Apr. 23, 1963 - In Detroit today, wrestler Dick the Bruiser (pictured) pleaded innocent to an assault and battery charge following a barroom brawl involving Alex Karras, suspended Detroit Lions’ football star who will meet him in a wrestling match Saturday at Olympia Stadium. The Bruiser, whose real name is Richard Afflis and who played pro football with the Green Bay Packers, demanded a jury trial in a preliminary arraignment before Judge Joseph A. Gillis. Afflis, known as a villain in wrestling circles, appeared with a black eye and holding a cigar stub in an ivory holder. Police said the Bruiser entered a downtown hangout for athletes and sports fans early today and was refused service by James Butsicaris, a partner of Karras’s in the tavern. “I want that fat, four-eyed bartender to serve me,” the Bruiser said, pointing to the 250-pound, bespectacled Karras, according to police reports. Butsicaris told the Bruiser to temper his remarks. The Bruiser grabbed Butsicaris by the front of his shirt and threw a punch at him. The battle involving the Bruiser, Karras, Butsicaris, and about five patrons was in full tilt when officers arrived. The Bruiser was carted off to a hospital where five stitches were required to close a cut under his left eye. Police said it took eight officers to subdue the Bruiser and handcuff him. Patrolman Andrew Meholic, whose right hand was fractured in the brawl, signed the assault and battery warrant against Afflis. Judge Gillis set the Bruiser’s trial for Monday. The judge said he did not wish to interfere with the Bruiser’s scheduled bout with Karras Saturday. Olympia Stadium officials, meanwhile, said ticket sales for the match were brisk. Police Commissioner George Edwards said the brawl would not change his recommendation that Karras be allowed to become a partner in the Lindell Bar. “I don’t see why any advertising of this sort should affect my recommendation,” he said.
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