The Post-Journal

Frankly Speaking

The ranks of Jamestown's and the area's old-time boxers was thinned again this week with the passing of Augie Carlson. Augie, a heavyweight, was known for his punching power. In fact, his brief career covered 54 fights and he won 53 of them by kayoes, which must be some kind of record. Big Augie voluntarily ended his boxing career after "Swede" Gustafson of Mount Jewett, PA died following his knockout loss to the Jamestown man at St. Bonaventure University, where boxing was being staged in those days. Mike Battaglia of Jamestown recalls wrapping Augie's hands before one fight at St. Bona. "I was there on a scholarship and someone asked me to wrap his hands. He was the greatest puncher I ever saw and I have seen a lot of them," said Mike.

Frank Driscoll, another local man, knew Carlson well and saw several of his bouts. "I recall he was always willing to fight anyone, anywhere, even on short notice when some scheduled boxer would drop out. He'd just eat his supper, gather up his ring togs, and leave as nonchalantly as a laborer going to work on the night shift."

Carlson fought anyone the late Tommy Moore, then the promoter, would pick out for him. Moore once told this writer Carlson was probably the most devastating puncher in the world at that time. Tommy, who fought many top-ranked lightweights over a period of years, had seen some pretty capable boxers.

One local story illustrates how widely Augie's punching power was known among the merchants of misery. It seems Akron, Ohio had a young fellow who was being built up for better things (his name has been lost in the shuffle) who had scored a string of kayoes himself. Eventually he was offered a bout with Carlson in Akron, the fellow's hometown. Augie was unknown out there but the Ohio boy's handlers did some checking and Augie was turned down as an opponent. "His handlers said 'no', Moore told this writer, saying 'he punches too hard. We are looking for a light hitting and fast-moving man our boy can crowd in on'."

You didn't move in on Augie Carlson in those days without having your head served up on a platter.


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