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John Jarrett tells the story of Joe Louis’ Madison Square Garden clash with Jersey Joe Walcott, and how the integrity of referee Ruby Goldstein never wavered

RUBY GOLDSTEIN was having a tough day, working for the big Schenley distillery with Christmas only three weeks away. But Ruby had something else on his mind that December day in 1947. Back in his New York office, he called his wife, Mae, at home. “Any messages for me?” he asked.

Mae sounded excited. “Yes, yes,” she blurted out. “You have to call the commission as soon as possible.” A few minutes later, Ruby, a licensed referee, was on the phone to the offices of the New York State Athletic Commission. He was told to be at Madison Square Garden at eight o’clock that night. Ruby knew what that meant, he was going to work the big one. Joe Louis and Jersey Joe Walcott for the heavyweight championship of the world. He was still smiling by the time he got home.

A quick shower and he had something to eat as Mae packed his bag, putting in the gray flannel shirt and trousers, the black bow tie, the boxing shoes. Then Ruby was off, heading for the subway, already crowded with people going to the Garden for the fight.

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TAYLOR TO TOP RANK – What the move means for the unified champion SAUERLAND SPEAKS – The many different faces to the WBSS supremo MAKING HISTORY – Shields becomes a three-weight titlist in record time MUCH, MUCH MORE – Including the story of Louis vs Walcott at MSG