Barney Ross was one of the greatest Jewish boxers of all time who also met Al Capone and became a hero of World War II.
What a life! That’s not for nothing that today on my blog I decided to write about him!
He was not supposed to become a boxer.
His father was a Rabbi and Barney Ross ambition was to become a Yeshiva student but his life changed forever when he became an orphan.
His father was murdered by a thug in the hold up of his small grocery store.
His mother then suffered a serious nervous breakdown and Barney brothers and sisters were sent to an orphanage.
At the age of 14 Barney Ross decided to provide for himself and his family.
He began to hang out with the tough guys in his neighborhood and became a street brawler.
He even tried to work for AL Capone, who sent him home because he did not want him to become a gangster.
The goal of Dov Rosofsky (Barney Ross) was to make enough money to reunite his family.
So he chose boxing for that because it was a very popular sport then, and began to train.
Barney Ross terror of the rings and world champion
Dov Rosofsky chose the name Barney Ross because he did not want his mother to know that he was boxing.
Thanks to his speed, strength and determination to save his family, he won fight after fight, became a pro and the terror of the rings at the age of 19.
The 1930s were the era of Hitler the monster and his Nazis.
Barney Ross then decided to box with a star of David on his shorts to show the world and the Nazis that the Jews know how to fight.
Barney Ross became world champion in 3 weight classes, which is very rare in the history of boxing.
In 81 fights he was never Knocked Down. Ross stopped his boxing career with 72 wins, 4 losses and 5 draws.
He won 22 fights by knocking down his opponents.
He was recently chosen by the very prestigious Ring Magazine as number 21 among the 80 best boxers of the last 80 years !!! A legend!
Barney Ross retired from the boxing world at the age of 32. But his story is not over.
Barney Ross in the Marines
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Barney Ross decides to join the US Marines to fight for his country.
The Marines, because he was famous, did not want to send him to fight. They wanted him to stay in the US to train the Marines.
Barney Ross insisted to be sent in combat. He knocked out a Marine officer who had made an anti-Semitic remark.
Court martialed he was not punished but sent to fight. Exactly what Barney Ross wanted …
Barney Ross fought with the 8th Marines in the very hard battle of Guadalcanal against the Japanese army in the Pacific.
It was one of the toughest battles in the history of the Marines and the US Army.
One night Barney and three comrades were on patrol when they were attacked by Japanese soldiers.
His three comrades were wounded and Ross put them in a shell hole and protected them all night.
During this long and bloody night, he fired 200 rounds at the enemy who kept attacking.
When his cartridges were finished, he threw 22 grenades at them, all alone and in the dark night.
He was so sure he was going to die that he kept saying the Hebrew prayer “Shema Israel” all night long while fighting and shooting at the same time.
In the morning the Marines coming to help found him alive, with the bodies of 22 Japanese soldiers that he killed in battle alone against them all !
Two of his colleagues died during the night from their wounds, and he saved the third one by carrying him on his back.
For his heroism he won the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, and a Presidential reward.
Drug addiction defeated
He was sent to the hospital for injuries he sustained during the night and because of the malaria he got, he was treated with morphine.
He became because of that medical treatment a morphine addict back in the US. And spent $ 500 a day to take drugs.
He succeeded thanks to his iron will to beat his drug addiction.
Barney Ross then sent weapons to the young state of Israel fighting for its independance and decided to go there to fight for it.
The State Department didn’t let him do that.
Barney Ross died of Cancer in his hometown Chicago at the age of 57.
His greatest pride was that he succeeded in reuniting his family.
If you liked this article you can know more about Barney Ross in that book about his life.