Jan 23, 2010

King Levinsky

In 1964, a young Cassius Clay trained in south Miami Beach for his first fight against Sonny Liston. At that time, this section of the city was home to mostly retired Jews on fixed income. The hotels, decades after their prime, became pension rooming houses. Decades later, these same buildings would be restored to their art deco splendor, creating today's South Beach. As Clay trained, a middle aged punch drunk necktie peddler told him, "After Liston punches your head, you'll be selling ties with me." The street peddler was a fixture in Miami Beach. He didn't ask, he told people they were going to buy a tie. The future champ probably didn't realize that the heckler was none other than King Levinsky, legend of the 1930's, and veteran of over 118 heavyweight fights. Levinsky was born Harris Krakow in Chicago, and worked at his parent's fish market on Maxwell Street, the Jewish section during the roaring twenties. Although he never got a title shot, and weighed only 185, he fought all the leading heavyweights of his time, including the 265lb. giant, Primo Carnera. Managed by his sister Lena, he was known never to turn down a fight, including those against Max Baer.

Reprinted from Feb. 22, 2009


ironpigpen said...

That's great stuff.

Old hockey adage :

Toughness is not measured by how many fights you win but rather how many you show up for.

Anonymous said...

Michael: There are so many folks mad at you for censoring their posts on your blog that they are forming a "counter the shadow mayor" blog. Let the sunshine in and don't be so afraid. You are stronger than that.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 6:42, pretty strange that all these folks would know each other, unless of course, in reality they are the same person.

it is possible that i may accidentally omit a legitimate comment, because of YOUR endless antagonist harassment. i readily accept different viewpoints, and urge anybody with a rejected comment to contact me offline, except you.

Anonymous said...

MM, it is ironic that you mention South Beach. I lived there for 10 years before moving to Allentown, PA. Believe it or not, as different as these locations are, they do share similarities: South Beach, when I first moved there, was not the glitz and glamour capital as it is now. It actually was gang ridden, with low income families, high crime, and a large elderly population, just like TODAY'S Allentown, PA. I was a beginning promoter, then. It may be hard to imagine, but I used to stand outside of clubs and speak to people as they passed by and try to convince them to come to our "hole in the wall" bar. Those were the days. (smile) But what changed South Beach is the same thing that can change Allentown, an open-minded City leadership that can think beyond the typical town mentality and look at ALL of the possibilities of our area: Cultivate and encourage small businesses; create and cooperate with the city's nightlife professionals; encourage independent City events and festivals; disseminate City information and events to the WHOLE community so that communities feel involved, and I could go on. All in all, the South Beach phenomenon wasn't something that happened overnight. In fact, I was there for 10 years and witnessed a place NOBODY wanted to be, turn in to a place EVERYONE wanted to get to. No, we don't have beaches and year long sunshine, but we can be a destination location. We have to begin to use our resources on "ourselves" and THEN people will take notice and be enticed to come to us to visit and do business.

Alfonso Todd