COURAGE INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE RING
POLICE OFFICER EDMUND JORDAN, NYPD 120 PRECINCT (RET)
“Irish” Eddie Jordan was what they called him during his professional boxing career. He joined the NYPD
and was in the Police Academy class of June 26, 1963.
I was in that same Police Academy class, but I didn’t meet Eddie until I was assigned to the 120th Precinct in 1973. As a new Sergeant, I worked with Eddie on patrol duty. I learned of his former career as a boxer from other guys in the precinct. Those who have proven their mettle in the ring do not need to brag or boast about their prowess in the arena. The courage that is required to face an opponent of equal size in unarmed combat is an obvious fact. A certain aura of self-confidence results from such experiences. The Ancient Greeks had chiseled the words “Know Thyself” in stone. Guys like Eddie had acquired that wisdom in the ring.
During some of those tours of duty on patrol, Eddie would tell me stories of his childhood in South Brooklyn. I asked him how he became interested in boxing. He was a skinny kid and
when he traveled to school, he would be the object of some bullying and harassment by older guys. Of necessity, he had to learn how to defend himself. Needless to say, Eddie learned well.
He was a natural southpaw, but learned to box as a right hander. His left jab and left hook became an effective arsenal in his fighting. These punches served him well in his high school
years. After graduating from Boy’s High School, Eddie fought in the Golden Gloves and went on to the semi-finals.
Eddie needed to support himself and became a printer with a Manhattan firm. He continued to box as an amateur and it wasn’t long before he turned professional. Under the guidance of his
manager, Rickey Fasano, he began his career in boxing. He would begin his day jogging and training before he went to work in the printing firm. He turned pro in 1954 and was undefeated in
his first 22 fights with three draws. Eddie’s career included 10 round televised main events in the old Madison Square Garden and the St. Nick’s Arena. One of those fights, with rival Bill Flamio
in the old St. Nicholas Arena was voted one of the Fights of the Month in the July 1959 issue of The Ring magazine.
(News photo by Walter Kelleher)
He fought the Canadian welterweight champion Gale Kerwin to a draw
after ten rounds in a televised event at St. Nick’s Arena. (The referee had Jordan winning that bout).
Eddie remembers how he fought one of the best fighters of that era when he went to New Orleans in June 1960. He met number 4 ranked world welterweight title contender Ralph Dupas in a ten
round bout. He lost that one, but Dupas knew he had been in a fight. Another boxing experience that Eddie recalls was when he traveled to Liverpool, England and met a local favorite named
Tony Smith. In that fight, Eddie knew he had to knock Smith out to win. It was not to be. Those who witnessed the fight offered Eddie a boxing career in the British Isles because of his
Irish name. There were many Irish in the seats who felt that Eddie should have won the decision that night.
On March 6, 1959, Eddie met a heavily favored Stephen Redl in a ten rounder in Madison Square Garden. That fight was a televised event with over 2200 boxing fans in the Garden
watching Eddie give Redl a boxing lesson. What made this fight interesting was that Eddie was substituting for another contender named Gaspar Ortega. Redl became very familiar with Eddie’
left hook. The fight ended in another draw.
On Monday, November 7, 1960, Eddie went into the ring at St. Nick’s to fight a tough opponent
named Ronnie Cohen. Cohen dropped Eddie with a hard right that sent Jordan to the canvas. He was hurt and staggered to his feet at the count of ten. He weathered the remaining time of that
first round and went to his corner to recover. When he came out for the second round, it was a different story. He hammered Cohen with left hooks. He decked Cohen three times and the fight ended in a TKO.
FULL OF FIGHT……Eddie Jordan, Brooklyn welterweight, is a stormy looking individual as he stands of Ronnie Cohen, of New Rochelle, in second round of St. Nick bout. Almost kayoed in the first round, Jordan left hooked his way
to a second round TKO win.
After a few losses, Eddie was disappointed when he couldn’t get a match with the welterweight
champion Emile Griffith. Although his career as a professional boxer ended, he began his life career as a member of the New York City Police Department in 1963. His final record of 21-5-4
is a tribute to his fighting skills.
POLICE OFFICER GABE PERILLO, NYPD
Gabe Perillo is another police officer who has a proud boxing record. Although he never turned professional, Gabe attained fame and glory in the Golden Gloves Championship in Madison
Square Garden. Gabe was a cop in the 120th Precinct when I was a captain. Many times, he and I patrolled the precincts on Staten Island together. Gabe still works out in the same regimen as
when he was boxing. He jogs, works out on the bag and keeps himself in top physical condition. Gabe also had that quiet confidence that I had observed in others who had experience in the ring.
When we would talk about crime and the violence that pervaded many areas of New York, he eyes would have an intensity that I believe he must have had in the ring when facing a determined
opponent. He is not a large man, but his eyes reveal the heart of a contender.
PO Gabe Perillo, NYPD
Photo by NY Cop Online Magazine
Gabe Perillo still works out on the bag. Here he is seen wearing the coveted Golden Gloves pendant that is awarded to a champion.
On Friday, March 22, 1974, Gabe fought in the 48th Annual Golden Gloves before 20,000 cheering fans inside Madison Square Garden. He defeated Ricardo Torres in a boxing
performance before fans that included: Mayor Abraham Beame, Police Commissioner Michael Codd, Fire Commissioner John O’Hagan, State Controller Arthur Levitt, and Special Prosecutor
Maurice Nadjari. Floyd Patterson, former heavyweight champion was there too. He started in the Golden Gloves himself. For Gabe Perillo, the most important guy in those seats was a
former Golden Glove champion named Gabe Perillo Sr. (When I interviewed Gabe about this, he said that both he and his father were 18 years of age when each won his championship title.)
NY Daily News photo by John Duprey
Perillo lands a right to the head of Ricardo Torres in the 106 lb Open title bout of the Golden Gloves in Madison Square Garden
Torres ends up draped over the ropes midway through the second round
NY Daily News photo by Vincent Riehl
Gabe’s left hook ended the bout in a TKO in the third round.
Jay Price, a reporter for the Staten Island Advance was in the seats that night and in his report he said:
“Ricardo Torres was hanging right in there against Staten Island’s Gabe Perillo midway through the second
round when he got his man backed into a corner and moved in for the kill. And that’s when Perillo dropped the
house on him. Three times the golden-gloved left hand flashed in the Garden lights, and, even before the last one
landed, Torres was on his way down and Perillo was on his way to the first Gloves championship by an Islander in 22 years. A moment later, at 1:43 of the third, the referee mercifully stopped it and Gabe
Perillo…champion….leaped into the air in his moment of triumph.”
Staten Island Advance photo by Tony Carranante
Two Golden Glove Champions celebrate victory in the ring. After the event, Gabe hugged his Dad, Gabe Sr. who won the 1943 106 lb Golden Glove championship title.
Photo from personal collection of Gabe Perillo
The courage that these men exhibited in the boxing arena has served them well in their police careers. The citizens of New York City are fortunate to have police officers who have proven
their mettle both inside and outside the ring.
Gabe Perillo Sr. was a renowned artist. His art work includes scenes of famous boxers and other sports figures of our time.
Go the web site below to view his works.
Copyright © 2003 Edward D. Reuss
CLICK HERE FOR MORE STORIES