"Carter doesn't care about me at all,
and to realize that rips my heart out"

RON LIPTON'S REWARD: Carter turns his back

Ron Lipton in 2010

He was Rubin Carter's sparring partner and is the man who got Muhammad Ali to publicly support the Carter cause. For years Ron Lipton worked on Carter's behalf. He lost his job as a police detective as a result, he says.

To his great disappointment, Carter has shown his thanks by ignoring him, rejecting his pleas for help, and snubbing his invitations. Perhaps the worse slap of all: In the pro-Carter books and movie, he doesn't even exist, and he didn't get his dream job: fight choreographer for the "Hurricane" movie.

Here is his story ... in his words.

By RON LIPTON

Before the second Ali vs. Ken Norton fight in 1973 I went to Deer Lake, Pennsylvania to get Muhammad Ali to help me try to free Rubin Carter.

After I visted Rubin in Rahway prison I felt he was almost giving up after seven years of confinement without hope. I put my job on the line as a Detective in the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office and I wrote a letter to Gov. Brendan Byrne telling him what I knew about the Carter case as an investigator.

In Rubin's book, "The Sixteenth Round," he stated, "I never missed a chance to tell Ali about his loudmouth self." Writing about his fight with Ali's sparring partner Jimmy Ellis in 1965, Rubin said Ali sent Ellis to fight him because Ali wasn't sure he could do the job himself. Just boxing talk, but it pissed off some of Ali's people and Ali did not like it too much at the time.

I went to see Ali and I made a pitch to him which lasted over three hours and won his heart. The next day I went public in the New York Daily News which cost me my job, my home and my family's welfare. I, no one else brought Ali to Rahway prison to help Rubin.

Once Ali got involved, every Madison Avenue lizzard jumped on the bandwagon. Even though I went on Johnny Carson with Ali and Angelo Dundee, and on Dick Cavett's show, and was the first and only police officer to go public to help Rubin at such a level of sacrifice, not one mention of me was made in Jim Hirsch's book about how Ali really came to help Carter.

Rubin, who I thought was my friend, told the tale of this on the Chet Coppock Newsport Talk show aired nationally on 3/25/97 and played at least 10 times in repeat in national telecasts. He said, "If it wasn't for my friend Ron Lipton I would not be sitting here, Ron is a magnificent person who has a strong sense of dignity and honor." Yet not one word of thanks appeared in the Canadians fictionalized account of the Hurricane.

Robbed of a life's dream

I am the most experenced expert on Rubin's fighting style because I am his former sparring partner. I am was an award-winning choreographer on several Muhammad Ali projects. Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, who was in Ali's corner for most all his fights, said in July 2000, "Ron Lipton is the finest fight choreographer in the world." Ali himself said my boxing choreography was perfect.

Despite all this I was robbed of a life's dream -- doing the choreography for "The Hurricane" -- although Carter himself allegedly asked Norman Jewison on 9/27/98 to let me do it and showed him my credentials. I worked on the project -- watching and creating choreography from Carter's fight films -- for eight hours a day for months. Finally I was told I did not get the job simply because I would not make Joey Giardello's fight look like a racial robbery.

I don't blame Rubin, but sometimes I wonder if he had fought for me half as hard as I fought for him, if my dream would have come true.

I remember asking Rubin for a letter to send to a judge when I was falsely convicted of an assault (now overturned) for defending myself against an attack by three men in their 30s who held me for a beating after running me off the road. I was out of work and needed help desperately for my son and me. I asked Rubin for a letter and he said, "I'll have to think about it, I'm busy," and then hung up. When I asked Joe Frazier to write a letter, he did it in a second. Here was Carter -- a guy I loved and helped and never spoke disrespectfully to ever, and gave half my life up for him, and he is helping strangers all over the country -- and he hesitated to write me a letter, saying, "Hey man you are always getting into scrapes."

Rubin helped me once by giving me $1500 to pay my rent after I lost my job in the Prosecutor's office for getting involved in his case publicly with Ali. But I guarantee you I would not have sold my life out for $1500. I did it out of love and belief in his innocence, and here I have to go through a secretary to speak to a guy who I put my life on the line for.

I was never invited to the movie premiere. Carter and Denzel Washington were invited to come to see me win a LIFETIME CIVIL RIGHTS ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, but never answered the numerous phone calls and faxes I sent to invite them. They went on a book tour with Hirsch instead. Every phone call was met with a brushoff.

Film's fight choreography looks awful

The movie about his life has the most amateur, worst boxing choreography I have ever seen. The Griffith fight and Giardello fight look so bad. The style of Rubin Carter does not in any way resemble the way it was. They gave the job to someone who was a friend of Denzel Washington, Tony Claybon. He had Washington throwing punches that looked so bad it was pathetic. They could have had the best, but they did not want it to be real in any way. I would have never believed someone could be so cruel and leave their lifelong friend to be abused by a police department.

