The gritty mythology of boxing is the type of stuff that makes the modern “badasses” of sports look like wimpy dullards.
Flipping off fans? 19th century answer: alpha heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan, who apparently never could hold his liquor, drunkenly stumbling to the ring to have a title defense against Charlie Mitchell in 1884 canceled before 6,000 heckling fans.
Dog fighting? One better: Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Duran has claimed in many interviews to have punched and leveled a horse back in Panama for $150 when he was 18-years old.
From Tony Galento, a bar-owner who slugged suds between rounds in his Detroit triple-header in 1931; to Kennedy McKinney entering rehab over and over, while fighting; to Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe getting caught in coke-binge stupors…this is not a game of saints. Even the seemingly straight-laced Manny Pacquiao was reported to have been staying out late to play pool and drink while in training camps in the Philippines not more than a few years ago.
Perhaps it’s what makes boxing all the more visceral and lovely for its hardcore fans. The truth is far more entertaining than any of the fiction – especially outside of the ring.
In the ring, though, truth was and is measured in blood given and taken.
And Mickey Walker was one ridiculously honest guy.
He was born Edward Patrick Walker on July 13, 1901, to Michael and Liz Walker, in the neighborhood of Keighry Head, Elizabeth, New Jersey.
His father Michael was said to have been an amateur fighter that had once trainer with the aforementioned heavyweight legend John L. Sullivan, but generally hated fighting. He turned down a shot at being a professional fighter to instead join the priesthood, but those plans were derailed when he met Liz.
Even early on “Mickey,” as he was usually called, proved a challenge to raise. Attending Sacred Heart Grammar School for eight years, he was an intelligent kid, but quick to squabble with others in school, and the nuns had a difficult time controlling his temper. At 14, he was expelled from school for his many trespasses and had to work.
Running through a number of jobs, Mickey was often canned for scuffles with co-workers, including, as legend would have it, a fight against a former pro boxer on an engineering site that lasted a half-hour. At around 16, Mickey attempted to join the U.S. Navy but was turned away for being too young.
A year or so later, World War I had all but ended, and the torrent of young men returning home to work pushed others out of the workforce.
The best Mickey could muster was a gig as a pin boy at the bowling alley. One day while sitting on the sidewalk smoking a cigarette, he caught a glimpse of a poster advertising fights at a nearby athletic club and was inspired to become a professional boxer. The idea was also well-timed, as New Jersey had legalized eight round professional fights with “The Hurley Law,” enacted in March of 1918.
Aside from years of experience fighting on the streets, and supposedly being the go-to guy to defend the honor of Keighry Head when ruffians came looking for a rumble, Mickey’s in-ring resumé was nearly bare. Although his father had been a solid amateur who was comfortable in the squared circle, he made sure Mickey and his three younger siblings steered clear of the ring.
Ignoring his father’s wishes, Mickey began taking lessons from his cousin Joe Higgins, who himself had been an amateur fighter. But when Mickey began to clearly outshine Higgins in their sparring sessions, Joe took him to start training seriously at the Elizabeth YMCA, with Mickey weighing in at only about 120 lbs. at the time.
As the story goes, Dominic Orsini, a local Peterstown prospect, was also training at the Y and was called to spar with a novice Mickey Walker, introducing him to the canvas early on. A melee ensued with the matchmaker for the Elizabeth Athletic Club witnessing the brawl and subsequently pitting the two against each other in a pro fight a few days later on February 10th, 1919.
Although only a four round affair, the fight was apparently a highly entertaining no-decision, complete with great in-ring action and a bit of controversy: His mother Elizabeth, who wasn’t able to enter the athletic club (as women weren’t allowed to attend fights), stationed herself on the roof of the club with a few friends, and wound up breaking the skylight glass in the midst of cheering on her son in a frenzied 3rd round, summoning police to the venue.
Walker reportedly exhibited little style or skill, but showed fierce tenacity that caught the attention of local press.
After his very first fight, Walker got a taste of boxing’s less-than-savory side, as his impromptu manager Oscar Lamb made off with $2 of Mickey’s $10 purse — his “managerial cut.”
Jimmy McCrann, an acquaintance of Orsini, then “offered to clean Mickey up and got knocked out in two rounds” two weeks later, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette. In other words, Orsini’s friend wanted a piece of the action, and got plenty more than he’d intended.
