Subj: The BAWLI Papers No. 75
Date: 99-04-06 21:45:28 EDT
From: email@example.com (J Michael Kenyon)
The BAWLI Papers
(Boxing As We Liked It)
Edited by J Michael Kenyon
Issue Number 75
Tuesday, April 6, 1999
New York City, New York, US of A
IN THIS ISSUE: JACK HURLEY MANEUVERS HARRY THE KID INTO HEAVY TITLE PICTURE
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RYAN, N.Y. BOXING PILOT, ARRESTED
(Associated Press, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 1952)
NEW YORK -- Tommy (Eboli) Ryan, fight manager, and his brother, Patsy Eboli,
were arrested on assault charges today as a result of a brawl in Madison
Square Garden January 11 after the Ernie Durando-Rocky Castellani boxing
District Attorney Frank S. Hogan said Ryan and his brother were arrested on
third-degree assault charges on the basis of two informations returned by a
New York County grand jury.
Ryan's license to manage fighters in New York state already had been
suspended for life by the New York State Boxing Commission.
The grand-jury information against Ryan contained two counts, one that he
struck referee Ray Miller in the ring, and the other that he struck Armand
(Al) Weill, matchmaker, with fists and feet in Castellani's dressing room.
The information against Ryan's brother contained one count accusing him of
assaulting Weill with his hands and feet.
Ryan managed Castellani in the bout, won by Durando.
(ED. NOTE -- During 1951-52, the wily old slyboots, "Deacon Jack" Hurley --
one of the shrewdest managers in boxing history -- maneuvered against the
International Boxing Club juggernaut in an effort to get his charge, a
blown-up old middleweight cutie named Harry "Kid" Matthews, into the
heavyweight title picture. This, after refusing to answer the entreaties of
another old slyboots, Jack "Doc" Kearns, who was eager to give Matthews a
shot at the lightheavy title held by his Joey Maxim. Hurley announced that
Matthews could no longer make the 175-pound limit (although he had secretly
been negotiating a fight with middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson that
fell through) and would fight, forthwith, as a heavyweight. Then he started
talking title fight with the Joe Walcott camp, which wasn't terribly eager
to take on the more logical contenders, Ezzard Charles and Rocky Marciano.
Eventually, the IBC octopus forced Walcott to defend his crown against
Charles (after at least one state, Louisiana, withdrew recognition of
Walcott's title claim). Walcott won a 15-round decision. Hurley, meanwhile,
made such a ruckus that he got an "elimination" bout with Marciano --
"outdoors in a ballpark" -- the following month, only to see Matthews
knocked cold in the second round. And then, in one of the more dramatic
heavyweight title fights in history, Marciano rallied to knock out the aging
Walcott and win the heavyweight diadem in September, 1952. Following are
some of the articles describing the chess game that preceded that series of
MATTHEWS DUE TITLE SHOT, IT SAYS HERE
(Seattle Times, Tuesday, January 22, 1952)
By Alex Shults
Harry (Kid) Matthews will be signed to battle Jersey Joe Walcott for the
heavyweight boxing crown within the next few days.
The bout will be under the promotion of Harry Hunt, Los Angeles
public-relations man. He is affiliated with an independent motion-picture
Matthews' manager, Jack Hurley, made that prediction this forenoon as he and
Harry prepared to make a mysterious trip in "the next day or two."
Hunt was named as promoted yesterday by Felix Bocchicchio, manager of the
Negro champion, in answer to a demand for immediate action from Bob
Christenberry, chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission.
Christenberry said that Walcott's title will be taken from him in New York
unless he agrees within 15 days to meet a legitimate challenger.
Matthews, Rocky Marciano of Brockton, Mass., and Ezzard Charles, from whom
Walcott lifted the title last summer, are the leading contenders.
"That's the man," said Hurley, when told that Bocchicchio had named Hunt as
"I talked with him by telephone last night," Hurley added.
"Hunt was ready to guarantee Matthews $75,000 to box Sugar Ray Robinson, the
middleweight champion, in Detroit last year, but he couldn't sign Robinson."
Television rights for a Walcott-Matthews fight would be worth a fabulous
amount, said Hurley, whether sold to a sponsor or retailed through theater
Hurley described Hunt as an intimate of Walter O. Briggs, owner of the
Detroit Tigers, who died last week.
Bocchicchio later said Walcott was considering an offer of $150,000 from Sam
Silverman, Boston promoter, to defend his title against Marciano indoors in
March or outdoors in June.
