Bash Compactor: On The Ropes

Written by Matt Harvey on . Posted in Bash Compactor, Posts.

was a typical Dumbo book soirée—except for the locker-room smell in the
air. On Saturday night, the sainted late champs—like Joe Frazier and
Floyd Patterson—hanging on the wall of Gleason’s Gym looked down at young people drinking free beer and celebrating the release of Douglas Century’s new book about boxer Barney Ross.

Smooth lounge remixes to tunes like Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy, Mercy Me” played. At 10, a lean man dressed in a pink shirt, owner Bruce Silverglade, climbed
into the ring to get a three-round match rolling. Before energetically
striking the starting bell he made a quick announcement. “We
purposefully feature female boxers because they’re more exciting.”

muscular flyweights, one clad in a short French maid’s apron, danced
out from their corners and poked at each other with oversized gloves. A
man with a shaved head and the physique of an aging fighter was
standing off to the side—a white gym towel hidden in his massive hand.
It was the Bronx-born middleweight champ of 1988, Iran Barkley. He
came up through the old Gleason’s Gym on West 30th Street, which served
as an academy for a generation of street kids looking to fight their
way out of poverty. Barkley, who’s currently lobbying for professional
boxers to receive pensions, looked out at the crowd. Sighing wearily he
said, “These kids aren’t very serious.”

“What are you up to now champ?” I asked. Barkley ran over to famous cornerman Eddie Post and whispered something in his ear. In the ring, Keisher McLeod-Wells was
landing a flurry of crosses to the hyper cheers of a group of frat
guys. “Hit her with a right,” one bellowed. “And take off her panties!”
When Barkley walked back he looked like the cat that got the cream.The
ex-middleweight, who turns 50 this year, lifted his fists up playfully
and told me the news. “I’m making a comeback.”