Mickey then hooked up with former runner Johnny Anthes, who took over as his trainer and manager, attempting to solidify his base technique and teach him what getting into proper fighting shape was.
Before the year was out, Mickey had fought 19 times, going 17-2 with nine knockout wins (accounting for Newspaper Decisions), but both losses by early stoppage — the first to hard-hitting Phil Delmont in a struggle that had Mickey flooring Delmont in the 1st before getting flattened moments later, and the bout stopped when Walker failed to come out for the 2nd round; and the next to Johnny Smith in Philadelphia, his first fight outside of Elizabeth.
No matter, as Mickey’s whirling dervish style attracted attention regardless of who he was fighting, and by this time he was nearly a full-fledged welterweight.
In January, 1920, Mickey faced familiar local guy Tommy Speno, who while listed at 1-0 going in, actually had much more experience fighting in Elizabeth and Newark and was a very good amateur, according to the Jersey Journal. The two engaged in a memorable eigh round battle that was a sort of local legend for years, and despite Mickey getting the decision via local newspaper, helped move both forward in their careers.
A few weeks later Walker took on Benny “Irish” Cohen, a heavy-handed lightweight prospect, in an eight round bout. According to Walker’s own account years later, both men had each other on the floor early and often, and once again Mickey came out on top via 8-round newspaper decision in a great fight. To top it off, Mickey walked away from the Newark fight with $500 in his pocket — the most money he’d made for anything to that point.
He then went 2-1 before rematching Speno in May, 1920 for his first scheduled 12 round fight at the Coliseum in Newark. Walker took another newspaper decision over Tommy and inched closer to fighting on a recognizable world class level.
Not long after, Mickey stopped working with Johnny Anthes and was picked up by Newark matchmaker and manager Jack Bulger, former manager of heavyweight contender Charlie Weinert.
Over his next 15 fights, Walker went 11-3-1, including a knockout victory over Harlem Eddie Kelly, who had lost to Benny Leonard and Lew Tendler, and a bang-up with Joe Stefanik in Rhode Island, where Stefanik attempted to win by disqualification by crying foul. Instead, when he was examined by the attending doctor in his dressing room, he was declared fit to have continued and the result was a KO in three rounds for Mickey. Two of the three losses happened to be at the hands of Yonkers Irishman Shamus O’Brien in 12 round affairs.
In early May of 1921, Mickey was supposed to face Ted “Kid” Lewis, who was a few months removed from losing the welterweight title to Jack Britton, only to stop the underwhelming Marcel Thomas instead. Later in the month, he earned a decision win in 10 rounds over highly experienced (yet aging) U.K. welterweight Johnny Summers in Newark.
About two months later at the Newark Armory, Walker tangled with welterweight champion Jack Britton in a non-title fight that saw Britton come in heavy, presumably because the bout had been postponed when Britton caught a cold in training a few weeks earlier. But both men were set on rumbling.
Mickey was knocked down hard and hurt by one of the first punches thrown, but roared back to wobble Britton in the 6th and force him to clinch, which according to the Augusta Chronicle prompted Britton to say, “Thought you were a hard puncher. Why don’t you start?” To which Walker replied, “You’re the champion, why don’t you stand up and fight?”
Different newspapers reported different results, with the “official” result being Britton by decision despite many publications calling the fight a draw. The Springfield Republican called the fight “sensational.” But win or lose, with his gutsy performance Mickey Walker made sure his name was in the mix at the top.
Avenging his earlier loss to O’Brien, Mickey overcame the stifling, frustrating veteran’s style to earn a decision win over 12 rounds in August. A few days later, Jack Bulger would apparently make an offer of $40,000 to Britton’s manager Dan Morgan for a rematch win, lose or draw, before sending Mickey out for another 12 with Brooklyn journeyman Wildcat Nelson, which Walker took handily.
In mid-September he was supposed to have met “Fighting” Bob Martin, a former U.S. military heavyweight champ, in St. Louis, but the bout never came off.
Similarly, Bulger was in negotiations with matchmaker/promoter Al Caroly to have Walker fight Newark lightweight Jack Coyne. When that fight also fell through, Bulger then tried to negotiate a bout with “Kid” Lewis once again, which also failed to materialize.
After being out for almost three months — a rarity in Walker’s early career — he was matched against highly underrated stylist David Shade on November 21, 1921. Shade had earned a controversial draw against Britton the previous June, and had just beaten Mickey’s longtime acquaintance and fellow Elizabeth native George Ward in October.