"And in addition," Bocchicchio said, "we have been guaranteed an additional
$750,000 for the television rights regardless of where the fight is held."
Bocchicchio said he needed a few days to consider the offer.
Tom Tannas and Jake Mintz, managers of Charles, said, "Our contract calls
for Walcott to fight Charles before he meets anyone else for the title."
Christenberry, replying to a question as to whether he knew such a contract
"We do not have such a contract on file at the commission."
PUTTING PRESSURE ON THE CHAMPION
(Seattle Times, January 22, 1952)
By Eugene H. Russell
Negotiations for a heavyweight championship fight between Jersey Joe
Walcott, the champion, and Harry (Kid) Matthews of Seattle came out into the
open today. Joe's manager, Felix Bocchicchio, last night declared, "It looks
like we're going to close for a fight with Harry Matthews."
Jack Hurley, manager of Matthews, has been in close contact with Bocchicchio
for many weeks and admits arrangements for the bout are near completion.
It was not intended for announcement just yet, but the demands of the New
York State Athletic Commission yesterday that Walcott sign for a title
defense forced the issue. New York and the National Boxing Association have
rules requiring champions to defend their titles every six months or forfeit
their crowns. Walcott won the title last July.
WALCOTT CAMP PREFERS MATTHEWS
(Associated Press, January 22, 1952)
NEW YORK -- Felix Bocchicchio, Jersey Joe Walcott's manager, today indicated
he would placate the New York State Athletic Commission by signing within
the required 15-day period for a defense of Walcott's heavyweight title.
"We may decide to sign within 15 days for three bouts -- probably a first
one in March with Harry (Kid) Matthews on the West Coast and a title defense
in June," Bocchicchio said, adding:
"We have a verbal agreement -- made under duress -- to defend against Ezzard
Charles and it is safe to say we will take on one tune-up fight, preferably
Bocchicchio didn't explain how Walcott, as heavyweight champion, could
engage in a tune-up with Matthews. Every time a heavyweight king steps into
a ring for a bout he risks his title.
TV SETUP MAKES VEGAS BOUT UNLIKELY
(Seattle Times, January 31, 1952)
By Alex Shults
Only one development is fairly certain on the heavyweight
Jersey Joe Walcott will be forced to defend his title some time next spring
His opponent may or may not be Harry (Kid) Matthews of Seattle.
Las Vegas probably will not be chosen as the site of a Walcott-Matthews
The Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co., which owns and operates the coaxial
cables necessary to pipe television across the nation, informed The Times
that Las Vegas has no coaxial cable.
And terms discussed yesterday in Washington dealt with gate receipts, plus
television and radio rights. The boxing setup today demands that any title
fight in the West be sent via live broadcast to Eastern TV viewers.
A qualified TV engineer here expressed surprise when he heard of the idea of
telecasting a Las Vegas fight via an airplane hovering overhead.
"It is technically possible," said the engineer, "but it is not feasible."
The engineer added that telecasting from airplanes has not been tried.
HURLEY ASSURED IBC PACT WON'T HOLD
(United Press, Thursday, Jan. 31, 1952)
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A person close to the negotiations reported today that
champion Jersey Joe Walcott had received an advance of $50,000 after he and
Harry (Kid) Matthews signed "conditional contracts" for a heavyweight title
fight in May at Las Vegas, Nev.
That report exceeded considerably the substance of last night's official
announcement from the negotiators. The announcement merely that Walcott had
been offered a $250,000 guarantee for the fight and that his manager, Felix
Bocchicchio, had "tentatively accepted" the offer.
Today's informant said, "the bout is set for Las Vegas unless attorneys for
the International Boxing Club can prevent its being staged."
Promoter Jim Norris and his IBC have prior contracts on Walcott. Those
documents are in the safe at New York headquarters of the IBC. One is a
three-year contract for Walcott's exclusive services. The other is a
three-way contract in which Walcott guarantees to make his first defense
against ex-champion Ezzard Charles in a return bout under IBC promotion.
Harry Hunt, a California "public relations counsel" who is negotiating the
Las Vegas fight, assured the managers of Walcott and Matthews here yesterday
that neither IBC contract would "stand up in court because of their monopoly
Jack Hurley, who manages contender Matthews of Seattle, eagerly agreed that
the documents "will be tossed out of court."
In Miami, Norris said today he had no reason to believe that Walcott would
not go through with his contract to give Charles a return match.
