Elbaum grew up in Erie, PA and after seeing Willie Pep box was inspired to box and racked up 40 wins in a 50 bout amateur career. A life in boxing followed.
He started matchmaking at 15 and three years later promoted his first bout. He also engaged in 10 pro bouts, (6-3-1), often stepping in for no-show fighters on cards he promoted. Armed with an eye for talent, in over six decades in boxing he served as matchmaker for over 10,000 fights and promoted over 1,000 cards, including 196 over a 5-year period at The Tropicana in Atlantic City. Among those he has advised, matched or promoted include Earnie Shavers, Simon Brown, Tony Tubbs, Maurice Blocker, Nikolay Valuez, David Telesco and Hall of Famers Muhammad Ali, Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson, Willie Pep, Aaron Pryor, Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Robinson. A master of hype, the colorful Elbaum is known for his promotional ingenuity including such unique promotions as “The World’s Worst Boxer” where the loser had to retire, selling advertising on the soles of a boxer’s shoes and staging a boxer’s wedding in the ring before his fight.
His anecdotes inspired countless stories and publicity for promotions he staged around the world.