Subj: The BAWLI Papers No. 81
Date: 99-05-09 01:46:34 EDT
The BAWLI Papers
(Boxing As We Liked It)
Edited by J Michael Kenyon
Issue Number 81
Saturday, May 8, 1999
New York City, New York, US of A
IN THIS ISSUE: DOC KEARNS PROMOTES THE FIRST GREAT FIGHT IN LAS
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JOE LOUIS CHALLENGED BY SGT. MILLS
(Associated Press, Saturday, February 12, 1944)
LONDON -- Sgt. Freddie Mills of the Royal Air Force
and the light-heavyweight champion of the British
Empire, challenged Sgt. Joe Louis, world heavyweight
king, to a title bout "if and when" the American comes to
(The U.S. war department in Washington has
announced that Louis soon would be sent overseas to
entertain U.S. servicemen in a series of exhibition
Ted Broadribb, Mills' manager and who guided Tommy
Farr in his bout with Louis, said he had cabled the
challenge to Mike Jacobs in New York and said he
suggested that the proceeds be given to some charity
selected by an English-American committee.
Mills is a leading contender for the British heavyweight
title and two years ago defeated R.A.F. Pilot Officer Len
Harvey, who held both the light-heavyweight and
heavyweight Empire titles. However, only the former
crown was at stake at the time.
(In New York, Jacobs, promoter for the Twentieth
Century Sporting Club and holder of a contract to
promote all of Louis' bouts, said he had not received the
cable challenge from Broadribb.)
ARMSTRONG IN WRECK, TAKEN IN AS DRUNK
(United Press, January 23, 1949)
LOS ANGELES -- Henry Armstrong, former holder of
three world boxing crowns, was booked as a drunk
yesterday when police found him in his wrecked
automobile and hauled him off to jail after a brief tussle.
Officers said Hammerin' Henry, as he was known when
he held the feather, light and welterweight titles, was
found sitting behind the wheel mumbling to himself. The
automobile was wrapped around a post at the roadside.
They said he cursed them roundly as they sought to
pull him out.
"If you put me in jail, I'll put a curse on you and you'll die
in three hours," the radio patrol officers, R.R. Cooper
and R.L. Russell, quoted the one-time pugilist.
Armstrong, now 37, put up a fight as the policemen tried
to get him out and into the rear seat of their patrol car.
Police said he gave his occupation as a boxer-manager.
Armstrong's last professional bouts were in 1945 when
he attempted a brief comeback.
JACOBS REFUSES TO QUIT AS PROMOTER
(United Press, March 2, 1949)
By Frank Eidge, Jr.
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Mike Jacobs, elderly and ailing
president of New York's 20th Century Sporting Club,
said today he would try to maintain supremacy for his
boxing organization in the wild promotional scramble
launched by Joe Louis' retirement.
Jacobs, at his Miami Beach winter home, appeared
undaunted by the fact that Louis -- who until yesterday
had been considered the 20th Century Club's most
valuable asset -- now was a promotional rival, as
director of the new "International Boxing Club."
Nor did Jacobs consider quitting because of new
threats from the Tournament of Champions in New
York, or because promoters from London to Cincinnati
were trying to arrange contests that might yield them
the vacant heavyweight crown.
Jacobs declared: "I'm president of the 20th Century,
and I am going to stay in there punchin'."
Mike, who has been the world's top fight promoter for
more than a decade, made this statement after a
conference with Harry Markson, managing director of
20th Century, and attorney Sol Strauss, who arrived
late yesterday by plane.
Markson agreed with Jacobs that the 20th Century
"would be in there."
Their first concern was Promoter Louis, who in his dual
announcement of retirement and promotional plans
yesterday disclosed that the International Boxing Club
already had moved to gain control of the heavyweight
crown by signing Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe
Walcott for a "title fight."
And Louis was backed in that disclosure by
Commissioner Abe L. Greene of the National Boxing
Association. Greene said the NBA would recognize the
Charles-Walcott winner as champion. However,
Chairman Eddie Eagan of the New York Commission
said he preferred some sort of tourney.
