January 24, 2000
Bruno on Boxing
By Joe Bruno---Former vice president of the Boxing Writers Association and
the International Boxing Writers Association
News Item: International Boxing Writers Association Reborn
It was a great idea and a wonderful concept that went by the boards for
lack of interest. Now Itís trying mightily to make a comeback.
In 1980, Marc Maturo of the Gannett Newspaper chain in Westchester, New
York, started the International Boxing Writers Association, a group of boxing
writers from around the world. Maturo is also a lifetime member of the
Baseball Writers Association of America, and a voting member for the Baseball
Hall of Fame. The New York Boxing Writers, which had been around since 1926
(Ed Sullivan was itís first President), reacted as if a male German Sheppard
had lifted it's right leg and tinkled on it's hallowed trees. The New York
Boxing Writers, which exists only to give out itís yearly awards, mostly to
its own members, immediately fought back by changing its name to the Boxing
Writers Association, even though itís membership was, and still is 95 % New
York City based. The old group, besides being adverse to its own name, was
also glutted with public relations people whose only purpose was to push
forth the fighters their bosses, people like Don King and Bob Arum, had
presently under contract. The conflict of interest in the New York Boxing
Writers was, and still is stifling.
This reporter was in the middle of this mess. I was the vice president of
the New York Boxing Writers, but frustrated with the old groupís lack of
initiative in doing anything positive, except glorifying itself, I eagerly
joined the International Boxing Writers. Soon I was vice president of that
organization too. Maturo, the founder, was the president.
Maturo tirelessly fought to give the new group credence. He recruited
more that 130 members from around the world. Places like the Midwest and Far
West United States, Europe, the Orient and even Australia now had
representation through their own boxing writers. The New York Boxing Writers
used any and all associations that they had nurtured throughout the years, to
strike down the young insurgent group.
I was personally approached and told if I did not quit the IBWA, I would
be ousted from the NY Boxing Writers. I told the person, who is now dead and
who I will not even honor by mentioning his name, that his words sounded
strangely like extortion, and that if he uttered one more word about his
proposal, I would inject my size nine up his treacherous butt.
But the NY Boxing Writers used all its wiles and countless connections,
to batter the IBWA into submission. By 1984, the IBWA, after a brief fling
with IBWA world wide ratings, bit the dust due to the NY Boxing Writers
efforts, and due to plain lack of interest among the promoters, the TV
networks, especially HBO and itís Wizard of Sleaze, Seth ďThe ShrimpĒ
Abraham, and of course, the governing boxing organizations.
This was the early 1980ís. There was no Internet, and it was difficult to
cultivate and maintain the IBWA because there was little communication
across land and seas among itís members. Now times have changed. The Internet
is alive and well, and Marc Maturo is back with a vengeance.
"Itís a damn shame the New York Boxing Writers have so much influence,
even though they only represent a minuscule part of the boxing writers all
over the world," Maturo said. "They even have an influential vote for the
Boxing Hall of Fame, and west coast writers like Jack Fiske, who was as good
as any boxing writer the NY Boxing Writers ever had, will never get admitted
to the Hall of Fame as long as the NY Boxing Writers have control."
Maturo added, "And the New York Boxing Writers act as if the Internet
doesnít exist. There isnít one member of the New York Boxing Writers who
writes only for an Internet website."
Maturo is actively recruiting members for the IBWA. There will be two
types of members. Any boxing writer who writes for any venue whatsoever,
Internet or print, and any radio or television personality involved in boxing
broadcasts and telecasts, will be admitted as a voting member of the IBWA.
Any other person: trainer, manager, promoter, public relations person,
cornerman, spit bucket or stool carrier, or just plain boxing fan, will be
admitted as a non-voting member, and will receive our monthly newslatter.
Period. No need to be a friend of so and so, as was, and is the deal with the
New York group.
Maturo said, "The International Boxing Writers should be as powerful and
influential as the Baseball Writers Association, if not more so. Boxing is
truly an International sport, with no seasons. Thereís a boxing match
virtually every day somewhere around the world."
Any boxing writer interested in joining a group that will try to change
the way the seedy business of boxing is run, contact Mark Maturo at e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Or at IBWA, 50 Mary Street, Suite 1, Tappan, New York,
Members of the New York Boxing Writers are also invited to join.
Like Wilfred Brimley once said, "Itís the right thing to do."