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Book: Biography on Frankie DePaula

Biography on Frankie DePaula 1960s lightheavyweight who was slain by the Mafia

Genre: True Crime / Boxing
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 268

Hailing from the tough Westside section of Jersey City, Frankie DePaula appeared to be a phenomenon in the making when he stopped all of his opponents’ enroute to claiming a Golden Gloves title in 1962. That Frankie failed to establish a boxing legacy befitting of one imbued with his natural physical endowments and punching talent is one of the largely unsung tragedies of the fight game.

Here for the first time, Adeyinka Makinde, author of the definitive biography of boxing immortal Dick Tiger, tells the remarkable story of a man seemingly possessed of a force of nature; a charismatic pied piper of Jersey City who sold out arenas and inspired such devotion from fans that some were willing to bet their houses on him being victorious. Frank Sinatra sat ringside at several of his bouts, while Frankie Valli and Joe Namath were close friends. But Frankie was
also a man whose character flaws would lead him to an early grave.

The book explores the controversial aspects of his life and career including:

. The rumours that his 1969 fight with Bob Foster for
the world’s light heavyweight championship was fixed


. His involvement in a notorious $80,000 heist of
electrolytic copper

. The precipitous death of his first manager, Pat Amato,
whose role was inherited by Mob front man Gary

. His dalliance with the married step-daughter of a
High-ranking member of the Genovese crime family

. Rumours that he was compromised as an informant
for law enforcement agencies

. His shooting in an alley, his subsequent disintegration
and eventual demise in a charity ward of the Jersey
City Medical Center

Although Frankie appeared to some to be a true life exemplar of a character from ‘ Dead End’; a wild and unreconstructed deviant headed for disaster, his life is set against the backdrop of the often times dysfunctional environs of Jersey City, for long the seat of power of an administration dominated for decades by Mayoral potentate Frank Hague and maligned by the corruption of local politicians and the increasing influence of organised crime.

Recounted are Frankie’s exciting tussles with the likes of Charlie ‘The Devil’ Green, Jimmy McDermott and Dick Tiger. Here too are reminiscences of Frankie’s explosive power as a street fighter and the fear he inspired as a Mob collector.

Although prone to being brutish, Frankie could also be big of heart. And while his many sins rendered him as heartless, he was capable of feats of kindness. Tough, but ultimately weak-minded; Frankie’s tale is a cautionary one: a sobering rendition of one man’s capacity for self-destruction

Adeyinka Makinde is Nigerian by birth and based in England. He trained as a barrister and is a lecturer in law. He wrote the well-reviewed biography, Dick Tiger: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal, which was published in 2005.

“Makinde’s research is impressive”
-Boxing News –Britain

“…a compelling and inspiring read”
-The Fist -Australia

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