Friends of Jacobs said he and shrewd Harry Markson
probably would seize upon this difference of opinion
between boxing's two top officials to create a title
dispute and perhaps dual "champions" in the
heavyweight division, that is, if the NBA did recognize
the Charles-Walcott winner as titleholder.
Meanwhile, Louis was spending his first full day as ex-
champ at Nassau in the nearby Bahama Islands. today,
he will give an exhibition there.
Promoter Jack Solomons of London announced he
would match the winner of his June fight between
Bruce Woodcock and Freddie Mills with American Lee
Savold for the "world championship."
And Savold's manager, Bill Daly, said blond Lee would
claim the title if he beat the Mills-Woodcock winner.
As the promotional scramble broadened, New York's
Tournament of Champions began sending out
invitations to leading heavyweights for an elimination
AD WOLGAST DEATH INVESTIGATED
(United Press, March 2, 1949)
STOCKTON, Calif. -- A grand jury today began an
investigation of the injuries received by Ad Wolgast, 61-
year-old former world lightweight champion, at the
Stockton State Hospital.
Officials of the hospital have claimed that Wolgast
suffered four broken ribs in a fall over a bench.
The Grand Jury heard testimony from several
witnesses -- including Lyman Ferris and Bryan Stadler -
- and then adjourned. The nature of their testimony was
Ferris, admitted ex-convict who allegedly falsified
records to obtain employment at the hospital, was fired
last Thursday. He was accused of beating Wolgast.
Stadler, College of the Pacific student and regular
hospital attendant, was suspended for failure to report
Dr. R.B. Toller, hospital medical supervisor, said
Wolgast gave practically an incoherent account of the
Attorney General Fred Howser reportedly had sent his
Chief Investigator, George Griffin, to Stockton to aid the
Wolgast, rated by many as the greatest lightweight of all
time, has been a patient in state hospitals since 1927.
He was transferred here recently. He won the
lightweight crown in 1910 by beating Battling Nelson in
40 rounds at Richmond, Cal.
MOORE AND VALDES MEET MONDAY
(United Press, Sunday, May 1, 1955)
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Light-heavyweight champion
Archie Moore and Nino Valdes of Cuba, both of whom
have been clamoring for a shot at Rocky Marciano's
heavyweight crown, are scheduled to meet in a 15-
round outdoor fight here Monday. Former world
champion James Braddock will referee.
Moore, the 38-year-old veteran of at least 142 trips to
the ring, is an 8-5 favorite to whip the 30-year-old
heavyweight from Havana.
For Archie, who at various times registered from San
Diego, St. Louis and Toledo, Ohio, this is a major step
in a campaign aimed at forcing a match with Marciano.
A loss by Moore would ruin his heavyweight title hopes,
if there is any basis for such hopes.
But Moore needn't worry if he loses. He still will be the
lightheavyweight champion, and in prospect is a most
prosperous chance to meet Bobo Olson, the
middleweight champion who wants to rule the light
From the looks of Archie this past week, weighing about
200 pounds, the sturdy battler might have to detach a
leg in order to make 175 pounds for an Olson match,
but that problem will come later.
Valdes is generally rated the No. 1 challenger for
Marciano. A loss to Moore would eliminate him from
A win over the aging Moore? Bobby Gleason, Nino's
manager since 1951, put it this way:
"We are already the No. 1 challenger. We can't be the
No. 1 1/2 challenger, can we? All we can gain is maybe
the prestige Archie has built up as a light heavyweight
and his campaign to fight Marciano.
"This prestige, and maybe a few paltry dollars, is about
The "few paltry dollars" posed a thought.
Jack Kearns, who manages Joey Maxim, who lost three
times to Moore and more recently to Olson, is
promoting the fight here.
With a perfectly straight face, the Old Doc, the
Medicine Man of boxing, insisted that Moore and
Valdes were guaranteed $50,000 apiece -- and they
would get it.
