SEVEN FACES OF TONY ROCCA
Antonino Rocca, professional wrestler (and one of the highest paid athletes of our time: $150,000 last year), is a man who has parlayed face and feet into one of the fattest bankrolls in the history of sport. The face, as may be seen on these pages, is a superb instrument for communication of the complex emotions (fear, pain, surprise) that beset wrestlers, and the feet when banged into the head of an upright opponent produce the Rocca "drop-kick" that moves the wrestling crowd to frenzy. At last count Rocca was drawing more fans than an average Ivy League football game (20,000 are customary at Madison Square Garden), and the bankroll was never bigger. In this attempt to explain himself and his sport (he feels both are somewhat misunderstood) Rocca emerges as a man of considerable wit and pith. He begins (left) by summarizing the famous Garden bout last winter when an opponent actually drew blood and sent Rocca fans storming into the ring.
ON THE FAMOUS FRACAS AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
"The guy, damn it, hit me and made me mad, so I smashed his head into the post."
ON WRESTLING FANS
"They come to forget the wife at home or the fight with the girl friend, and express themselves by yelling to forget the troubles of the week."
ON HIS POPULARITY
"It's the style. I never keep still in the ring. Rhythm is the base of life. I have rhythm when I wrestle, a new symphony of movement."
ON BOXERS AS WRESTLERS
"They think it's easy, and they try it for a week and collapse. We get a hell of a thumping-around three days a week, ride on planes and trains the other four. A wrestler, gentlemen, is a tough specimen."
ON AMATEUR VS. PRO WRESTLERS
"Hoad was good, Gonzales crashed him to pieces."
ON THE HONESTY OF THE SPORT
"You shouldn't condemn individuals. You've got different wrestlers."
ON THE GOOD LIFE
"A new suit, a fine bed, a sip of cognac when it's cold."
LOOK WHO'S FISHING