Nowadays the idea of fight fixing makes little to no sense because of the apparent underground and decline of the Italian American crime syndicate in New York City and New Jersey. This is popularly demonstrated in the HBO series The Sopranos which documents the Mafia relations between New York and New Jersey, taking the perspective of the main character Tony Soprano, played by the late James Gandolfini. Throughout the show, they make numerous references towards the decline of the mob force, compared to how it is highlighted in movies such as The Godfather. Another movie that excellently highlights the power of the Mafia during the post-war era is the Martin Scorsese classic ‘Raging Bull’, which saw the legendary Robert De Niro nab his second Academy Award, it highlights the influence the Mafia had on fight fixing at the peak of their power surrounding some of the dives that Jake LaMotta had to take throughout his career in order to try and position himself in title contention.
One of the most famous cases of Mafia influence, which ironically nobody can confirm if fixed or not, but heavily speculated on is the rivalry between Primo Carnera and Jack Sharkey. The second fight between them saw Carnera stop Sharkey in the 6th round via Knockout, some speculate that it was a phantom punch, others believe that it looked legitimate. The problem surrounding this was that Carnera was always thought to be involved in fight fixing, even having his license to fight removed in some states such as California. The biggest question surrounding both men is that they were known to have connections with criminals, Owney Madden was photographed with Primo Carnera on occasion, Jack Sharkey was photographed with Al Capone, both of these gangsters need no introduction, but the investigations by police of fight fixing and the clear connections to criminal powerhouses leaves much for speculation. Carnera often argued that he never fixed a fight, this is commonly believed by a majority of people, as the belief is that if Carnera was involved in fixed fights then he wasn’t actually aware of the fights being fixed in advance. Sharkey also contested, stating that the fight was not fixed, his doubt around the legitimacy of the contest’s result was always disputed, even training partners, coaches and his own wife were sceptical, positive that he in fact through the fight on purpose. Unfortunately for us, we shall never have the true answer the legitimacy surrounding the title reign of ‘The Ampling Alp’ Primo Carnera.