Valdes weighs a trim 206 and probably will go into the
ring at 208. He has won 11 straight fights, seven by
knockouts, and his better known victims include Ezzard
Charles and Tommy (Hurricane) Jackson.
Moore has not fought since he stopped Harold Johnson
in a title fight last August in New York. He is obviously
well padded around the midsection. But Archie is a
workman and should know if he's ready for a tough
fight. As for his heart condition -- seems the box score
is something like 5-3 -- physicians' examinations, that is
-- that Archie does have a heart condition.
ARCHIE MOORE NEARS HEAVY TITLE SHOT
(United Press, Tuesday, May 3, 1955)
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Light heavyweight champion
Archie Moore established himself as the top contender
for the world heavyweight crown Monday night by
battering big Nino Valdes of Cuba half blind to win a 15-
Referee James Braddock, former heavyweight
champion and sole judge of the bout, favored 38-year-
old Moore on rounds, 8-5-2.
It was an excellent fight in which Moore's superior
speed and snap in his punches beat the tall Cuban,
who had been generally rated top contender for the
The bout was staged before a crowd of 10,800 in
Cashman Field as the sun was setting. A gate of
$102,678 was registered. The twilight fight was the
most important boxing contest ever held in Las Vegas.
Although Moore weighed 196 1/2 pounds, the heaviest
of his career, he appeared much faster than 30-year-old
Valdes, who is somewhat awkward. Valdes packed 209
1/4 pounds on his six-foot-three frame.
There were no knockdowns in this battle between two
good punchers, but the effects of their blows resulted in
Valdes' left eye being swollen tightly shut in the 13th
Moore was bleeding from the nose and lower lip at the
finish and his left eye was swollen -- but he could see
In the dressing room, Moore said, "Valdes died in the
last three rounds."
Because of his victory over the number-one heavy
contender, Moore will demand a heavy title shot at the
winner of the Rocky Marciano-Don Cockell
championship bout at San Francisco on May 16.
"If I can't get that shot, I'll defend my own title against
Bobo Olson," he said. Despite his 196 1/2 pounds, the
mustachioed battler said he was sure he could pare
down to the 175-pound limit for a defense.
Archie and big Nino engaged in a very rough brawl, and
each dropped several low blows during the slugging.
Accordingly, Referee Braddock penalized each one
round. He took the fifth from Moore and the 11th from
Valdes on fouls.
It was such an excellent bout that many of the fans
thought Valdes had won. Some of them began throwing
cushions into the ring. But announcer Al Schenk, well
known New York comedian, ordered the throwing
stopped "lest you injure someone seriously." And there
was no more cushion-tossing.
DESCRIBING THE SCANDAL IN LAS VEGAS
(San Bernardino Sun, Sunday, May 8, 1955)
By Jerry Boyd
The vast difference between operations of professional
golf, which has never been stirred by a breath of
scandal, and professional boxing, which hardly knows
anything else, was never more evident than it was at
Las Vegas last week. In a city where sordid contrasts
are not too unusual, the Tournament of Champions and
the Moore-Valdes fight were staged in separate worlds.
The 21 pros who played in the world's second-richest
golf tournament cut up $37,500 in the most pleasant,
plush surroundings possible. They were quartered at
the swank Desert Inn, with every convenience for
comfort known to man. They cooly and calmly (except
for Tommy Bolt who smashed a club when a drive went
into a lagoon) played their 72 holes before extremely
well-mannered and gentlemanly galleries. It was a blue
ribbon event all the way.
Then, 24 hours after Gene Littler and Frankie Laine
walked away with the U.S. mint, Archie Moore proved
that he was unquestionably the best heavyweight
fighter in the world next to Rocky Marciano. This was
established when Archie soundly thrashed Nino
Valdes, although a large and very ungentlemanly
portion of the Las Vegas crowd disagreed. I suspect
that the funds they donated to the betting parlors had
something to do with their opinion of the decision,
While the golf tournament was held in an extremely
refined atmosphere, the fight was strictly Main Street
stuff. First there were the cheap shenanigans of Jack
Kearns, who blandly announced that the hotels had put
up enough money for a $50,000 guarantee to each
fighter, which wasn't true. Then he billed it as the "real"
world heavyweight title fight, instead of what it was --
the outstanding contender's bout since Joe Louis met
Max Baer 20 years ago. Finally, he announced the
official attendance as 10,800 and the gate at $102,000.