Norris refused direct comment on reports in Washington that Walcott and
Matthews had signed "conditional contracts" for a heavyweight title fight.
"I know nothing about that offer," Norris said. "Until I talk with
Bocchicchio here Saturday, I have no reason to believe that he will back out
on his contract to fight Charles."
NAME OF ACTRESS SURFACES
(Associated Press, January 31, 1952)
LOS ANGELES -- The name of movie actress Irene Dunne came into the
picture -- somewhat unwittingly on her part -- tonight in the tangled
negotiations involving a title fight between heavyweight champion Joe
Walcott and Harry (Kid) Matthews.
A spokesman for Miss Dunne said a group, unsolicited by her, came to her
several weeks ago, suggesting that she sponsor such a match for charity, all
profits to go to a local hospital fund.
He said the group included Harry Hunt, the promoter who conferred in
Washington yesterday with the fighters' managers; Vincent X. Flaherty, Los
Angeles Examiner sports columnist, and perhaps one or two others whose names
she doesn't recall.
IBC OPPOSES MATTHEWS-WALCOTT GO
(Associated Press, January 31, 1952)
MIAMI, Fla. -- Jim Norris, president of the International Boxing Club, said
today he would not release Jersey Joe Walcott, heavyweight champion, from
his IBC contract.
"The only thing I'm interested in is Walcott's fight with Ezzard Charles,
former heavyweight title holder," he said.
Norris made the statement after announcement of a tentative agreement
between Walcott and Harry (Kid) Matthews of Seattle for a fight.
In Pittsburgh, one of the three members of the Pennsylvania Boxing
Commission, John D. Holahan, said:
"I intgend to oppose vehemently any recognition in the state of Pennsylvania
wherein Walcott and Matthews are to be considered in the heavyweight title
"I am amazed to hear there is any suggestion of the Walcott-Matthews
heavyweight fight. Charles is the logical No. 1 contender for the crown and
Walcott definitely has a contract for a return match.
"Matthews is not listed among the first ten heavyweights and is not a
Jake Mintz, co-manager of Charles, said he isn't a bit disturbed by reports
of the proposed Walcott-Matthews fight.
"These are not the old days," Mintz said. "We have boxing commissioners to
protect the great sport. I still feel confident that Walcott will go through
with the contract and appreciate what we have done for him."
WALCOTT GETS NEW DEADLINE
(Associated Press, Friday, February 1, 1952)
NEW YORK -- The New York state athletic commission took itself off a
technical limb Friday by giving heavyweight champion Jersey Joe Walcott more
time to sign for a title defense against Ezzard Charles.
As far as the commission is concerned, the 38-year-old Camden, N.J.,
gladiator now has until February 17 or so to sign for a title bout, instead
of February 5. The February 5 deadline had been set by Commission Chairman
Robert Christenberry on January 21.
At the same time the commission Friday held a hearing into the Johnny
Saxton-Livio Minelli fight which was stopped in the seventh round at Madison
Square Garden Friday and cleared all concerned. Minelli's purse of $5540 was
ordered released. Referee Ruby Goldstein stopped the bout in the seventh,
awarding a victory to Saxton. The commission said Goldstein's action in
halting a "one-sided match" was within his authority.
Christenberry and his two commissioners, C.B. Powell and Leon Swears,
clarified the Walcott date issue in response to questions by newsmen.
WRESTLING BOOMS, BOXING ON ROPES
(Associated Press, Monday, Feb. 18, 1952)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Television and prosperity have knocked the boxing
business for a loop in California but wrestling is enjoying an unexplainable
boom at the box office, a state official testified today.
Joe Genshlea, secretary of the California Athletic Commission, told a
legislative committee that people just won't go to fights when they can tune
in TV and get the best ring talent direct from Madison Square Garden.
Youths won't become boxers, he added, if they can make more money on the
many other jobs available to them right now.
Genshlea was summoned before the Joint Legislative Committee on Veterans
Affairs to explain why the State Veterans Home at Yountville, Napa County,
did not get more money from boxing and wrestling admissions taxes.
Just how badly boxing has fallen off, Genshlea said, is evident from the
fact that the Hollywood Legion, which used to draw $7,500 gates each week,
now averages only $2,000.
Overall last year, Genshlea said, boxing drew 419,190 paid admissions,
$912,751 in gate receipts and paid the state $44,000 in the admission tax.
