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Sportalks

May 31, 2002

Chuck Benedict

Glendale never has been a site for professional boxing matches, but it

has been a residential draw for world champions Jimmy McLarnin, Jess

Willard and Primo Carnera.

Jim Jeffries was a boxing impresario in Burbank and Jack Dempsey lived

in the Los Feliz area. Another Glendale resident was Fidel La Barba, who

defeated three featherweight champions in non-title bouts, but lost a

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15-rounder for the title.

Then there were the Dundee brothers, the first siblings to hold world

titles. Joe won the welterweight championship in 1927 and Vince held the

middleweight title in 1933 and 1934.

By coincidence, Vince was champ at the time that Carnera wore the

heavyweight crown.

A lengthy conversation with La Canada Flintridge's Vince Dundee, Jr.

included these observations:

Chuck Benedict: Both your Dad and Joe were born in Italy. When and

where were you born?

Vince Dundee: In 1931 in Baltimore. My dad posthumously was enshrined

in the University of Maryland Hall of Fame in the same ceremony as Dr.

Jonas Salk and baseball's Lefty Grove, in 1956. Dad and Joe are in many

Halls of Fame.

CB: What brought you to Glendale?

VD: I had an uncle in the movie business and my mother visited him.

She wanted to stay, so we moved here in 1940. Dad opened up the original

Vince Dundee Cafe on West Colorado.

CB: Wasn't it a hangout for celebrities?

VD: Immediately. Later, I had an annual boxers day and many current

and former champs came, including Jess Willard, excepting when Dempsey

was there. They had a feud after Jack took the heavyweight title from

Jess.

CB: Were there many feuds?

VD: In those days, boxing animosity was rare, and was quietly

personal. Today, boxers often show phony hatred for each other. It's

mostly for hype.

CB: Wasn't your dad very popular? Did he need fake hypes?

VD: No. I have scrapbooks that tell how much everyone loved him.

CB: What about the cafe?

VD: It was the first of many restaurants that the family and I have

owned, including the Kona Kai Inn, Christopher's, some in the desert and

in Glendale. I sold or dismantled them all, in many cases keeping the

property.

CB: Did you get into boxing?

VD: Only as a great fan. I liked writing, and got my degree in

journalism at USC. I have had many articles published.

CB: Is yours a career family?

VD: I met Rita when she was reigning orchid princess of the nation. We

both graduated from USC and were married in La Canada in 1953. Our sons,

Vince III and Scott, own VER, a very large Glendale company with

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