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A Shot at the Title

Arlene Sparaco Colli (Author)

ISBN: 0-7414-0879-1 ©2002
Price: $10.95
Book Size: 5.5'' x 8.5'' , 98 pages
Category/Subject: FICTION / Sagas

“A Shot at the Title” is a family drama about the discrimination against the Italians in Greenwich Village in and out of the boxing arena during the beginning of the Twentieth Century

Back in the late Eighteen Hundreds, the Irish migrated to the East Side of Greenwich Village, New York City. Although they didn’t face the challenge of learning a new language, they were faced with many problems trying to blend into this new world. Eventually they were able to secure jobs and find their place in society.

Then the Italians arrived.

It was 1892 when Pasquale Sarubbi and his cousin, Domenico Sarubbi embarked upon a new world to fulfill their they thought. They weren’t prepared for the many obstacles that faced them when they first stepped foot on Ellis Island. The thought of cobblestones made of out gold quickly diminished as they encountered rejections and discrimination. These were words as foreign to them as the English language. After seventeen years of struggle, they finally found a place in this new world.

Domenico Sarubbi opened a bakery. Dom’s wife had died in childbirth leaving him with Alphonse to raise by himself. Pasquale Sarubbi opened a cobbler shop on Prince Street, married Tressa Valenoti and had their children, Anthony, James, Philip, Bobby, Rose and eventually Joseph. Both families lived at 32 Thompson Street.

Pasquale’s life centered around his children, his wife and his work. He was a proud shoe maker. They lived in peace. That was until Anthony, his eldest, involved himself in h is first street fight. This minor street brawl evolved into a war between the Irish and the Italians in Greenwich Village.

Against his father’s wishes, Anthony trains with Manager Joe Val with the aspirations of becoming a professional boxer. At that time the Irish dominated the boxing arena. So in order to be a contender, one had to change his identity and assume an Irish name to enter the ring. Anthony chose the name, “Wagner”, from his favorite baseball player, Honus Wagner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Thus began a legacy handed down from brother to brother. They became known as The Fighting Wagners

As each brother followed in Anthony’s footsteps, Pasquale’s family unit that he worked so hard for began to break down.

The fights increased and so did the tension between the Irish and the Italians. These fights continued to take place in and out of the boxing arena.

After Joe Val’s efforts to create a contender, Anthony was ready for his title fight. His opponent, John Coulon, was not yet ready to fight Anthony, now known as Young Wagner. Major efforts to fix the fight were in the works lead by another trainer, Red Dawkins.

Then an unexpected turn of event took place that night of the fight. This revolutionized the history of Italians in the Irish dominated sport of boxing.

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