Barney Ross

Barnet Rasofsky, born December 23, 1909 in New York City, United States - died January 17, 1967 in Chicago, Illinois, better known in the boxing world as Barney Ross, was a Jewish-American boxer who was a three time world champion.

Ross' ambition in life was to become a Jewish teacher, and he wanted to become a Tamuldic scholar. Something that happened when he was 14, however, changed his life forever: His father, who was a rabbi and store owner, got shot to death during a robbery. This event split the rest of his family, his mother losing her mind in her grief for some time, and his siblings being sent to different parts of the rest of his family.

Ross became vengative towards everything that surrounded him and he became a brawler, thief and money runner. He thought that he would need good money to try to get his family back together. When Ross turned amateur, he won a series of awards which he later pawned to try to save up the amount of money he thought he would need. Before he turned professional, his mother had returned to her senses and she deeply opposed boxing, so he had to start using the name of Barney Ross to masquerade the fact he was excersising a profession of which his mother dissaproved.

His first paid fight was on September 1, 1929, when he beat Ramon Lugo by a decision in six. After ten wins in a row, he lost for the first time, to Carlos Garcia, on a decision in ten.

Over the next 35 bouts, he'd go 32-1-2, including a win over former world champion Bat Battalino, and, interesting enough, one over a boxer named Babe Ruth, like the legendary baseball player. Then, in March 26 of 1933, he was given his first shot at a world title, when he faced world Lightweight and Jr. Welterweight champion and fellow three divisions world champions club member Tony Canzoneri in Chicago. In only one night, Ross became a two division world champion when he beat Canzoneri by a decision in ten. It should be pointed out that Ross campaigned heavily in the city of Chicago. After two more wins, including a knockout in six over Johnny Farr, Ross and Canzoneri boxed again, and Ross won again by decision, but this time in 15.

He retained his title by decision against Sammy Fuller to finish 1933, and against Peter Nebo to begin 1934. Then he defended against former world champion Frankie Klick, against whom he drew in ten. Then came the first of three bouts versus Jimmy McLarnin. Ross vacated the Jr. Welter title to go after McLarnin's belt and won by a 15 round decision, joining the three division world champions club. However, in a rematch a few weeks later, McLarnin beat Ross by a decision recoverin the title, and after that, Ross went back down to the Jr. Weterweights and reclamed his title in a fight for the belt left vacant by himself, with a 12 round decision over Bobby Pacho. After beating Klick and Henry Woods by decision to retain that title, he went back up in weight for the last fight in his trilogy with McLarnin, and recovered the title by outpointing McLarnin again over 15 rounds. He won 16 bouts in a row after that, including three over future world Middleweight champion Ceferino Garcia, and one against Al Manfredo. His only two defenses, however, on that stretch were against Garcia and againt Izzy Jazzarino beaten on points in 15.

In his last fight, Ross defended his title, on May 31 of 1938 against the fellow member of the three division world champions' club Henry Armstrong who beat him by a decision in 15.

In retirement, Ross was soon called up by the United States Marine Corps, who waived him in because they wanted him to teach soldiers boxing. He waived off the licensing, hwever, choosing to go to training instead, and, upon graduating the training camp, he was sent to fight in World War II. He was sent to Guadalcanal, where one night, he ad three other comrades were trapped under enemy fire. All three of his fellow soldiers were wounded, but Ross withstood the attack, shooting about 400 bullets and throwing 22 grenades at his attackers. Once it was over, two of the soldiers with him had died, but he carried the remaining soldier on his shoulders to safety. This soldier weighted 230 pounds compared to Ross' 140 pounds. Because of his act, Ross was given a silver medal.

During his stay at the hospital after the attack, Ross developed an habit for morphine. This habit became so bad he'd spend 500 dollars a day on the drug sometimes. Ross had to go to a recovery center and he re-emerged cured after 120 days. A movie based on his life and his addiction, Monkey on my Back, would later be produced by Hollywood.

Ross spent his last days doing a few things outside boxing. He was happy he reached the two goals he had set to reach: reunite his family and become a world champion in boxing. He wrote an autobiography named No Man Stands Alone, and he had a role as an actor in the movie requiem for a Heavyweight.

He had a record of 72 wins, 4 losses, 3 draws and 2 no-contests, with 22 wins by way of knockout.

He is a member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame.


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