Carter knew I did not own a car and had a sick son, he was making a ton of money and would not even come out to visit me, even though I visited him for 19 years in jail. Going on book tours and saving people accused of murder were more important to him than helping a lifelong buddy raise $5000 bail for a self defense situation. He told me to get to work on it myself -- he was too busy. His cruelty to me has shaken my belief in anything good left on this earth.

He lets his secretary give me the brushoff for every call to him I ever made, but I was there for him when he had his eye operation, I was there for both trials, I was there every day visiting him, even when he was in Hudson County waiting the application for the retrial. I stayed after work every night to bring him things to comfort him in jail. I got Ali to put up the $10,000 bail, I brought Ali into the picture at the loss of my job.

lipton6aI was the one leading him into the light after 10 years in prison and went with him to a hotel in New York afterward. We watched my good friend and the welterweight champ, John Stracey, fight on TV while we ate hot dogs together in freedom. All I asked him for was help getting a used car to take my son to the doctor as I had no credit and had lost everything. All I asked for was a letter stating my good character. He hesitated and did not want to be involved, he said. He was too busy with the book tour and helping people falsely accused of murder all over the country.

He let me sit in jail six days where I could have been killed as the only Orange County resident ever sent to Rikers Island. He wanted me to believe he was innocent of three murders and I did everything in my power for 19 years to help him. He said so himself on national TV. I asked for help in a case involving three men in their 30's who tried to beat up me, a 53-year-old man, and he tells me he doesn't want to get involved, he is too busy. I told him I was arrested within one hour of playing an anti-Semitic tape of the police and was being harassed so badly, but not one finger did he lift to even visit me.

The movie is a separate issue and is not his fault, but sometimes I wonder how hard he really ptiched it to Norman Jewison. I have never been wronged so greatly in my life. His heart must be made of stone to let an old friend suffer in poverty so badly after losing everything helping him. But I forgive him. I guess jail did that to him. How can you not show up to visit your best friend getting a lifetime civil rights achievement award? He said to me, "YOU DESERVE IT," but he never showed despite being told about it for two months. Not one note at the end of the movie mentioning my lifetime of work, not one visit from him since 1985 to me or my boy. Even when he comes to New York I ask him to make sure he visits me. Seeing me must remind him of the old days, and we would not want that, would we? So now I don't exist.

I have never heard or dreamed of anyone treating an old friend so cruelly or abandoning them in such a heartless way. Even Ali told me once: I don't know what's wrong with him; doesn't he know you are the one who convinced me to do this? Yet Carter let Hirsch completely omit me from his book. When Ali's name comes up, Hirsch mentions George Lois, a publicist. I mean godammit, Ali would not be there to publicize to begin with if it had not been for me. What did Hirsch think, that Ali just materialized out of thin air after what Rubin wrote about Ali in his book?

Rubin wrote in the acknowledgements that Ron LIpton was an honest police officer who worked to free me. Yeah, well where are you now Rubin, ashamed of your buddy because I'm poor and needed help from a guy who makes $10,000 to $20,0000 a lecture and drives a Mercedes, while I lost eveything from this case and can't even survive in a decent way, and needed the choreography job or maybe a visit, or maybe a thank you on screen. The man doesn't care about me at all, and to realize that rips my heart out.

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Once Ali was involved, he dedicated the Ali vs. Ron Lyle fight to Rubin, but the people paying for it never invited Lipton to the fight even though LIpton lost his job from going public about Carter. Lipton was never invited to the 4/30/76 Ali vs Young fight where Carter beat up Carolyn Kelly. Ali asked Lipton why he wasn't in Vegas for the Lyle fight, and why he wasn't at the fight in Maryland with Young. When told he was not invited. Ali called up all the people who came aboard after Lipton created the whole free Carter movement with Ali and told them he would pull out if Lipton was mistreated again. Ali also verified his position again in Jan 82 in the NJ Star Ledger see website, when he reiterated that LIPTON IS THE ONE WHO GOT ME, HE PUT HIS LIFE ON THE LINE FOR RUBIN CARTER, WHITE MEN DON'T DO THIS, RONNIE RISKED HIS JOB, HIS LIFE AND HIS FAMILY AND I WOULD NOT DO THIS FOR ANYONE (TESITFY AS A CHARACTER WITNESS AFTER LIPTON DEFENDED HIS HOME FROM A RACIST ATTACK) "EX BOXERS TRIAL TO ZOOM IN ON REIGN OF TERROR. I was found innocent but all of the people who were sucking up to Ali just let me die alone. I was neve even invited to the Concert in the Garden but I stuck by Rubin all the way. NOT one lously mention in a screen credit or Hirsch's book ever was mentioned.

