Dream a Little Dream of…Boxing

By Clarence George on March 14, 2013
Dream a Little Dream of…Boxing
Did Bummy lose to Beau Jack, Henry Armstrong, and Rocky Graziano? Yes, yes, and yes.

The Sweet Science haunts my dreams.

A man and a woman were standing on a platform, waiting for a train. They didn’t strike me as a couple and I stood between them. We boarded and sat together. The side of the train facing us was open and we had an unobstructed view. The woman, who bore a remarkable resemblance to a middle-aged Julie Andrews, turned and asked if I knew of Al Bummy Davis’ twin brother. His name, too, was Al. Startled by this bit of unknown boxing lore, I answered in the negative.

“You know he was killed in the street outside a bar,” said Miss Andrews. (I won’t say “Ms.”—I’m not a lethargic bee.) I knew of Al’s sad fate, but I didn’t know of…Al’s.

Davis died in November 1945. He was in the notorious Brownsville section of Brooklyn, sitting at a bar he had previously owned, when four armed men walked in. Davis knocked one down before being shot three times. He ran after the others, but was shot a fourth and fatal time. He was just 25.

“That’s what happened to Bummy,” I said to Miss Andrews. “Are you telling me that’s what happened to…Bummy? Was his nickname also Bummy, by the way?”

“Yes,” she said. “And yes.”

Dreams are inherently weird, but this was rapidly devolving into an Abbot and Costello routine.

Knowing full well I’d regret my question, I asked Miss Andrews if…Bummy had also fought primarily at welterweight. Yes. Did he win his first 37 bouts in just two years, 22 by stoppage? He did. But I knew I had her. Was…Bummy also the only man to stop Tony Canzoneri? Was he, too, Canzoneri’s last opponent?

“No,” she said. Aha! “Well, in a way,” she said. “Al was the only one to knock him out, but Canzoneri fought him last.” Huh? Who are you all of a sudden, Gracie Allen?

Did…Al knock out Bob Montgomery in the first round? Yes. What about losses? Did his first loss come at the hands of Lou Ambers? Yes. Did he lose to Beau Jack, Henry Armstrong, and Rocky Graziano? Yes, yes, and yes. What about Fritzie Zivic? Did…Al lose to him? Yes. How many times? Twice.

Any difference whatsoever—I don’t care how minute, how insignificant—between Al and…Al?

“Al has been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame,” Miss Andrews said.

“Al hasn’t.”

“Al has.”

The train pulled into La Cremaillere (a fancy French restaurant that’s in New York or Connecticut, depending on whom you ask). A waiter handed me ice water. Another hurried over and poured hot water into my glass.

Quel luxe,” I smugly observed to Miss Andrews. “They want the water to be exactly the right temperature.”

“Not the water,” she sniffily observed. “The glass. They don’t want it too cold to the touch.”

Crestfallen, I drank deeply. I woke up, of course having to go to the bathroom.

No disrespect to Julie Andrews, but her story of the identically named Davis twins was preposterous. I wouldn’t have minded so much if my travel companion had been Brooklyn-accented Barbara Nichols, delectably clad as 21 Club cigarette girl Rita in Sweet Smell of Success. In fact, I wouldn’t have minded at all.

Memo to unconscious…

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  1. Clarence George 09:12am, 03/14/2013

    Thank you, Mike C.

    No kids, thank goodness, but why even Julie Andrews?  Just as well, I suppose.  If Barbara Nichols had shown up instead, I wouldn’t have paid the slightest attention to whatever she’d have had to say about Bummy Davis.  And then there would have been no article!  Well, there’s always tonight…

  2. Mike Casey 09:04am, 03/14/2013

    Nicely done, Clarence! At least Julie didn’t bring those irritating Von Trapp kids with her!

  3. Mike Schmidt 09:00am, 03/14/2013

    I am dreaming of Julie Newmar and The Golddiggers and our Fearless Editor is dreaming about booze and Hopkins in the middle of a dance floor—What the fook… okay, okay, I am liberal minded but I gotta tell you Sir Robert, Hopkins ain’t drinking booze or dancing with you—how does the dream end—does he hit you in the kidney and kaynock you out!

  4. Clarence George 08:43am, 03/14/2013

    Glad you liked it, Mike.

    Ah, Julie Newmar.  I also liked Eartha Kitt as Catwoman.  She once sang “Happy Birthday” to me.  I’d love to write about it, but as there was no boxing connection…

    Thank you, Robert, for allowing me to share this adventure from the id.  I don’t even want tho think what the Freudian interpretation would be.  And thank you for sharing your own dream, which I found terribly amusing.  Incongruous as it seems, I can absolutely picture Hopkins making reference to Gauloises and absinthe.

  5. Robert Ecksel 08:12am, 03/14/2013

    Clarence asked me this morning if we publish boxing dreams. I wrote “Why not?” and told him I have several boxing dreams each week. For example, last night I dreamed of Bernard Hopkins. We were at a gathering in a funky social club, like something out of a John Gotti biopic. A dozen people were present. There were folding chairs and tables covered with paper tablecloths. Junk food and diet sodas were on the tables. Hopkins and I were standing in the middle of a small dance floor. A blinking jukebox was off to the side. With a smirk on his face, Hopkins leaned toward me and said, “Still smoking those Gauloises and drinking that absinthe, are we?”

  6. Mike Schmidt 07:45am, 03/14/2013

    GREAT STUFF—and here I am having a dream about the Goldidggers from the Dean Martin TV show and Julie Newmar (again) as Cat Women from the 1966-ish Batman TV show and you gotta get into this…..out of the box and great stuff.

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