May 1, 2008
Tribal Affairs: Boxing’s Golden Boy was Jewish
Boxing’s “Golden Boy”—a sports celebrity on par with Joe Namath, though never a world champ—was raised Catholic in East L.A. But his second wife was Jewish, and Aragon converted so he could marry her (and presumably his third wife, who also was Jewish; his fourth, however, was not). From a short appreciation I wrote about Aragon for this week’s paper:
Julian Eget, the EVP of the World Boxing Hall of Fame, which inducted Aragon in 1990, told me that the Golden Boy might not have been an observant Jew, except for enjoying the food, but he was certainly a proud one.
“It was incredible for me,” Eget said. “It just doesn’t happen; most of the time it goes the other way, people changing their names and trying to hide from being Jewish.”
Aragon was so proud of his heritage that Eget believed had made the rare Abrahamic decision to receive an adult circumcision.
“No. That’s not true,” Aragon’s son assured me, offering some details I left out of the story. “My dad had his sh—clipped when he was a kid.”