Primo

Frederic Mullally, Author Robson Books $25.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-86051-745-0
Published in Britain in 1991, this fluent biography tells the story of one of the shoddiest events in the shoddy history of boxing: the history of Primo Carnera (1906-1967), the 6'7"", 264-lb. Italian who was heavyweight champion of the world from 1933 to 1934. A gentle, decent and trusting man, virtually illiterate, he was picked up while working as a circus strong man by French entrepreneur Leon See, who dreamed of making him the greatest pugilist of all time. To give his fighter confidence, he arranged for Carnera to win 12 of his first 14 fights (he won the other two honestly), which was sufficient to give him a reputation in Europe. Moving to the U.S. in 1930, the Italian was taken over by a group of gangsters headed by Owney Madden, who arranged to have his protege win his first 14 fights here. Eventually Carnera got a title fight and won, only to be badly beaten by Max Baer a year later. His boxing career left him with only a few thousand dollars, and in 1946 he began to earn big money as a wrestler and an occasional bit player in Hollywood. He died at 61 in 1967. Britisher Mullally (The Silver Salver) has told the sordid tale so well that on occasion, it almost calls for tears. There are about a dozen rather conventional photos. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
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FORMATS
Paperback - 210 pages - 978-1-86105-242-1
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