In the 5th round, Shade suffered a hand injury (different publications reported different injuries) and was forced to bow out a few rounds later, giving Mickey the technical knockout win in eight.
Usually one of Dave’s famous fighting brothers, George and Billy, would have challenged Walker to avenge the loss, but in this case Shade insisted on getting even himself. Amid news of a potential Britton-Walker rematch all over the news wires (and promoter Tex Rickard’s intended involvement), in December a month later, Dave “outclassed [Walker] in eight rounds of a 12-round bout,” reported the New Orleans Item, and Shade took a newspaper decision.
The loss did little to slow Mickey’s momentum though, and his short-term schedule was mapped out. Less than a week after the loss to Shade, Mickey was slated to face Akron up-and-comer Johnny Griffiths in the reopening of the Armory Athletic Association in Jersey City, and entertaining veteran Solder Bartfield the next day in Philadelphia. To stay busy, Walker then drove up to Boston a few days later to take on “New England welterweight champion” Nate Siegel on December 30th. Mickey was awarded a comfortable points decision over 10 rounds.
Next up was Griffiths on January 9th. Before the bout, Griffiths was promised a battle with Benny Leonard in New Orleans should he win, with a title shot against Britton potentially not far away. Leading into the fight, the Jersey Journal quoted Bulger as saying “This is the first time Walker has been able to show all his wares in training,” crediting sparring with former solid middleweight contender Johnny Howard with preparing Mickey well. According to most reports, Mickey won a lively 12 round decision, but not without some iffy moments.
As planned, Walker met Bartfield at the Ice Palace in Philly the next night, the co-headliner to a square-up between newly crowned junior lightweight champion Johnny Dundee and local lightweight Whitey Fitzgerald. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “Mickey gave the Soldier about seven pounds and a fine lacing,” also delivering the exquisite line, “Both gladiators were willing and thirsty for gore.” Walker nonetheless fought his way to a decision in eight, again proving he’d deliver action every time out.
At the Newark Armory two weeks later, Walker finally took on George Ward, the “New Jersey welterweight champion” that he apparently knew very well and had chummed around with for years. The two had been scheduled to meet numerous times for the better part of a year, but it simply never happened. At this point, extra intrigue had been added to the fight as Tex Rickard had promised to the winner spots on his upcoming shows at Madison Square Garden (then often known simply as “The Garden”) in the winter of 1922.
Mickey floored his friend for a nine count in the 2nd and pummeled him for the remainder of 12 round affair, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
A week later Walker again took on Bartfield at the Ice Palace, but this time the old Hungarian battler improved from the last showing, even if only late in the fight. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “…after losing the first six rounds in much the same manner that he lost the eight in the previous meeting, Bartfield drove his left into Mickey’s mush with such vehemence that the latter spat blood and teeth all over the place during the remainder of the engagement.”
Mickey managed to get a newspaper decision over eight rounds on the strength of his early work, but Bartfield showed he still had a little gas in the tank.
On February 10th, Walker returned with another win over Griffiths, and this time by stoppage in nine rounds. Two weeks later, Walker again beat Bartfield, pitching a shutout over 12 rough and messy rounds on the ringside cards of many journalists.
Back at the Ice Palace in mid-March, Mickey headlined a card against local youngster Jack Palmer. After winning through round 4 fairly easily, in the 5th Mickey shot a double hook, first to the groin and then to the jaw, that sank Palmer to the canvas complaining of the foul shot, and Palmer came away from the fight with a win by DQ in five.
The loss marked the beginning of a rough patch for Walker, as two abscessed teeth would halt his momentum and force him to postpone and cancel a number of his fights, including a rematch with his pal Ward. On April 18, the Trenton Evening Times reported that the New Jersey Boxing Commission had suspended both Walker and his manager/promoter Bulger for failing to appear before them and iron out details of a Ward rematch, with Bulger citing Mickey’s recent dental issues as their excuse.
Mickey’s first fight back in May was a dubious match against aging New York lightweight Harlem Eddie Kelly in Holyoke, Massachusetts. After being repeatedly warned for inactivity in the 1st round by referee George Freeman, Walker landed a soft-ish shot on Kelly that sent him down, then up, then back down again and pretending to be unconscious. Ref Freeman refused to administer a count and instead ruled the bout a no contest, causing the Massachusetts Boxing Commission to withhold both of their purses.
