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Biofile Michael Marley Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Former newspaper boxing columnist, Vice President/press officer for Don King Productions 1994-1999, boxing manager, attorney.

Early Boxing Memory: When I started the International Cassius Clay Fan Club when I was 12. I had members from all different countries. The name of the publication was The Louisville Lip. For two years, I wrote letters to him before he won the title. I finally got him on the phone at a hotel in Boston. I imitated his voice. He asked if I was a little white boy or a black boy. I said, Does it matter? I met him in the lobby. Later I went to his fights as a guest. I was always Ali’s greatest fan. I think he’s the greatest human to walk the planet.

Childhood Dream: Sportswriter in New York. To become a lawyer. To manage a heavyweight champion of the world… two down, one to go.

Favorite Movies: Five Easy Pieces. Casablanca. Shaft. Shaft’s Big Score. Shaft Goes To Africa. Super Fly.

First Job: Copy boy for Boston Globe (age 16).

First Car: Blue Ford Fairlane.

Nicknames: The Mauler. In boxing, Cassius Clay said I “float like a bull and sting like a moth.” Breezy – from the late, great Ben Greene. Said I wrote like the wind.

Favorite Meal: Pasta, Mexican or lobster.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Chocolate chip.

Greatest Career Moments: Winning four Emmy Awards as a producer for Howard Cosell’s show on ABC “Sports Beat. That includes one I produced on NBA player Bill Robinzine who committed suicide. I worked with the late Arthur Ashe on it. Also, covering boxing for the New York Post and working for the world’s greatest promoter… Don King.

Favorite Boxers To Watch: Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali. Irish Joey Archer. When I was a kid. Superb boxer. In Sugar Ray Robinson’s last fight he lost to Joey Archer. When I was an amateur I tried to copy him. Today, he’d be a world champ. He was taught by Whitey Bimstein and Freddie Brown – two great trainers. Mike Tyson. King Ipitan, Shannon Briggs (heavyweight Mike managed). Derrell Coley. Paul Vaden. Orlando Canizales. Julio Cesar Chavez. Pipino Cuevas – another guy I loved. Great puncher. Always a smile on his face. The Silent Assassin. Loved Pipino.

Favorite TV Shows: Howard Cosell’s interviews with Muhammad Ali. A show unto itself. ABC’s Sports Beat. Like a 60 Minutes of sports. The Honeymooners. Sargent Bilko – awesome. Bilko was great.

Hobbies/Interests: Boxing. I eat, sleep and breathe boxing. Once you catch it, you got it for life.

Favorite Athletes To Watch Outside Boxing: Michael Jordan. As a baseball player, I think what he’s doing is awesome. Andre Agassi. I like his flair. Ted Williams. Timeless. I was there in his last at-bat at Fenway Park. He hit a homerun against the Orioles. Don Chaney.

People Most Admired: Don King – the most brilliant promoter in history. Tremendous ego, tremendous pride, and like Howard Cosell, a tremendous work ethic. Howard Cosell – he brought real integrity into sports broadcasting. Gutsy. He stood up in defense of Ali when not many did. Jerry Lisker. He was a great sports editor. He fought for his reporters. And his three favorite sports were boxing, boxing and boxing. We had the best sports section in New York, if not the country. He brought all the talent together.

Don King Story: During the time Mike Tyson was incarcerated in Indiana on the rape charge, we were doing a Julio Cesar Chavez pay-per-view show in Vegas. So the phone rang in the media center and I picked it up. It’s Mike Tyson, he says he has to speak with Don right away. Don’s doing a phone interview with some radio station from Sacramento. So I wrote on a sheet, in big block letters, TYSON ON THE PHONE. And Don waved me off. Don’s like, Call your local cable operators! Julio Cesar Chavez! Viva Mexico! Call your local cable operator! An affordable pleasure, a pleasure you can’t afford to miss!

All the sudden I hear like furniture being smashed or thrown around in the background. I say, Mike, what the hell is going on? He says, I gotta go, these guards are getting out of line now. I’m gonna have to straighten ’em out. Crash! The phone was dead. So Don did about fifteen more interviews. I said, Don, that was brother Tyson on the phone. He said, Mike Marley, I know it was brother Tyson on the phone. But he’ll call back tomorrow. When the show is over. He’ll call collect from the same location and he can’t help us now. Cuz there ain’t no pay-per-view where he is located. Well, since you put it that way, Don, I understand. I always cited that as the extreme business-related focus Don King has. Even a phone call from an emotional Mike Tyson from prison – Don didn’t take his eye off the ball, which was, Call you local cable operator! $49. 95! Julio Cesar Chavez.

Eduation: University of Nevada/Reno (Journalism); Fordham Law School.

(Notes: Mike Marley did it all in boxing and was always super kind to me. He hired me to do Biofile interviews with all of Don King’s fighters in the 1990s which were published in all of Don King’s official programs. I remember Mike once telling me that Don “loves your Biofiles, how they show the personality of the boxers and their family background…” The last time I saw Mike was at the after party for Mike Tyson’s Broadway Show Undisputed Truth almost a decade ago. Last time we spoke was by phone a few years ago for features I was working on about Don King and LeRoy Neiman. Word is this boxing legend passed away at his Cape Cod, MA home this week. Good bye old pal, thanks for being a friend, colleague, Biofile advocate and always wonderful company.)

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