SI Vault
Tex Maule
March 01, 1965
Big Julie (above) is a horse lover, a horse loser, a big talker and the manager of Bigger Ernie Terrell. One or the other of them is going to fight Eddie Machen next week
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
March 01, 1965

The Mouth And The Mitt

Big Julie (above) is a horse lover, a horse loser, a big talker and the manager of Bigger Ernie Terrell. One or the other of them is going to fight Eddie Machen next week

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

"I told myself a long time, don't bet that jock even if the race is over and the official sign is up and his horse win and I got a license to bet all the $2 tickets I want to after the race is over." It was Big Julie speaking again, bitterly. "How can I be so uneducated?" he asked in an anguished growl. He threw away his ticket and started the long walk back to the paddock.

"I'll go to Chicago about two weeks before the fight," Big Julie said. "That Terrell is a good man. Last year there's this fight in St. Louis. It ain't really a fight, it's a program for maybe 10 charities—Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, 10 charities, one way or another. So they want Ernie to fight, they give me a contract for $3,000. They got George Jessel, Tony Martin, all kinds of big stars. So the priest gives me the contract, says $3,000, and I look at it and I say, 'How much these big stars gonna get?' and he says, 'Nothing.' So I sign the contract, then I tear it up and I say, 'Write it again for $1.' "

Big Julie halted and stared at his companion. Julie is dark, but his eyes are light blue and they express something his heavy voice cannot when he is exercised. "So I fight there," he said. "I'm fighting some bum and I win, and when it is over, I tell Ernie, I say, 'You go out there and tell them next year you gonna come back as the heavyweight champion of the world and you gonna fight for that same dollar. And he did and all them famous people got up and stood on their feet and they give him a standing ovation."

He shook his head in admiration of both Big Julie and Ernie.

"Then he took out his guitar and he played them three songs and Bob Hope come on and he said, 'How am I going to follow a man like that? Can't only fight, but can play the guitar and sing.' "

Back in Chicago, Terrell was dressed and ready to leave the gym. He wore an elegant light-brown suit and he stopped for a moment to talk to some of his brothers. He is one of 10 children—there are seven boys and three girls in the family. His father owned a 60-acre farm in Mississippi until Ernie was 12, then moved his family to Chicago so that the children could get a better education.

"Come on up to my room," Ernie said softly. "We can play a little music."

"I know Ernie don't throw the right hand enough," Big Julie said, studying his racing form. "He can knock you cold with the left, so he use the left a lot. But he knocked out Bob Foster with the right hand, so he got a good right, no matter what they say. If he just use it more. This No. 2 horse, if it can get out of the gate, it can't lose."

He walked over to a group of jockeys' agents and began to shoot the breeze, which with Big Julie is something more like working up a gale. He has a thing about betting on Bob Ussery because Ussery is a neighbor of his on Long Island. He was looking for someone to tout him on Ussery's horse and he had no trouble finding his man.

"He gets a horse out fast," the informant said, in answer to several loud and leading questions.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7