Mike Mazurki

Boxing was illegal when Abie and Mushy started, and their parents were not aware they fought. Mushy came home from his first fight with a black eye. His father spanked him. When the kid turned over the thousand dollar purse, his father asked when he was going to fight again. Between 1924 and 1934 Mushy Callahan racked up 60 legal fights. His father seldom missed one, but his Mom couldn't even listen on the radio. Abie says boxing broke his mother's heart. At the age of 14, he lied about his age and began fighting bootleg in New Jersey, usually on the docks so they could jump in the water if the cops came.

When he was at his peak Abie was elected The Most Beautiful Body in Miami Beach. He was a frequent companion of Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel. Capone used Abie to attract girls in the clubs. Soon after the girls sat down, the hoods would send Abie off to bed alone with a lecture on training. From there things went downhill. Abie traveled the country taking on all comers at county fairs and hay bail arenas; he seldom picked up the purse because the law was on his tail. Ultimately he agreed to take a dive since his career was in the tank anyway. But even though he promised to lose, he won. Double-crossed mobsters held Abie by his ankles out a fourteenth story window with Abie screaming, "I tried! I did everything I could! I let him hit me! I tried to miss him! Nobody could lose to that bum!" His honest evaluation saved Abie's life for greater worries than breaking his mother's heart. He claims his daughter didn't get to be a Mouseketeer on the Mickey Mouse Club because the producers thought her father was punchy. For this condition Abie blames Jack Dempsey.

"Dempsey made me the man I am today," Abie says with a voice that describes the jab to the throat that makes him sound strangled. The loss of his normal voice hurt him more than words can tell. Since the days when he was a boy, singing with Perry Como, Abie considered his voice his life. What is left has been immortalized by Anthony Quinn in Requiem For A Heavyweight. The role of Mountain Rivera was based on Abie Baine, but Quinn imitated Abie too well. Abie's speaking role in the movie had to be cut--like when Mazurki had to shave his head so he wouldn't look like Victor Mature inShanghai Gesture.