Retiring Pal Reed in the 4th was perhaps the result of Mickey’s frustration a few weeks later in Boston, but another month off walked him right into a points loss over 12 rounds against rugged former title challenger Lou Bogash.
Three nights later, Walker was back in Newark losing a 12 round newspaper decision to George Ward. Said the Jersey Journal, “Walker was fighting under the handicap of a bad left arm, in which he caught a cold. He was only a semblance of his usual self and he lacked his usual aggressiveness.”
Another month-long hiatus was met with a 10 round points decision loss to St. Paul-based middleweight Jock Malone, who would go on to capture a piece of the middleweight title from Bryan Downey in his next fight.
Later in August, Walker lost another bout by DQ, this time in a rematch with Wildcat Nelson in Long Branch, NJ. The 1st round was a highly entertaining one that had the crowd on its feet, but towards the end of the rounds Mickey again strayed low and Nelson was determined unfit to continue by the ringside physician and was awarded the win.
The two were scheduled to meet again in two weeks, but Mickey moved on and stopped the inexperienced Artie Bird in New York in September.
Finally a return bout with welterweight champion Britton was negotiated for early November, and the two met at Madison Square Garden with Tex Rickard promoting. The fight was not without strange drama, as before the bout the betting odds swung sharply from 6-5 for Britton to 8-5 in favor of Walker, with money pouring in for Mickey by stoppage in 10, and all bets were declared off — a clear oddity that had ringside observers baffled and suspicious.
As for the bout itself, Walker was all over the older champ from the 1st round on, but Britton’s defensive mastery was clear when Mickey attempted to fight from a distance. The Denver Post said Britton made Walker look “amateurish” at times, clubbing with hooks and missing wildly at range. Mickey’s will paid off though, scoring a flash knockdown in the 2nd, staggering the champ in the 6th and 7th, and forcing him to a knee in both rounds 10 and 12. The 13th through 15th saw Britton playing keep away with quicker feet as Walker chased relentless, trying to score a stoppage. Though it never came, Mickey Walker was the new welterweight champion at 21-years old, by way of unanimous decision.
Mickey racked up five wins by March of 1923, which included another decision over Johnny Griffiths, a stinker against the polyonymous Charley Nashert, and a stoppage over Steve Latzo, one of the fighting Latzo brothers.
In March, 1923, eager to avenge the loss of older his brother, Pete Latzo, then already an experienced pro himself at 21, attempted to tackle Walker in Mickey’s first official title defense. However, shortly before the fight Mickey was suspended by the New York boxing commission for allegedly engaging in a “dancing act” instead of an honest scrape against Nashert, as well as the illegality of Nashert fighting under one of his many psuedonyms. The match up with the younger Latzo brother was allowed to continue in Newark, though, with the New Jersey commission to meet shortly thereafter.
Pete would later say of the bout that “[Walker] beat me pretty badly,” and the Trenton Evening Times reported that “Walker gave Latzo a severe trouncing from the opening round until the termination of the twelfth. Latzo was on the verge of a knockout during the closing rounds, but saved himself by continual clinching.” Mickey also brutalized Latzo to the body, as the Springfield Republican said, “At the end of the bout the challenger’s right side was a mass of red welts.”
Additionally, in walking through Latzo and flooring him in the 4th with a huge left hook, Walker earned his now-famous nickname, “The Toy Bulldog.” A New York sports editor named Francis Albertanti (who would later be a Ring Magazine columnist and manage “Cinderella Man” Jim Braddock) officially coined the name, although Walker had been referred to as a “bulldog” by many reporters before.
From April to September, 1923, Walker went 6-0 with five KOs, including a stoppage over highly experienced Johnny Riley and former foe Nate Siegel, with the lone decision win coming against Midwest journeyman Cowboy Padgett on the undercard of Gene Tunney vs. Jimmy Delaney at the Coliseum in Chicago. Walker floored Padgett twice en route to the 10 round win.
Maude Kelly, the younger sister of a trainer partner, would score a TKO win over Walker by way of marriage in June, though.
The return bout with Padgett in July in Newark was going similarly, when Mickey and Padgett tumbled out of the ring and Cowboy was unable to continue. According to the Repository, “Padgett was unable to continue, having sustained two broken ribs when his right side crashed against a press table … [Jack] Britton administered a neat pasting to the Cowboy in Youngstown, and Walker was giving him the same treatment, having floored him for short counts three times during the bout.”
