Mushy Callahan had hands down one of the great nome's de guerre ever to come down the fistic pike. Unfortunately, his name was better than his game ... Mushy ( It's even fun to write it!), was a Jewish kid from New York City that fought mostly out of Southern California.
Mushy first garnered notice when he kayoed Ace Hudkins twice, both times in the 10th round in 1925. He followed this up in 1926 with two 10 round decision victories over Jimmy Goodrich & a loss to future long time California referee & boxing judge & a top lightweight contender in those days, Jack Silver. Oddly enough, after the loss to Silver, Callahan suffered another loss to Baby Joe Gans (L-10). This obviously encouraged the totally bogus paper champion of the Jr. Welterweight's, Pinky Mitchell (Another great name for a fighter! ), who had literally been granted his title following a contest promoted by Mike Collins, publisher of the weekly Boxing Blade. Collins, of course also managed Mitchell. I know this is strange & twisted stuff, but it's true ... Anyhow, Mushy cleaned Pinky's clock for ten rounds & was subsequently recognized world wide as the Junior Welterweight champion. This only goes to show that the devious machinations of modern day promoters like King, Arum or the Duva's are hardly breaking new ground when it comes to sleazy opportunism ... Back to my man, Mushy. After pummeling Pinky, Mushy finished out the year with two non-title 2nd round KO victory's over Charley Pitts & Joe Tiplitz.
1927 wasn't very kind to old Mushy. His record for the year was three wins (1 KO), 4 losses (one by kayo). Luckily for Mushy, they were all non-title bouts. His most notable opponent that year was future world welterweight champion (1929-1930), Jackie Fields (L-10 . Callahan also neglected to defend his title in either '28 or '29. Over the course of that period he engaged in 14 non-title fights winning only 9 of them. In July of 1929 he lost a 10 round decision to the " Whitechapel Whirlwind " aka the great, Jackie " Kid " Berg (How's that for another all-time boxing moniker! ). He finally defended his title on February 18 1930, against the aforementioned Berg (KO by 10). The NBA had stripped Callahan of the title in January, apparently worried that the title would leave America. At the Berg fight, after the announcement that the fight was for the Junior Welterweight Championship of the World, Lord Lonsdale shouted --"Don't be absurd, there is no such thing as a junior championship!"
Following the loss to Berg, Callahan promptly retired & joined the army at the age of 24. After his stint in the Army, Mushy attempted a comeback in 1932. In one of his first fights back he decisioned Todd Morgan, the former Jr. Lightweight champion. The comeback was aborted when Mushy suffered a brutal 2nd round KO administered by a prelim fighter named Baby Sal Sorio.
After his final retirement, Mushy operated a haberdashery in Hollywood. Since he was in Hollywood & had acquired a certain celebrity as a former world champion, Mushy was able to schmooze his way into a film studio gig as a technical director in boxing films.
His job was to teach movie stars to act & look like real boxers on film & Mushy worked as a technical adviser on films for almost 40 years! Some of the bigger stars he coached were Wayne Morris in Kid Galahad & Elvis Presley in the remake of the film two decades later. Erroll Flynn in Gentleman Jim & Montgomery Clift in From Here To Eternity, which won an Academy Award. The last actor he worked with was James Earl Jones in The Great White Hope.
Mushy also ran a fitness & conditioning program at the Warner Bros. gym for almost 15 years. Among the dozen's of celebrity's he trained was Jane Wyman, President Ronald Reagan's first wife.
Ol' Mushy sure had a full & varied life ... for instance, while he was doing all this movie related stuff, he still found the time to referee many world championship fights in California. Among them were Floyd Patterson vs. Roy " Cut 'N Shoot " Harris, Archie Moore vs. Tony Anthony, Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Bobo Olson & Sammy Angott vs. Juan Zurita.
Vincent Morris Scheer, better known as Mushy Callahan, The Fighting Newsboy, was 81 years old when he finally met his maker on June 14 1986.
Rest in peace Mushy, it was a life well lived ...
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