The new and
perhaps even permanent manager of Sonny Liston, the wistful heavyweight
challenger, is a 41-year-old sports concessionaire, married and the father of
six children, who has never had anything to do with boxing before—all of which
sounds like eminent respectability, a commodity Liston needs a lot of.
The new man is
Jack Nilon, a sharp-featured, sharp-dressed, successful businessman who
operates the concessions at such events as the Army-Navy football game. He is
an acquaintance of Father Edward Murphy, the priest retained to aid in Liston's
rehabilitation from his criminal past.
Quick to deny any
knowledge of prizefighting, Nilon explained that Liston "doesn't need a
fight manager, he needs a business manager." There will, he said, "be a
certified accountant to handle the money," quite as if that would prevent,
behind his back, a postfight division of funds with representatives of Blinky
Palermo, now at large on $100,000 bail while appealing his federal conviction
as a conspirator.
In the mind of
Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson there is little question that he must beat
Liston if the world is to be convinced that Patterson is a worthy champion. And
Liston's name, for all the coy secrecy about it, is the name Patterson
whispered to President John F. Kennedy at their White House meeting last week,
when the President asked him who his next opponent would be. He has said as
much to others.
Well, Floyd may
have to fight his manager, Cus D'Amato, first. The indomitable D'Amato is by no
means convinced that Nilon's appearance on the scene has thereby dispersed the
shady elements in Liston's old managerial retinue. He wants no part of a Liston
fight until he is so convinced. There has to be a showdown between Patterson
and D'Amato soon, and it might be worth $100 ringside to sit in on it. Until
now, and despite serious differences, Patterson has remained completely loyal
to D'Amato in such matters. If he doesn't go along with D'Amato in this one, he
may, like Liston, have to find himself a new manager.
The only state
other than New York to prosecute in the basketball scandals of 1961 is North
Carolina. Last week that state added new names and new games to the black
basketball market list. Governor Terry Sanford, an old basketball fan, arranged
for the testimony of Don Gallagher, a former North Carolina State star and now
Second Lieutenant Gallagher, 15th Infantry, Berlin. Two years ago he won his
school's Senior Merit award from the Atlantic Coast Conference for excellence
in academics and athletics.
Flown to the U.S.,
Gallagher appeared before the Wake County grand jury and out of his testimony
and other evidence 10 gamblers were indicted. Gallagher, it turned out, had
received $5,500 for fixing six games.
authorities uncovered the basketball scandals and, with North Carolina, may be
most influential in discouraging a recurrence. To fix or attempt to fix until
recently was a mere misdemeanor in New York. Now it is a felony, with
proportionately greater penalties. In North Carolina it is also a felony. It
should be a felony everywhere.