In late September of ’23, Mickey was scheduled to face Jimmy Jones, who had been an amateur champion in the U.S. Army while stationed in Italy and was then the welterweight champion for the newly-created NYSAC title (won in a 10 rounder against Dave Shade in July). An apparent injury to Walker’s right hand delayed the bout into October, though some journalists suspected Mickey was using extra time to make weight. Regardless, late money flowed in for Jones and tightened the odds by fight time, reported the Trenton Evening Times, and it was speculated that the extra week would help to sell more tickets.
Walker vs. Jones was to be essentially one of the first official unification bouts in boxing, as Walker was recognized as welterweight champion outside of New York and New Jersey, whose commission was still unhappy with Walker for his failure to fight George Ward in a timely manner. To pile on, the fairly new National Boxing Association manufactured their own version of the welterweight title for the bout.
But instead of providing clarity in the division, the Newark bout was a woeful dud, as both men refused to engage and were warned repeatedly by referee Danny Sullivan to punch more. However, in the 9th round, the bout was stopped by the chief boxing commissioner on site, much to the relief of the crowd of 22,000 booing fans, and declared a no contest. It was then announced that neither fighter would be paid their purses, which would instead go to a local charity.
To make matters worse, right before the fight Jones was stripped of his NYSAC title for fighting Walker, under suspen
sion by the commission, and the NBA title was left without an owner. After the fight, Mickey would say that his hands had not fully recovered and that every punch he landed hurt him more than they hurt Jones.
Aside from the obvious headache the whole to-do caused, the welterweight title picture was likely even more muddled than before, in lieu of commissions and other organizations attempting to create their own champions. International news correspondent George Barry wrote the next day, “If anyone can tell today who is the welterweight champion of the wide, wide world, he must be a seventh son of a seventh son and carry a crystal ball in his hip pocket.”
Following some down time to let his mitts heal, Mickey was scheduled travel to Canada for the first time on December 21, 1923, and take on Canadian welterweight Moe Herscovitch. Perhaps in an effort to find a way around his suspension and stay busy, Mickey fought an “exhibition” in Paterson, N.J. against Tommy Stapleton the day before. When New Jersey commissioner Newton Bugbee suggested further punishment beyond the suspension, Jack Bulger threatened legal action and claimed Walker fought the exhibition at the behest of an old friend and priest who presided over his wedding, and that it was to benefit the church.
Mickey escaped additional punishment and fought Herscovitch in Toronto, knocking him down five times en route to a knockout win in six, despite bleeding profusely from a head butt-induced cut over his left eye. Mickey would later say it was the first time he was ever cut in a fight.
Taking almost two months off to let the cut heal, Walker began 1924 with a third fight against Wildcat Nelson, which he won by TKO in the 4th without issue in early February. Later in the month, the NYSAC met to determine who Mickey would fight next, but couldn’t come to a decision.
In the next month, Mickey fought twice more, winning both by stoppage, but not without a bit of fuss. He first knocked out Eddie Billings in the 5th on a foul in Detroit, with The Evening Repository reporting, “A blow to the kidneys ripped the ligaments so badly that Billings’ left leg became useless and he fell to the floor helpless. Up to this period it was an excellent bout with Billings showing well.” And a week later, his fight against N.Y. welter Mike Dempsey was stopped in five when Dempsey began “stalling.” Said the Evening Tribune, “Referee Joe Keally stopped the bout when Dempsey stood before the champion with his guard down and his jaw exposed apparently awaiting the knockout punch.”
Journeyman Johnny Gill was up next for Mickey in late March, but his manager Jack Bulger had fallen ill with acute appendicitis not long after the Dempsey fight. In late March, complications with his appendectomy arose and Bulger’s health took a turn for the worse, so Walker postponed the Gill fight and rushed to the Newark hospital where Bulger was staying to offer blood for a transfusion. Jack’s brother also showed up to give blood, but efforts were futile and Bulger passed away on March 25, 1924.
Mickey tried to steer clear of Jack’s financial issues after his death and resumed training to face Gill as soon as he could. On April 21 in Philly, Walker scored a 10 round decision in what a number of publications described as a “hard contest,” with Gill weighing in a good five pounds heavier than Mickey.
