Goldman’s Bloody Good Idea

By Mike Casey on March 20, 2013
Goldman’s Bloody Good Idea
“Jack Dempsey congratulated me for pulling the blood-smearing gag in order to win.”

Trainer Charley Goldman pulled many a rabbit out of the hat during his years of working the corner for more than a thousand fighters. The little genius, who reckoned he’d had more than 300 fights himself all told, was a master of quick thinking and very often had to be with some of his less talented students.

Goldman certainly pulled a masterstroke when he guided Kentucky heavyweight Walter Hafer to a highly unlikely win over Jo Weidin, a protégé of Jack Dempsey, at the Music Hall Arena in Cincinnati on October 18, 1948.

Hafer had a problem that never sits too well with a fighter—he wasn’t all that keen on fighting. After five rounds, he had been decked twice by Weidin and wasn’t enthusiastic about coming up for the sixth. It was time for a pep talk from Goldman.

Charley threw in all the old motivators as he tried to fire up some passion in the lethargic Hafer: “You gotta win this fight, see? Not only is your wife and mom in the arena watching you, but your hillbilly friends who put a wad on you to win. You simply gotta grab the duke!”

Charley should have attached a few more weights to Hafer’s untroubled conscience, because Walter continued to box like a man who was looking for the exit. But he got lucky in the eighth when he cut Weidin’s face. The wheels starting turning in Goldman’s inventive mind. Maybe his boy Walter could still pull it off. Charley motioned to one of his guys and got him to carry a message to Hafer’s fans in the audience. They were given instructions to shout something in unison and shout it loudly when the time came.

Hafer trudged back to his corner and slumped down on his stool, still uninspired. It was apparent to Goldman that Weidin’s blood hadn’t aroused a Great White Shark in Walter.

Charley had already arranged the second part of a two-prong plan, but part one was Walter’s requirement to activate it. A final pep talk from Goldman. He had tried mom, the wife and Hafer’s many friends. Now it was time to threaten the kid with the wrath of his manager.

“Walter, I’m gonna tell you something I didn’t feel I had a right to reveal to you. Now I feel I gotta tell you – and it’s this: your manager wired me before the fight that he bet the entire purse that you’d win. Blow the duke an’ you lose his dough as well as your own. Now listen, when you go out for the ninth, re-open Weidin’s cut and smear his face with his own blood.”

Boy oh boy, did Walter come to life. Jabbing and hooking purposefully, he brought the blood oozing from Jo Weidin’s cut. Hafer then made a real old mess of Weidin’s face in the clinches, smearing the blood as creatively as possible. Poor Jo suddenly looked as if he’d been slashed to ribbons in a back alley brawl.

Right on cue, Walter Hafer’s friends, with enormous compassion of course, began yelling at the referee to stop the fight. The grand ruse worked and Walter Hafer got himself a TKO victory.

Little Charley Goldman was quite obviously proud of his work. “I ain’t sure exactly what prompted the timid fighter to do as I instructed,” he said. “Maybe he didn’t want to be shamed in the presence of his wife an’ mother. Maybe he feared his hillbilly friends. Could be he was anxious to save his manager’s and his own bankroll, which – in truth – was entirely safe. Anyway, my scheming brought home the bacon – because the yelling of, ‘Stop the fight!’ influenced the referee to do exactly that.”

Even Jack Dempsey saw the funny side of his boy’s defeat. “Dempsey congratulated me for pulling the blood-smearing gag in order to win,” said Goldman. “But his partner, Max Waxman, was so burnt up he wouldn’t talk to me for months.”

Perhaps Max Waxman’s anger was partially sated when Walter Hafer and Jo Weidin met again three months later. Weidin won a unanimous decision.

Hey, come on. We didn’t pretend this was The Waltons.

Mike Casey is a writer and Founder & Editor of ALL TIME BOXING at He is a freelance journalist and boxing historian and a member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO).

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  1. Andy Goldman 06:40pm, 07/02/2013

    Thanks for the great article on my favorite uncle.

  2. Mike Silver 07:12pm, 03/20/2013

    I would not be surprised to find out that the character of “Yoda”, the 1000 year old Jedi master in the Star War movies, was based on Charley.

  3. Tex Hassler 06:36pm, 03/20/2013

    Men with Charley Goldman’s skill are not to be found today. The great trainers have just about all past off the scene. Goldman helped make Marciano great. Without Charley we might have never heard of Marciano.

  4. Mike Casey 08:44am, 03/20/2013

    Great memories, Ray!

  5. Ray Mac 08:38am, 03/20/2013

    I was fortunate enough to meet Charlie Goldman a few times. Charlie would stop by the “New Garden Gym” across the street from the then new Madison Square Garden, and say hello to old friends. This was in the fall of 1968 shortly before Charlie died. And he was still wearing his trademark derby hat.

  6. Clarence George 04:37am, 03/20/2013

    Indeed he was.

    A.J. Liebling referred to him as one of his “explainers,” and he couldn’t have asked for much better.

  7. Mike Casey 04:30am, 03/20/2013

    He was an old rascal, Clarence!

  8. Clarence George 04:25am, 03/20/2013

    Ha!  Great history outstandingly conveyed.  Thanks, Mike!

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