The round and
resonant voice of Counselor Kenneth Royall, onetime Secretary of the Army,
boomed out in the marble-pillared hearing room of the Supreme Court of the
United States. As defense counsel for the International Boxing Club he was
contending, with a mountain goat's sense of footing, that the Supreme Court
ought to reverse a lower-court ruling which called the IBC a monopoly, and at
the same time he was contending that if the Supreme Court did not reverse the
ruling it ought, perhaps as a friendly gesture to monopolies everywhere, to
allow the IBC to go on doing business much as before.
He did not put it
quite that way, naturally, but that was the way it sounded to the lay ear.
In the lower
court, after finding that the IBC was indeed a monopoly in violation of the
antitrust laws, Federal Judge Sylvester J. Ryan had ordered that the
International Boxing Clubs of New York and Illinois (they are one and the same
IBC) be dissolved. He ordered that their owner, James D. Norris, president of
Madison Square Garden, get out of the Garden, which owns IBC of New York. He
ordered that the Garden and the Chicago Stadium, owner of IBC in Illinois, be
available at reasonable rental to other promoters.
One effect of his
orders would be to end the IBC's control of all home TV fights.
But Royall's idea
of a good solution, if it were found that the law had been violated, would
1) To prohibit
the IBC from having exclusive contracts with boxers.
2) To prohibit
the IBC from exclusive contracts with arenas except the Garden and the
3) To limit the
Garden and the Stadium to two or three championship bouts each a year.
Except for the
third item, these proposals would leave the situation pretty much as it is. The
IBC has no real need for exclusive contracts with boxers. As the sole TV
promoter it can control them without contracts, simply by depriving them of
work if they act ornery, giving them work if they genuflect. It can perpetuate
rule of the championships by seeing to it that only properly brain washed
managers get TV fights for their stables. It can build up fighters it favors,
ignore those who do not accept its rule.