Then in early June of 1924, the National Boxing Association gave Walker another crack at becoming their first welterweight titlist against southpaw lightweight great Lew Tendler. Before about 25,000 fans at the Phillies Ballpark, Mickey won about eight of the entertaining 10 rounds. The Seattle Daily Times said of the bout, “Mickey did not mind Lew’s port side method of milling. He kept in so close that it made no difference to him what stance Tendler employed.” The AP reporter on site credited Mickey’s patented body assault for earning him the win, and another unofficially official defense of the welterweight crown. And shortly before the fight, Mickey picked up a new manager and adviser, former New Jersey boxing commissioner Joe Degnan.
The New York State Athletic Commission reconvened following the Tendler bout, and declared Mickey needed to face David Shade to fill the vacancy left by stripping Jimmy Jones of their belt.
In the meantime, a long talked about match-up between Walker and lightweight champion Benny Leonard was finalized for Aug. 20. Leonard had been inactive and trying to find success in Hollywood, and elected to take on old foe Pal Moran in Cleveland on Aug. 11 as a warm-up. Unfortunately, Leonard dislocated his right thumb in the 4th of 10 rounds against Moran, and even in winning a good nine rounds, the injury proved to be ligament damage and a fracture, which caused Benny to postpone the Walker bout indefinitely.
Mickey tentatively agreed to a fight Shade again at an undetermined date, though the commission demanded it be his next fight. Undaunted, and probably still a little sore at his suspension, Mickey confirmed from ringside at the Harry Wills vs. Luis Firpo bout on September 11th that he would face Shade after first stepping in with Bobby Barrett in late September. Barrett’s manager James Daugherty extended a $25,000 offer to Mickey for another fighter at Phillies Stadium after they’d found out about Leonard’s thumb injury and cancellation.
Rain delayed the Sept. 30 meeting by a day, and on Oct. 1, Barrett was knocked off his feet a total of nine times in just under six rounds. “The Toy Bulldog” mugged Barrett early, decking him seven times in the 1st round, with the final knockdown of the stanza being interrupted by the bell. Barrett then held desperately as Walker tried to finish things, and Mickey eventually slowed down, but kept pressure constant. Then in round 6, Walker floored Barrett with a nasty body shot for a count of nine, and was met with a huge right hand to the jaw which put him out of his misery. The Republic reported, “Three times Mickey’s punches knocked him from his under-pinning and three times he sagged to the canvas from sheer weakness. Despite Barrett’s famed punch, Walker showed himself a true champion by slugging toe to toe with his opponent all through the battle.”
Gaining in notoriety and becoming something of a hot item around the welterweight division, Walker spent much of 1924 to that point fielding competing offers from numerous regional draws and hungry contenders. But Mickey expressed a clear interest in moving up to middleweight and challenging reigning champion Harry Greb.
Instead, in late October Mickey rematched St. Paul native Jock Malone, who he’d lost a decision to a few years earlier before becoming champion, and who had since gone on to grow into a good-sized middleweight and end the career of underrated great Mike O’Dowd with a 1st round knockout. As the bout was to take place in Newark and New Jersey had not yet legalized points decisions, the title was only up for grabs for Malone if he won by knockout, and there was speculation as to whether or not the larger man would attempt to make the 147 lb. limit. To add to the drama, Walker was still essentially persona non grata as far as the commission was concerned.
For a few fights Mickey had been training at his home in Rumson, N.J. about 35 miles away from Elizabeth, while Malone trained at Ryan’s Gymnasium in Newark for the last few days before the fight.
20,000 people showed up to the 113th Regiment Armory in Newark, which only seated 10,000. In the frantic rush to get seats, a few people were trampled, which summoned the police. The bout moved forward as scheduled, though, with Jack Dempsey and Luis Firpo in attendance. And before a packed house, Walker smothered as usual, and raked at Malone’s sides in close, pitching a near shutout through 12 rounds on more than a few ringside scorecards.
Stepping in with Mickey Walker again angered the New Jersey and New York commissions, though, and Malone found himself on the list of guys the commissions weren’t exactly happy with. Even Malone’s opponent a little over a week later in St. Paul, Morrie Schlaifer, found himself on the wrong end of a ban in New York for fighting Malone 1,000-plus miles away from “The Empire State.”
As for Walker, beating a middleweight seemed to lend legitimacy to Mickey’s desire to meet Greb sooner rather than later.