The More Things Change

By Joe Bruno on February 9, 2014
The More Things Change
Joe Bruno awards Marvelous Marvin Hagler the BWAA Fighter of the Year Award in 1985.

I was a member of Boxing Writers Association of America from 1979-90, and I was its Vice President from 1882-1986. The conflict of interest Ted Sares wrote about Tom Hauser is certainly nothing new.

In the early 1980s we had Rich Rose and Irving Rudd as full-time voting members. They both worked for Bob Arum. Then we had Murray Goodman and Bobby Goodman. They worked for Don King. The treasurer was New York State Athletic Commission member Marvin Kohn, and the secretary was Tommy Kenville, who worked for Madison Square Garden.

All of these men mentioned above, except Kohn, who was a publicist before, worked in the public relations department for their bosses.

There were also several other members who were freelance publicists. The famed Harold Conrad comes to mind. If I remember correctly, about half of our 50 odd members actually wrote about the sport of boxing.

I complained constantly that the publicists should not be able to vote for our yearly awards, and certainly should not able to make nominations. I was ignored, and we constantly had men like Goodman and Rudd nominate fighters, whom their bosses promoted, for awards.

And oh yes, I knew Tom Hauser. I found him to be condescending and a person who went out of his way to not be friendly.

So in summation, you’re banging your head against a stone wall trying the make the BWAA an honorable organization. Because of their perpetual conflicts of interest, this is an impossibility.

Like I said up top, the more things change…the more they remain the same.

Joe Bruno is the author of 17 books, including “Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps – Volumes 1-5” and “Whitey Bulger – The Biggest Rat.” Joe Bruno’s Amazon Author Page can here seen here. Also visit his blog, “Joe Bruno on the Mob.”

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  1. Joe Bruno 01:04pm, 03/03/2014

    Doc, I’m shocked Art Rust is not in the Boxing Hall of Fame. I knew him since the mid 70’s. He was a good friend and a great man.

  2. Doc Stanley 12:17pm, 03/03/2014

    It seems Barney was loved. when the likes of yourself and my beloved GOD-Father,the late esteemed,John Francis Xavier Condon have problems with you,then you are a serious problem and not to much of a human being.
    The BWAA still has I’d say racial issues as they have few African-American and Latin members. As for Barney I heard his strength was as a racing scribe. And the creditability of the boxing hall of fame lies in the fact that Barney is in there and Art Rust Jr, Harold Weston jr.,only African-American matchmaker in MSG history and Marion B. Boykin,who brought to the world,the’‘sweet science’‘,greatest boxing show,‘Boykin On Boxing’,are not.
    I was a member of the first and original induction committee. But after I left the BWAA I was deleted from any longer being a voter.

  3. Joe Bruno 10:38am, 03/03/2014

    Doc, at the Boxing Writer’s Dinner at the UN to honor Ali (1984?), I almost went after Barney.

    It was really crowded and I had bought a table for 10 for all my friends on the Lower East Side. Most were Italians I grew up with.

    I was on the dais, because I was the VP.  Just before the dinner started, Barney comes up to me, mad, and says, “Joe Bruno you and your friends know how to handle these sorts of things. Get rid of that crowd around Ali.”

    I turned red in the face, I told Barney “You’re lucky I don’t make you eat that colostomy bag you’re wearing. My friends are all legitimate businessmen, not mob guys who break legs for a living.”

    Barney almost fainted, and he slinked away.

    John Condon was behind me and he heard the whole thing. John told me, “Joe you should have knocked him out. I heard what he said about you and your friends.”

    Barney was just a hateful guy. I hear he’s now in the writer’s branch of the Boxing Hall of Fame in upstate, New York.

    Simply amazing.

  4. Doc Stanley 08:42am, 03/03/2014

    It all started when I went to Gallangers’,after Bob ‘‘Mr. Know’‘,Trainor told me there was some kind of press conference going on.When I got there I knew all the guys,then Barney told me it was a private affair. I told him I had no idea it was such and if there was a problem with me getting a plate,I’d pay.
    But he again stated it was a membership thing. All the writers were sort of in shock and embarrassed by Barney’s attitude. As I was leaving a host of other gents came in,Tommy Kenville and Bobby Goodman told me to come on back upstairs and both have some lunch and they’d get the whole thing straighten out. I told them thanks but no thanks.
    Everybody was quite upset about the whole thing.
    When I went to cover the Knick game later that week, John Condon came up to me,John was a father to me and surely my GOD-father,and told me he had heard what happened and if he had been there he’d knocked Barney on his ass.John was fuming.Told me that I should be a member,’‘belonged’‘there(in the BWWA) he said. Barney then after your intervention, I was in.
    And he then was always nice and respectful. Thanks again,Joe.
    GOD Bless,