Well, if he was seeing double, Kearns might have seen
10,000 people in that park. I was there, wearing my
glasses, too, and if there were more than 7,000 in
attendance, they must have been hiding under the
seats. They couldn't have cleared a hundred grand if
they had put the entire take on a crap table and doubled
Fight "headquarters" consisted of a shabby room on a
side street in downtown Las Vegas. Here the weighin
was condcuted, and do you know what they used for
scales? They borrowed an old contraption from a
grocery store, the kind that is used to weigh vegetables.
It served the purpose, and I suppose it gave honest
weight. But it was just one more indication of the
haphazard way the promotion was run.
The near fatal blow was when an alleged comedian
named Al Schenk, or something, a comedian mind you,
was named the ring announcer. When he "innderduced
soma the wunnerful people and cileberties" around the
ringside I gthought it was going to turn into a testimonial
show. After he went on for what seemed like hours of
extolling a great and distinguished figure from the
British Isles, the most outstanding man in all England
who was at ringside, I was disappointed when promoter
Jack Solomons and not Winston Churchill stood up.
Everything about the fight, except the fight itself, was
crummy right from the start. If Las Vegas ever lets
Kearns back in town, it should only be to take his
money at the dice tables.
I supposed the fact that golf traditionally the game of the
high brows while boxing is supposed to be for bums
contributed to the tremendous difference between the
two big events. At least, there were plenty of bums
around the fight.
Fortunately for those who paid their way in the fight was
infinitely better than the elements surrounding it. It
seemed almost weird to be watching a fight right out in
the broad daylight, like it was in the old days, but it was
an enjoyable experience.
Moore, a little slower at 196 1/2 than he has been, has
tremendous power in his big, thick arms. Valdes is a fair
boxer with a good left jab and a strong right when he
wants to use it. He caught Moore with an overhead right
that buckled Archie's knees in the third round, but
Moore countered with a vicious left hook that almost
floored the big Cuban. Valdes seldom used his right
I scored the fight exactly as did Jimmy Braddock,
referee and sole judge -- eight for Moore, five for Valdes
and two even. Braddock took away a round from each
for low blows, but most observers thought Moore
shouold have been penalized two rounds, at least.
Valdes could have won with a strong finish. The 12th
round was his best, and he appeared to be getting
stronger while Moore looked tired, winded and groggy. I
thought old age had finally caught up with Archie. He
surprised everyone by turning on the steam in the final
three and won going away.
At 38, Moore is an even more remarkable physical
specimen than was Jersey Joe Walcott, who held the
heavyweight title at the same age. Moore was flabby
and fat, but he has great endurance. I don't think Bobo
Olson can take him, although Marciano should be able
to if and when Archie ever gets a crack at the
AL WEILL SATISFIED WITH FIGHT OFFICIALS
(United Press, Sunday, May 8, 1955)
CALISTOGA, Calif. -- Al Weill, manager of world's
heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano, Saturday said
he is satisfied with the officials appointed by the
California State Athletic Commission, and would not
favor a British official for Marciano's title fight with
England's Don Cockell, May 16.
"The fight is taking place in America, and we're going to
box under American boxing rules," Weill said. "If the
fight were held in England, I wouldn't insist on any
American officials coming over."
DON COCKELL LOOKS SHARP TRAINING
(United Press, Sunday, May 8, 1955)
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- Challenger Don Cockell
observed British Empire Day by sparring eight rounds
Saturday and looking sharper defensively than at any
time since he started training.
Cockell, British Empire champion who will meet Rocky
Marciano for the world's heavyweight title May 16,
mixed lefts to the head and body with right crosses to
good effect against two sparmates.
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