, so I’m live and let live. More power to you, sir. But, like Leary said, if you’re fifty-two years old and wearing a hoop ear ring, you had better be a pirate.

  10. Thresher 09:31am, 05/28/2014

    Eric, are you calling me a 76 (almost 77) douchbag? If so, I resemble that comment.

  11. Eric 09:28am, 05/28/2014

    Being 52 years old, well at least until July when I’ll be 53, I adhere to comedian Denis Leary’s advice given in his 50 year old douchebag skit. Leary advised anyone that was 52 and using Facebook, to log off the f*cking planet. teehee. Not big on Denis Leary but his skit about 35 & 50 year old douchebags is pretty funny.

  12. Ted 09:03am, 05/28/2014

    But Facebook now gives us a chance to show our shining moments.

  13. Eric 08:50am, 05/28/2014

    Doesn’t this happen to all us mortals? Our shining moments are rarely noticed or at least pretended not to be noticed, but our less than perfect perfomances are magnified. Makes me think of that 80’s tune, “Dirty Laundry” and the recent “first pitch” thrown by the (c)rapper, “Fitty Cent.” My gawd, that was awful. “Fitty” just lost about fitty cool points on his street cred with that throw. I think it was Ken Kesey who said something along the lines of he couldn’t figure out why people loved to tear other people down because no one was that big in the first place.

  14. Ted 08:44am, 05/28/2014

    The crazed Ettore, though near the end of his long career, had wins over Gus Dorazio, John Henry Lewis, and an eight round KO of Jersey Joe Walcott. Incredibly, he also won a DQ from James J. Braddock in 1933 when the “Cinderella Man” was disqualified for “not trying.” But Johnny Paycheck canceled his check,

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