Bobby Goodman, legendary Hall of Fame matchmaker and publicist, dead at 83
Hall of Fame matchmaker, publicist and promoter Bobby Goodman passed away on Sunday in a hospital in New Jersey. He was 83-years-old.
Goodman, who was born on June 8, 1939 in the Bronx, New York, was introduced to boxing by his father Murray at a young age, and spent much of his formative years in the training camps of legendary figures Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano and Sugar Ray Robinson.
It was no surprise when he followed his father into the boxing business. He began assisting him as the publicist for Kid Gavilan’s welterweight title defense against Gil Turner in Philadelphia in 1952.
Goodman initially stepped away from boxing and studied at the University of Florida and then worked for four years in the U.S Coast Guard. After receiving honorable discharge, the lure of boxing once again pulled him back in. His father opened Murray Goodman Associates and the two were once again in unison working for the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Ken Norton. They also handled events for Don King and Top Rank.
His good worked hadn’t gone unnoticed and he moved over to work with Don King, where he worked in the role of Director of Boxing and Matchmaker from the mid 1970s-1985.
During that time, Goodman was an integral part of DKP and was a key presence in some of boxing biggest events including “The Rumble in the Jungle” and “The Thrilla in Manila”
“Bobby Goodman was a great man, a dear friend and an asset to the sport of boxing,” said King. “He was a tireless worker and loved boxing and everyone who was a part of boxing. We will truly miss him and we send our deepest condolences to his entire family. The Lord giveth and the lord taketh away.”
Goodman decided to switch his focus and began a new job as vice-president and matchmaker at Madison Square Garden Boxing. He helped cultivate talented fighters like Aaron Davis, Buddy McGirt and Kevin Kelley, all of whom won world titles.
After a decade away, Goodman re-joined forced with King as Vice-President of Boxing Operations and Public Relations.
Goodman was awarded the prestigious Boxing Writers Association of America’s James J. Walker Memorial Award for long and meritorious service in boxing in 1979.
He was inducted into the International Hall of Fame in 2009. Along with his father, they are the only father-son to receive the honor.
Goodman was survived by his four daughters and nine grandchildren. The Ring passes our condolences to them at this difficult time.
The family has asked that any donations are to be made in his honor to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].