In 1962, Dick Tiger won the world middle weight boxing championship.

The difference in Tiger's case is that it wasn'tboxing that took the heart out of him; it was the dream that he triedto support with the purses he earned after he had reclaimed themiddleweight title and then won the light heavyweight championship.


There was a time when we in Australia might never have known of natural disasters, pain or distress in another part of the world. Now we read almost instant updates and subsequently make a decision about what we will do – if anything – as a result of this knowledge.

Tiger inspired lots of Nigerians to go into boxing.

"The Lion of Mid-West."The match was declared a draw, although I thought Wonder Boy won.

During the 1960s, the Sicilian "Cupola" and the American"Commission" began to seriously cooperate in the narcotics trade,despite their expressed sentiment that heroin and cocaine were somehow less"respectable" products than extortion and murder. The Sicilian faction was still more ruthless than its American counterpart, often resorting to the murder of judges and other public officials, as well as journalists, whose activities they considered inconvenient. Palermo's Falcone-Borsellino Airport is named after two such judges, and there is a monument in Piazza 13 Vittime (13 Victims), at the end of Palermo's Via Cavour, dedicated to the memory of people killed by the Mafia.

I stared atthe knotty, heavily muscled body.

On the other side of the ocean, several Italian-American culturalorganisations decry the persistent cinematic image as nothing less than bigotry, citing the (accurate) statistic that fewer than one percent of Italo-Americans are in the Mafia. A few of these organisations,echoing the official position held by the FBI until the 1970s, denied the veryexistence of the Mafia until it was mentioned in criminal cases in federal courts in the 1980s. Until then, anti-defamationlobbying garnered some isolated and unexpected results; it was strange, forinstance, to hear references to "the syndicate" in American telefilmswhen everybody knew from context that the teleplays' characters were referring to the Mafia, which American mafiosi usually referred to as "our thing" or "our business." Sicilians laugh at the charming Italo-American myth that "the Mafia doesn't exist," but they also enjoy and

The euphemistic ''problem'' waswell understood.

I asked Tiger about the split, and hesaid, ''He takes the lion's share, but I will take the Tiger's.''His wit might have caused him to smile in self-appreciation, but itdidn't.

Giardello hadn't had a license to box in New Yorksince 1957.

Unfortunately, cultural factors have sometimes added to the confusion; tooutsiders, New Yorkers Rudolph Giuliani and John Gotti seemed to representopposite sides of the same ethnic coin, and the negative side of that coin still appeals to some of America's Italian descendants in search of an easily-acquired cultural identity, the so-called Renting trilogy at the DVD store is easier than reading Dante's . and were successful parodies, while and presented a slightly more accurate, and less varnished, view of the Mafia in America.

''But that is not the entire story,'' Tiger explained patiently.

In Italy, films such as ("The Grimaldis") present the glossy cinematic portrayal of the homegrown version of the Mafia based on the American model, complete with lavish homes, luxury cars and attractive, well-dressed people (its use of the name of the ruling dynasty of Monaco implicitly associating mafiosi with royalty). This is an image that contrasts sharply with the reality we see on the evening newscasts - of plump, ugly men with unattractive wives and ordinary cars, living underground as (fugitives) despite their wealth. When , a Mafia boss, was finally arrested, he was living in a makeshift bunker outside his native Corleone.