SI Vault
October 27, 1958
Oedipus at Half Time
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October 27, 1958

Events & Discoveries

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Dollars Fluttering Down

Sizewise, as the swells say, Texas has come a cropper with the admission of Alaska. But moneywise, boy, Texas is still right in there. And like snowflakes on Point Barrow, the dollars fluttered down on the Cotton Bowl for the Texas-Oklahoma game. When it was all raked up, a sellout crowd had made it possible for the two universities to trundle off $130,000 each.

Does that prove anything? It proves, for one thing, that it is a seller's market all the way in Dallas. Despite rising costs, the annual UTOU game, played equidistantly between Austin and Norman, has been a 75,000-seat sellout every year since 1946. And when there was only $120,000 left over for each team last year, they just jacked up the $4 tickets to $4.50 tickets this year. "Why," said an official of UT, "we made more the other day than we did in four games combined last year." And he added it was a right nice thing to have, too. Not subsidized by the state, the Texas athletic department will use its share to support 21% of the whole athletic program this year, and that covers everything from intramural ping-pong balls to band uniforms.

Texans and Oklahomans alike take this sort of fortune with graceful good humor. No shouting. No bragging. They can afford to. The present contract between Texas, Oklahoma and the Cotton Bowl already has eight more seasons to go. At present rates of increase, the 1966 game should be worth a half million, split two ways.

Impeachment and Beseechment

Cus D'Amato, a man with a nice felicity for getting dead cats flung at him, attracted a barrage of tabbies last week. He did it without ever stirring out of his Broadway bower—merely by exercising passive resistance to a plan to pit his heavyweight champion, Floyd Patterson, against Nino Valdes at Madison Square Garden in December. While Promoter Emil Lence, Boxing Commission Chairman Julius Helfand and the Garden management fashioned a most attractive offer, including $300,000 for home TV, D'Amato concerned himself with plans for 1959. (As we advised you a few weeks ago—SI, Oct. 6—there never was any likelihood that Patterson would fight again this year.) Then Helfand announced the collapse of the Garden negotiations, and the cat fur began to fly.

D'Amato was accused, for instance, of making it dreadfully difficult for the International Boxing Club, owned by the Garden, to maintain public interest in its television shows. This is, of course, a naive corollary to the fact that public interest in boxing depends pretty much on public interest in the heavyweight championship. D'Amato, who has sworn a vendetta against the IBC, accepted the accusation as a rose to wear in his lapel.

But other charges were more sophisticated, and chief among them is the fact that D'Amato's high purposes for the restoration of competition to boxing promotion have made Patterson a mighty inactive champion, with rust settling in his joints and his prestige declining with each passing month. The newest sportspage cliché pretends that no one knows the name of the champion.

It is a true indictment, nevertheless, that Patterson, since winning the title, has improved only in physical development and in certain minor moves that can be picked up in a gymnasium. Nowadays he lacks the fire and sharpness of the great fighter he once promised to be. Against Roy Harris he looked something rather less than great.

D'Amato himself grants that inactivity has done his fighter no good. How, then, since he is a man who believes that his first obligation is to his fighter, does he justify this inactivity from the standpoint of the champion's best interests?

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