Wrestling, on the other hand, he went on, drew 1,832,000 spectators,
$1,813,000 in gate receipts and paid $109,000 in taxes to the state.
WALCOTT'S TITLE GO ACCEPTANCE ARRIVES
(Associated Press, Monday, Feb. 18, 1952)
NEW YORK -- A spokesman for the New York State Athletic Commission announced
today it had received a telegram from the manager of Jersey Joe Walcott
saying the world heavyweight boxing champion had agreed to meet Ezzard
Charles in a title bout.
"Walcott has complied with the commission's request," the commission
Bob Christenberry, commission chairman, recently gave Walcott until Feb. 17
to agree to a title bout, or be stripped of his championship. With Feb. 17
falling on Sunday, Christenberry extended the time to today.
The commission said the telegram was received from Felix Bocchicchio,
Walcott's manager. Bocchicchio prefers the bout be held in either
Philadelphia or Atlantic City. The fight probably will be set for June.
DEMPSEY SAYS HENRY MAY BE CHAMP
(Associated Press, Monday, Feb. 19, 1952)
CHICAGO -- Jack Dempsey did a bit of handicapping today for the current crop
The old Manassa Mauler, speaking before the Union League Club, had this to
say about today's fighters.
Harry (Kid) Matthews -- good fighter, except he is a lightheavy, not a
heavyweight. One handicap, he's getting old. He's 29.
Clarence Henry -- lots of ability and a terrific puncher. If he improves in
the next six months as he has in the last eight, may wind up the champion.
Ezzard Charles -- good fighter, but like Matthews, he's a lightheavyweight.
Joe Walcott -- gives his best but he's old.
Rocky Marciano -- pretty good puncher, but doesn't have much savvy. Not too
much experience. Can he hit a good man?
"The fight game today is controlled by one group which is helping put the
small clubs out of business," Dempsey also observed. "Fights are juggled
around so that an individual doesn't actually own a title."
YVON DURELLE KEEPS TITLE
(Associated Press, Wednesday, July 16, 1958)
MONTREAL -- Rough, tough Yvon Durelle, the fighting fisherman from New
Brunswick, retained his British Empire light heavyweight title tonight when
Mike Holt of South Africa was unable to answer the bell for the ninth round
of the scheduled 12-round fight.
Holt, who weighed 169 pounds to the Canadian's 173 1/2, said he was
exhausted and unable to continue after sagging in his corner after the
eighth round. The fight goes into the books as a ninth-round technical
It was a free-swinging affair for eight rounds with Durelle having Holt on
the floor in the third round. The champion himself was in trouble in the
fifth as Holt rallied and carried the attack to Durelle.
YVON DURELLE'S BIG NIGHT
(Saint John Telegraph-Journal, Dec. 9, 1978)
By Bill Donovan
Turn back the pages of time. Turn them back 20 years, back to Dec. 10, 1958.
It was cold in Montreal that night, a brisk five degrees below zero on St.
Catharines St., outside the Montreal Forum. The temperature was a chilly 45
inside the building where 8,848 hardy souls were gathered around the squared
Elsewhere in Canada and the United States, boxing fans were gathering around
their television sets. They were awaiting the arrival of that long walk from
the dressing room to the ring of two gladiators who would battle it out
moments later for the light heavyweight boxing championship of the world.
The champion was ancient Archie Moore who was to defend his title for the
seventh time since dethroning Joey Maxim in 1952.
The challenger was a 29-year-old fisherman from Baie Ste. Anne, N.B., Yvon
The oddsmaker listed Durelle a 4-to-1 underdog.
The referee was renowned boxer of many moons before, Jack Sharkey.
Sharkey called Durelle and Moore to Centre stage where they were given their
instructions. Durelle returned to his corner, Moore to his.
The bell rang for the first round and the fighters headed for each other
like charging bulls.
It was to become what many consider the greatest lightheavyweight fight ever
fought. It was to be judged by ring historians as the greatest fight of the
half century. It was to make the "Thrilla In Manilla" look like a Sunday
School picnic. It was to be judged the sports story of 1958 in a Canadian
Twice during the first round, Durelle came withing one second of dethroning
the ancient warrior. Four rounds later, Durelle again had Moore down for a
Victory was so close, yet so far away for the fisherman, the pride of New
Brunswick, the king of Baie Ste. Anne.
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From: "J Michael Kenyon"
Subject: The BAWLI Papers No. 75
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 21:37:18 -0400