Mike Mazurki

"Beats selling apples," Mushy says, distracted. More than any of the fighters, Mushy tends toward dreaminess. He enjoys sitting on his porch across the street from the Hollywood DMV. We can see him there with his precious memories and his aches and pains--the Newsboy Champion. Booth Tarkington urchin hoards used to carry him out of the ring on their shoulders whenever he won--which was all of the time. Mushy Callahan was so popular the Boxing Commission had to invent a weight class for him. Middle-Welterweight. (I've won a few bets on that one.)

When Mushy began boxing he was taught to tell his opponent his shoe laces were untied and deck him when he looked down to check. The first time he tried it, his opponent asked which shoe, but that's not how Mushy got the nose to match his plastered name. As a boy Mushy worked with his father as a horse-and-wagon fruit salesman from 5 AM to 5 PM every day. One day he was taking a nap and the horse stepped on his face. (Every time Mushy tells that story he swears it's the truth.)

Mushy Callahan's real name is Vincent Sheer, but he is not the only Jewish boxer who became an Irish boxer. Across the room sits Abie Baine who took advice from an Irish priest. The priest declared Abie was too good to be fighting Jewish. He became Mugzee Ryan. Today Abie Baine takes his Irish identity so seriously he is listed in the phone book under the Rs.