BASS AND FALCO
On this day in 1932, Benny Bass and
Tony Falco kicked off their all-Philly rivalry that
spanned two fights over three years.
Tony Falco, who was known as the
"South Philly Sheik" was named the number one contender
for Barney Ross' Jr. Welterweight crown by the National
Boxing Association (NBA) after victories over former
champ Jackie Kid Berg, Young Peter Jackson and Bobby
Pacho in New York. The NBA ordered Ross to defend
against Falco on April 30, 1934 but the match never
Falco and Philadelphia legend Benny
Bass (ex 126 and 130 lb world champ) had a bitter feud
that had the local boxing community buzzing for years.
Tony, who was managed by Phil Glassman and was a stable
mate of Bass, was considered a can't-miss prospect who
was riding a 36-bout unbeaten streak. But he was tired
of playing second banana to Bass and demanded a shot at
Benny. He asked Glassman to release him from his
contract so he could meet Bass. Glassman let him go.
The cocky Falco predicted that he was a sure thing to
beat Bass, which angered and disappointed Benny.
"Off all the fights I've had, there
never was one, said Benny, that I'd rather win than this
one. It's more than just a fight to me. Its a matter
of pride - and you can tell the fans that Benny Bass
takes pride in his work. For the last six months all
I've heard was 'Falco can lick Bass,' and I'm a little
bit burned up. You see, I brought Tony along when he
was just a kid. And now he and all his friends belittle
my efforts and love to tell what Tony will do to me."
They fought at the brand new
Convention Hall on September 12, 1932 before a packed
house. In a vicious battle, Bass had Tony down four
times and on the verge of a KO in the final round (10th)
when he seemed to let up and allow Tony to last the
limit. Falco was furious that Bass went easy on him and
remained bitter towards "The Little Fish."
Ironically, two months later, Bass
sued Glassman to let him out of his contract. One of
the points in his testimony was that he was made to
carry "a score or more" opponents on Glassman's orders.
Bass then signed with Max (Boo-Boo)
Hoff, a former partner of Glassman and now a hated
rival. A few years later, the highly rated Falco
returned to the Glassman fold but just a few months
after this, Bass left Hoff and re-signed with Glassman
as well. It wasn't long before Tony wanted out and left
Phil and campaigned for a Bass showdown, which took
place at the Arena in April of 1935. After another
bitter struggle Bass was awarded the decision in the
rematch, but many thought Tony had won it.
Phil Glassman later had a feud with
Herman Taylor that wound up in court. All of this in
Philadelphia - "the City of Brotherly Love!"