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The Perlowski Files!

My boxing experiences/part 1


The following article was posted by Jim on the The Chip Board on May 22nd, 2015

Back in 1982 Caesars Palace was the class act of the strip. It was beautiful. Tremendous landscaping, benches, little ducks running around and the most beautiful grass I had ever seen. When Caesars hosted a prize fight it was done with care and quality. It was an event! There were no shootings, no fights, and no riots. The prize fights were conducted in a constructed stadium utilizing the back parking lot area behind the pool and the tennis courts. Seating was built as well as the ring and concessions stands. It was marvelously done. You could see the stadium from the freeway as you passed Caesars. There were no gigantic towers built to the edge of the freeway destroying the view. The second gaming area casino had not yet been built that would give access to additional gaming and entrance to the Forum shops. With the construction of the second gaming area the quaintness and character of a fabulous hotel and casino was, in my opinion, destroyed. The argument was that Caesars had to remain competitive. I guess this meant destroying the very essence of what made Caesars the “King of the Strip”. Today it is just another humongous joint among many others. If Jay Sarno were alive I am sure he would not believe how they destroyed his beautiful hotel/casino.

During my career with the internal Revenue Service (IRS) I had many titles. Titles really never meant much other to mean you were given more work to accomplish for the same money you were being paid. During 1982 someone in authority, who received a phone call from the National Office, realized the Internal Revenue manual required the audit division to provide the Special Events Coordinator for the District. After all, Las Vegas was the fight capital of the world so get off the dime and move.

Guess who? You are correct….Me! At the time the primary special event in the Las Vegas District was boxing and the yearly World Series of Poker and the Hall of Fame poker classic. I held the position of Las Vegas District Special Events Coordinator from 1982 to 1986.
The first fight I was required to “handle” was the Holmes/Cooney fight scheduled for June 11, 1982 at Caesars Palace. What were the requirements for a special events coordinator to perform for a boxing event? I didn't know nor was there a place to go to find the answer. National office didn't know either. They just delegated.

I concluded it could not be that difficult so I sat down and constructed a plan similar to an audit plan I would put together for an entity I was going to audit. I decided I had to interview the host site manager, the fight promoter and of course the participants. I also realized I had to make sure all taxes were paid and everyone involved was current and in compliance with the Federal tax laws, Sounds easy, but in reality it was a nightmare. It was a fun nightmare, but a nightmare never the less.

I went upstairs to find General Harry Wald who was at that time President of Caesars Palace. He originally operated Caesars for Jay Sarno but was now operating it for the Pearlman brothers. I needed his “juice” to get in and meet Don King who was the promoter of the fight. Harry picked up his phone and rang King’s suite. “Don, I have an IRS Agent in front of me who needs to speak with you about the upcoming fight. His name is Jim Perlowski and I have known him for a number of years.”

That was all it took. I was taken up to Don’s suite. I knocked on the suite door and the door opened by an obvious bodyguard type who welcomed me and asked me to take a seat. I never again saw a body guard or was there anyone but celebrities in Don’s suite. I met many celebrities over the years but that’s a different tale.
I explained to Don I needed to meet the fighters, get contracts from him, et al. he said come on I will take you to Larry’s suite right now. As far as Cooney goes you will have to contact Rappaport or Jones, his managers. We left Don’s suite and down the hall was Larry’s room. Don knocked on the door yelled out and Larry’s massage therapist opened the door.

Larry was lying on his stomach on the massage table. He looked up smiled and asked what he could do for me. I told him I would need to speak to his lawyer or accountant concerning his taxes. No problem Larry said and took a card out of his wallet and handed it to me. “Call him, he handles my affairs. I will let him know to cooperate with you and give you anything you ask for.” I thanked him and Don and I got up to leave. Larry stopped us and asked me if I would like an autographed picture. I said sure. Larry had the young lady get a picture from a small file cabinet. It was a 4x5 black and white photo of Larry standing with boxing gloves on in a fight position. He asked me how I spell my last name and signed the picture to Jim Perlowski, best wishes…Larry Holmes, Heavy Weight Champion of the world. It was my very first autographed picture of the 100 or so I have accumulated from that period.

We went back to Don’s suite. Don informed me where his office for Don King Productions was located in the hotel and told me to come there tomorrow morning and he would introduce me to the individuals I would be working with.

