Rosensohn was wrong in accepting Tony Fat as a partner; this action came under his own somewhat euphemistic heading of "compromising." But credit where credit is due. It has not been sufficiently brought out that it was Rosensohn himself who cooperated with District Attorney Hogan and made possible not only Hogan's investigation but the resultant investigation of the New York attorney general and the New York State Athletic Commission.
Both Rosensohn and Velella have appeared before the New York grand jury investigating boxing. Rosensohn says: "There seem to be several versions of one story. It is a question of who is telling the truth and who is lying. Basically it's a question of credibility between Velella and myself in regard to the events leading up to the fight." Presumably, Rosensohn is telling his version of his business arrangements with Tony Fat and Velella to the grand jury, while Velella is contradicting or denying it.
It is indeed a sorry world if it is necessary for a promoter to carry such monkeys as Salerno on his back in order to put on a prizefight. But there is no inherent reason why boxing cannot throw the monkeys off. If the confessions of Rosensohn do not provide the authorities with ample evidence of precisely what is wrong with the fight business and how that wrong can be corrected, then this boxing scandal will have achieved nothing but headlines.
"Consistent with my policy of engaging capable men above reproach," grandiloquently announced Vincent J. Velella last week in Jack Dempsey's restaurant in New York, "our friend Jack Dempsey is to become promotional adviser for Rosensohn Enterprises."
"Business has been lousy all summer, anyway," muttered Dempsey behind his cigar.
Thus the latest, frantic move of the palace guard which usurped from Rosensohn the virtually assetless company which bears his name was made public. Vellella and Irving B. Kahn (paunchy president of TelePrompTer and newly elected director of Enterprises) has engaged the old Champ Jack Dempsey ("I feel it's time to do something for boxing," said Jack. "I think Mr. Velella is all right") for a publicized $500 a week in a grandstand attempt to persuade Ingemar Johansson to defend his title against Floyd Patterson on Sept. 22. Or, as Irving B. sweetly added: "If he wants to move it up, we certainly will negotiate."
A CLOUD OF PRESS RELEASES
And thus armed with a return-bout contract of questionable strength and the platitudinous presence of the old heavyweight champ, Kahn, Velella, Edwin S. Schweig ( D'Amato's lawyer) and a public relations man flew to Sweden in a cloud of press releases to tackle the tiger, Ingemar.
By a curiously circuitous route, the Argonauts flew to London first (the best way to get to Goteborg is via Copenhagen) and chanced, by a curious coincidence, to get seats on the same plane to Sweden as Ingemar. Johansson, ostensibly, had been in England for a personal appearance, but his real mission might well have been to have a chat with James D. Norris, Truman Gibson and Promoter Jack Solomons, who were said to be in London. Norris had arrived earlier in the week and, not so curiously or coincidentally, had a chat with Rosensohn before he returned to New York, a chat which was a prearranged follow-up to the Paris summit meeting (SI, Aug. 17).
When Dempsey and Johansson et al. landed in Sweden, Dempsey piously announced, "My mission here is to clear up this mess and make the fight game an honest business."