Billy Joel: 'Piano Man' was a butt-kicker in the ring?Written by Leroy Cleveland
The legendary Bill Joel, a singer-songwriter and composer, and one of the most successful musicians ever, may also be able to knock you into next week.
Although he's endeared millions with performances, music apparently wasn't his first love.
As a youngster living in Long Island, NY, Joel started to box to simply protect himself, having previously been a victim of bullying.
Who knew young Billy would flourish in the ring and eventually enter local tournaments?
And keep in mind, New York's amateur boxing program is no joke and was, perhaps, even more competitive when Joel fought. The program has produced Mike Tyson, Gerry Cooney, Riddick Bowe, Carmen Basilio, Buddy McGirt, Iran Barkley and many more, including a fella named Mickey Rourke.
As an amateur, Billy Joel won his first 22 bouts and even competed in the Golden Gloves before dropping back-to-back scraps.
In his final bout, his opponent managed to break Billy's nose and, subsequently, the young man would decide to pursue a career as a musician.
Now it makes sense... Joel mentions two boxers in the same passage in his 1989 hit 'We Didn't Start the Fire.'
Perhaps Sugar Ray Robinson and Rocky Marciano were early idols?
It's not yet known at what weight Joel participated. At a lean 5'5," he may have been a lightweight (132 lbs in the amateur ranks) or a featherweight (125 lbs in the amateur ranks).
What would have happened had Joel won those last two amateur boxing matches and didn't get his nose broken?
Would the 'Piano Man' have been the next Willie Pep or an early incarnation of Oscar De La Hoya or Floyd Mayweather?Perhaps Billy Joel would have achieved super stardom as a fighter too?