The following morning was hectic. I met Ms. Celia Tuckman, Don’s personal secretary. No one got to see Don without going through her. No doubt in my mind she was the most powerful person in the office. Then there was Duke Durden, Don’s side kick, confidant and good friend. Duke was a former college football referee who over the period of years I got to know very well and became good friends. He nicknamed me “The Bounty Hunter”, a nickname that stuck and even carried over to the World Series of Poker because I always got my man and the taxes for the government. Billy Baxter, probably the greatest low ball poker player in the world, would always introduce me as “the Bounty Hunter”. At one time Billy had three different world champion boxers in different weight classes, the only manager EVER to accomplish that.

I also met Bobby Goodman Sr. and Jr. They were Don’s matchmakers. Billy Prezant, a cut man used by the various fighters when they didn’t have their own. Charlie Lomax, Don’s personal attorney and only client Charlie handled. Last but not least was Johnny Mag short for Mangiaracina. Johnny was the all-around person who made sure everything went well on fight night. He also escorted fighters to the ring. I learned a great deal about the boxing business and the ins and outs of the behind the scenes deals and problems.

I obtained the contracts for the fight and had Charlie Lomax contact Gerry Cooney’s representatives for an appointment. Cooney’s suite was located on the main floor of Caesars. You had to go down a hallway to get to it. At the beginning of the hallway was a desk with a guard stopping anyone who was not authorized from entering. It was a dimly lit hallway that gave one a weird feeling walking down. I had previously returned to the office and asked Agent Herman Rabinowitz to accompany me in meeting Cooney. I don't know why I requested Herman to go with me but going down that hallway I was glad that I did.

The guard took us to the suite door and knocked Mr. Rappaport answered. We introduced ourselves and were let in. Gerry Cooney was flat on his back in bed. He smiled when he saw Herman and I. Before I could say anything, Gerry said “hey, you got a Rolex”. He went on further, “I got a Rolex also but I left it at home because of the fight.” Gerry was watching Rocky III which had not as yet been released to the theatres. It was a copy that Stallone had given him to enjoy. Gerry asked me if I had seen it. I said no. he said he would ask Stallone to give me a copy to watch. He picked up his phone and called Stallone. Obviously, Stallone was in the hotel. Before I could say no someone was at the door with the copy. He handed it to Herman and told Herman to give it to me to watch after he was done and to return it to Gerry.

Herman and I left the copy with Rappaport. Neither one of us had any desire to see the movie. We did both receive personalized autographed pictures signed in green ink. Mr. Rappaport informed I would have copies of Cooney’s latest tax returns by the end of the week.

I returned to King’s office to inquire about all the secrecy involving the Gerry Cooney camp. Don heard me talking with Duke and came out of his office. Holmes is going to punish him until the late rounds and then knock him out. All of Cooney’s fights have been with over the hill opponents or “bring his own music”. In addition, Larry dislikes him immensely. I asked why??? Don said you will have to ask Larry and just laughed that hearty laugh he is noted for and returned to his office. Duke shook his head and said I don't know what he is talking about and I don't want to know. It wasn't until a few years later I had enough nerve to ask Larry about the Cooney fight. He told me and I have never repeated it to anyone. It’s not a big deal and it’s personal between Larry and Gerry and should remain that way. I have never read anything about it so I figured they worked it out between themselves.

My first fight experience was something. Caesars Palace was humming. I dumped the sport coat and tie and, when working the fights, I wore running suits like everyone else. This allowed me to fit in and to look less intimidating. It also made my acceptance easier by the fighters and everyone else involved. When walking the halls of the IRS building EVERYONE including the District Director knew I was working the fights and had no problem with my clothing. I was provided a press pass by Bobby Goodman that allowed me access to everywhere I had to go. Every fight I covered for Don King Productions I was given complete access and the fullest cooperation. Don never once said no to any document requested or person to be interviewed.

In future write-ups I will discuss other promoters, fighters and my experiences over the four year period. I made many friends in the fight world and the poker world. Some I still speak with, many have passed away. The few remaining I try to keep in touch with. Without sounding like I'm bragging I did a terrific job and brought many fighters into compliance with their tax responsibilities. I NEVER alienated one fighter or had to threaten anyone. I miss that portion of my old job. What is going on with IRS today shocks me as well as anyone who believes in fair play. If one has to officially exercise authority than one has lost control of the situation See you next article!