  5. Joe Bruno 07:08am, 02/23/2014

    Doc Stanley, I just remembered, I’m pretty sure you were the first African-American admitted to the Boxing Writers Association. I remember you being turned down at first by Barney Nagler, and then I told Barney I would go on the warpath, claiming the Boxing Writers were racist in all my columns.

    At the same time, they turned down Rose Trentman to be the first female member. I went after Barney on that too. I said the BWAA was racist and sexist. I made his head spin.

    Finally, he relented and admitted both you and Rose at the same time.

    In those days, Barney ran the entire Association with an iron fist.

    Is this your recollection of what happened? It was almost 30 years ago.

  6. Joe Bruno 07:00am, 02/23/2014

    Thanks, Doc Stanley. Good to hear from you.

  7. Doc Stanley 09:15am, 02/20/2014

    Hey Joe,
    Good to hear from you and see you are still around. When the likes of yourself,the late Tommy Kenville,who was forced out and Marion Boykin,who walked out,the fall,character and creditability was a steady descend.
    The BWAA use to house the likes of Don Dunphy,Bill Gallo,Art Rust Jr.,and John Condon.The house is not completely EMPTY. Take care Joe.
    GOD Bless,
    Doc Stanley

  8. Joe Bruno 03:25pm, 02/19/2014

    Hey, Mike, it’s great to see you’re still around writing about boxing. It’s been a long time

  9. Ted 02:24pm, 02/10/2014

    I think baseball and football journalists are pretty professional for the most part. I’d exclude Borges from that. as he thrives on scandal, gossip, and other sewage.

    Boxing is no longer covered by the mainstream media, but the other major sports are. RING MAG is totally conflicted so I NO longer pay much mind to it. It’s a sad state of affairs but I have had my say and I pretty much done with the issue.

  10. nicolas 01:36pm, 02/10/2014

    Does this criticism of the BWAA not only really affect them but about many so called journalists not just today but of the past. As PAUL MAGNO writes, ‘The establshment within the boxing media has let down the sport’. Could we not also suggest that the establishment within the news media has let down the country and the world? Perhaps something even far worse?

  11. Ted 12:01pm, 02/10/2014

    Gutter has the beat

  12. Gutter 10:54am, 02/10/2014

    Great article that shows the recent assertions made here about the BWAA and its membership were right on target.  Their laundry has been dirty for a very long time…..

  13. Thresher 07:33am, 02/10/2014

    Only the names change. The faces remain the same.

  14. Mike Casey 04:42am, 02/10/2014

    Succinctly and very well summed up by Mr Bruno! My god, these ‘groups’ and ‘clubs’ are kind to each other, aren’t they?

  15. Mike Silver 09:30pm, 02/09/2014

    Hi Joe. Good to hear your voice again (even in print). Been a while. You hit the nail on the head. It’s foolish to think any positive changes to the sport will ever come from this group.

  16. FightClubWriter 07:34pm, 02/09/2014

    Thanks for the insight Joe. I don’t think it’s about making the BWAA some honorable organization, I believe it’s about uncovering the unethical misdeeds that come from establishing such organizations. There needs to be transparency so the amount of power they obtain isn’t abused. I reccommend the BWAA change its name to the Boxing Publicists Association of America. Especially when more than half them have their checks signed by a promoter or receive ad money from promoters.

  17. Paul Magno 06:49pm, 02/09/2014

    Bravo, Joe! We need more people brave enough to come out and tell the truth about these fraternal orders and secret societies. Those of us who speak out are generally shunned and blacklisted, but only because we come out one by one and with very little support for one another. Thankfully, this seems to be changing as respected names like you and Ted voice their disapproval alongside us little guys and relative newcomers….Firebomb the BWAA and all such pompous organizations…The establishment within the boxing media has let down the sport and has proven itself to be just a rotten appendage of a rotting corpse…It’s time to man up, speak the truth, and put the creeps on the defensive…

  18. kid vegas 06:16pm, 02/09/2014

    Wow, The same thing as today.

  19. Ted 05:35pm, 02/09/2014


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