I arrived at Clinton prison the day Carter was to go to Passaic County Courthouse and I arranged for Ali to be at the Courthouse. I stayed with Rubin alone with a few people until it was time to leave. He looked at me and said, "Buddy, buddy, I will never forget you are the one who got Ali, and did everything in your power to help me. I will always be your best buddy." I gave him a hug and said no matter what happens I will be there until the end.

lipton8lipton10We left in separate cars because he was still in custody. I drove straight to the Courthouse. The picture of me by Ali's limo shows that I met him there and we went in together. Ali said I was his main bodyguard for the day, and I served as such for him and Rubin. (I was head of the S.W.A.T. team for the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office and the Hudson County Sheriff's Department and came out first in a class of 50 at the FBI firearm instructor's school held by the world famous Ray Piper.)

lipton11lipton4We went inside the court and I sat next to Ali. The judge set bail at $10,000 and asked if the defendant could post the bail. Ali, dressed in black shirt and pants, very quickly stood up and addressed the court. He said, "Your honor, I will post the bail." The judge said very well, Mr. Carter is released on $10,000 bail. I lead the way with Carolyn Kelly, Ali and Carter behind me, and they spoke to the press (picture). We came out of the long corridor from the court-jail. We all went separately -- Carter with Ali, me in my car -- to a New York hotel.

The lawyers were there, along with Carter's family, me and Ali. I sat alone to the side as is my style and let everyone mob Carter and Ali. When everybody got their nut doing that, Ali and Rubin came over to me and Ali said, "This is the man, right here, don't ever forget him, he is my brother forever." Rubin said, "Oh yeah, he's been with me since he's a baby." Rubin's wife kissed me and we sat down to watch John Stracey, the welterweight champ (who still writes me from England to this day) fight for the 147-pound title. They served trays of little hot dogs with mustard.

I left after a couple of hours, along with Ali and his people. I hugged Carter and said, "I hope I have truly made a difference Rubin, I tried with all my might." He said I know you did.

Later he visited me at my home in Rockaway Township to see my son Brett. He came there with his cousin Bubba, his bodyguard. Something happened that day when I was alone with him. He went off to the side with me and I refused what he requested, but it shook me to the soul. Then I heard about the Kelly thing [beating incident in Maryland, April 1976] and still backed him up. I know Carolyn. She likes me and vice versa. I felt bad it happened. Yet when three men attacked me and I asked him for a letter, he refused and did not want to get involved. He said, "You are always getting into scrapes and I am too busy right now traveling." If he had been in front of me, I might have killed him in anger and shame, I was so stunned by the treachery and double standard of his words. At the time in 1999 I was very strong -- not the light welterweight he used to bang around, but as dangerous as him and much more versed in the martial arts with a black belt in judo. I had never been so betrayed in such a callous brushoff in my life.

George Chuvalo told me that Rubin was living with his son, which was arranged as a favor to Carter. Chuvalo is perhaps one of the strongest and toughest heavyweights who ever lived. He was never knocked out or down in fights with Foreman, Frazier and Ali; he was just stopped on cuts. One night George, a dear friend of mine, said his son called him for help because Carter was drunk and threatened him. George raced down to see what was up. He could break Rubin in half with one hand, but did not. He said Carter was crying like a baby saying he was an alcoholic and out of control since he split with the Canadians, which I can understand.

I have never seen anyone with a harder heart than Rubin, who can throw a lifelong friend away in a second and let them rot and die. When I asked him how he could ever permit not one mention of me on the screen or in Hirsch's book, he said, "That's only your selfish ego worrying about shit like that, it doesn't even matter." Doesn't matter my ass -- half the world knows I backed him up to the death and my family never lived to see a simple public thank you, or to see him bring me to the premiere where Evander Holyfield was. I ONLY REFEREED HOLYFIELD TWICE AND SAVED TWO FIGHTS FOR HIM BY MY SPLIT DECISIONS OF ACTION IN THE MERCER FIGHT AND CZYZ FIGHTS. Carter never thought maybe poor Ron and his son both out of work and starving might have one nice day in their lives to share this with me. NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING CROSSED HIS MIND TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.

I asked him to help me get a used car to take my son to a doctor and go shopping. Carter was driving a Mercedes and making a ton of money, his answer, "Naw, I can't loan anyone any money, gotta go, bye." He hung up There isn't a scintilla of mercy or compassion in his entire soul for me or my son. He makes me talk with a secretary who says he is so busy making money and apperances he doesn't have time to speak to anyone. Some day he better make an appointment with God on Judgment Day, and God will not talk to his secretary. Allah, Jesus and Jehova will be eye-to-eye with him, just like with all of us, and I would like to hear the explanation for abandoning me ... not to mention some other more serious events in his life.

Picture Package: Carter Freed on Bail

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