New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Frankie Carbo

Frankie Carbo (Boxing.  Born, New York, NY, Aug. 10, 1904; died, Miami Beach, FL, Nov. 9, 1976.)  Born on the Lower East Side, Paul John Carbo became the biggest of the mobsters who infested boxing in the 1940s and 1950s.  Carbo secretly owned shares of boxers and controlled managers, matchmakers, officials, and even promoters.  His biggest connection was with James Norris, owner of Madison Square Garden and its promotional arm, the International Boxing Club.  I.B.C. matchmakers Al Weill and Billy Brown did business with Carbo, apparently sanctioned by Norris.  Frank (Blinky) Palermo and Carbo orchestrated the infamous Jake LaMotta swoon against Billy Fox in 1947.  Carbo was eventually convicted of attempted extortion involving the manager of middleweight champion Don Jordan.  He spent 18 years in federal prison.  Carbo didn’t always “own” a fighter; sometimes, the manager was enough.  At least two heavyweight champions were in that situation, since Weill managed Rocky Marciano and Felix Bocchicchio managed Jersey Joe Walcott, and Carbo controlled both.  Carbo and his associates not only shared in the purses won by fighters but cashed in sizable betting coups by having fights thrown to underdogs.  Those in the business who were not corrupt, such as Harry Markson, Teddy Brenner, and Irving Cohen, to name a few, had to work hard to avoid mob-influenced matches.  Even they didn’t always succeed.  Much of this was common knowledge in the flourishing post-World War II boxing business, but it was very difficult to prove, especially where the insidious “Mr. Gray” was concerned.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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About Bill Shannon

A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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