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Barney Ross
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    (December 23, 1909-January 17, 1967)
    Born in New York City, Kansas
    Birth name was Dov-Ber David Rosofky
    72 wins (22 by KO), 4 losses, 3 draws, 2 no decisions
    World Lightweight Champion (June 23, 1933-April 15, 1935)
    World Light Welterweight Champion (June 23, 1933-April 9, 1935)
    World Welterweight Champion (May 28, 1934-September 17, 1934; May 28, 1935-May 31, 1938)
    Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (1990) and the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (1997)
    In his teens he joined a Jewish street gang with Jack Ruby.
    Many years later, he would be a character witness at Ruby’s trial for killing Lee Harvey Oswald.
    He ran errands for Al Capone.
    He was a heavy gambler, often blowing as much as $30,000 at the track.
    He organized a group of 2,000 Jewish-American WWII vets that he planned to lead in the first Arab-Israeli war, but was blocked when the US State Department refused to issue passports to them (1948).
    He became a heroin addict with a $500-a-day habit.
    His father was shot dead in a robbery and his mother suffered a nervous breakdown, resulting in his living on his own on the streets at age 14.
    He was never knocked out in 81 fights.
    He joined the Marines during World War II and asked to be sent into combat.
    During the Battle of Guadalcanal, he and three other Marines were trapped under enemy fire. After his comrades were wounded too badly to continue fighting, he used their rifles and grenades to single-handedly kill nearly two dozen Japanese soldiers during the night.
    By morning two of the other Marines had died. He carried the survivor, who weighed 90 pounds more than him, to safety.
    For his actions, he received the Purple Heart and Silver Star and was honored at a Rose Garden ceremony by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
    His drug addiction resulted from being treated with morphine for malaria and the pain from his battle wounds.
    His addiction and recovery were dramatized in the film ‘Monkey on My Back’ (1957), with Cameron Mitchell portraying Ross.

Credit: C. Fishel

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