bought the ready-made attraction from Johnny Attell, the Dexter Park promoter,
and put it on at the Garden. Bummy was not old enough to box over six rounds
but Davis vs. Friedkin topped the card. Everybody from Brownsville who possibly
could be there was jammed into the gallery.
Davis didn't need
six rounds anyway. Friedkin briskly outboxed him in the first round and the
second round was maybe even. Bummy was stronger and midway into the fourth
round he looped a left hook to Friedkin's jaw to knock him out. Davis was on
his way to loads of money, bad press notices, some good wins, a couple of
frightful shellackings—and death at the age of 25.
Always with him
along the way, however, was his reputation as a mean fighter. Davis fought in
the ring as he did on the sidewalks of Brownsville when he was growing up and
he occasionally forgot the rules. He finally went too far the night he met
Fritzie Zivic in what the New York Times called "one of the most
disgraceful exhibitions in the history of boxing." After Zivic jabbed him
in the eye with his thumb at the start of the second round, Bummy went berserk
and punched Zivic below the belt ten times before the referee disqualified
display, Froike always championed and excused Davis. "Bummy wasn't a bad
kid," he once said. "He was really a good kid, but his life was mixed
up and nothing ever worked out right for him. They put him in with Tony
Canzoneri, which they shouldn't have done, because Tony had been a great
champion but now he was washed up. And when Bummy knocked Canzoneri out
everyone hated him.
a guy in a candy store even though I think the guy was asking for it. Then came
his dirty, foul fight with Zivic at the Garden. Everything went wrong for him
right down to the night four stickup guys walked into the bar that Bummy had
just sold to his pal Dudy. No local hood would of thought of sticking up what
had been Bummy's joint. The tough guys knew him and respected him and the joint
was off limits. But some out-of-towners have to come and Bummy told them they
shouldn't stick up Dudy. You know the rest."
One of the gunmen
told Davis—in very offensive language—to mind his own business and to get over
to the wall and put his hands up. No man talked to Bummy Davis like that and
got away with it. So the graceful left hook made an arc through the air
accurately for the last time. The stickup man dropped, his jaw broken in two or
three places, but he held onto his gun. He retaliated with a slug that pierced
Bummy's throat. The gunmen lammed out the door with Davis going right after
them. He died outside on the sidewalk.