Bummy Davis vs. Murder, Inc. Reviews

“You don’t have to be a fight fan to enjoy Bummy Davis vs. Murder Inc., or even remember the riveting career of Bummy Davis, the ill-starred little Jewish boxer from Brownsville. Ron Ross tells an intense personal story with a powerful sense of social history about the Jewish mob world of the 20s–30s that makes this labor of love one of the most gripping reads in years.”

—Budd Schulberg, author of On the Waterfrontand Sparring With Hemingway: And Other Legends of the Fight Game

“My heartfelt thanks to Ron Ross for bringing excitement back into my reading time. I couldn’t separate myself from Bummy Davis vs. Murder Inc.

—Angelo Dundee, trainer of Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard

“A generation before Mike Tyson emerged from the poverty of Brownsville, Al ‘Bummy’ Davis came off of the same violent streets to electrify boxing fans with a lights-out punch and a wild-child style. With this compelling book, Ron Ross tells the tabloid tale of this Hebrew brawler with astonishing detail and a sense of history.

In the end, Bummy Davis probably died a hero, trying to stop a bar stick-up, because underneath it all he had the hero’s fearless heart. This is a terrific, truthful book.”

—Jack Newfield, author of Only in America: The Life and Crimes of Don King and Robert F. Kennedy: A Memoir

“Until now, if you wanted to find out about Al “Bummy” Davis, a ferocious lightweight contender of the late 1930’s and early 40’s, who knocked out Bob Montgomery in one round and engaged in an infamous foul-fest with welterweight champion Fritzi Zivic, your best bet was “Brownsville Bum,” the much-anthologized piece by W.C Heinz....

Now comes a worthy companion to the Heinz piece in Bummy Davis Vs. Murder, Inc.: The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Mafia and an Ill-Fated Prizefighter, a thoroughly captivating, entertaining, and expertly-layered account of the life, career and death of a man author Ron Ross portrays as one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented boxers of all time....”


Ring Magazine, 2004

“Humming with wisecracks and crowded with oddball characters and lovable cranks, this mesmerizing anecdotal history rewrites the maligned legend of Jewish prizefighter Al “Bummy” Davis. Born Albert Abraham Davidoff in 1920, Davis was a plucky young street scrapper who rapidly became one of the most brash and charismatic boxers of his generation....Having scoured the memories of Brownsville natives and boxing associates for scraps of stories, Ross stitches them together with wonderfully imagined scenes and crackling dialogue....”


Publishers Weekly, 2003

“Pugilist turned biographer Ron Ross spars with us in his debut, an account of the short, mostly happy life of fearless Al “Bummy” Davis (192045), a nice kid with a fierce left hook and a volatile, short fuse. It all took place in Brownsville, a land of gangsters in candy stores, of sudden death among egg creams. Everyone, readers may gather from this text, spoke in colorful argot filled with Yiddishisms: Gertude Berg joined with James T. Farrell, Henry Roth meets Damon Runyon....”


Kirkus Reviews

“The connection between gangsters and boxing, nearly non-existent now, was much larger in scope in the first half of the 20th century. It is against this backdrop that author Ron Ross has penned his second boxing work, “Bummy Davis and Murder, Inc.: The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Mafia and an Ill-Fated Prizefighter.”

Ross deftly captures the atmosphere of this time and place with dialogue written in Runyonesque style, dripping with phrases and syntax reminiscent of the Bowery Boys, Chester Reilly or any “film noir” movies about boxing, New York or both. The era has also been covered well in some of the films of Woody Allen and Neil Simon, but Rosss characters were real, and life was more pessimistic and dangerous. His history is funny in spots, but just as frequently morbid and moving in others....”


Boxing Insider, Mike Greenhill