THE MINUTE MEN
That favorite whipping boy of politicians—horse racing—was whacked in Boston recently, though this time it was in good company, assuming the U.S. Treasury is good company. The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a resolution calling upon newspapers to stop publishing racing entries and results, pari-mutuel figures and federal Treasury balances. The reason: numbers racketeers use digits from the pari-mutuels and the Treasury balance to determine each day's winning numbers.
The resolution is arrogant nonsense. It assumes that if the figures were not printed the numbers racketeers would instantly stop bribing cops and public officials and retire. We are delighted that Boston's newspapers immediately and unanimously rejected the proposal. They will continue to publish Treasury balances for the edification of businessmen and racing news for the edification of $2 bettors and other followers of the Thoroughbred. The runners will continue to bring their betting slips to the neighborhood drop, the police will continue to look the other way, and the legislators will continue to make idle noises.
The New York boxing commission, proceeding with all possible torpor, finally has separated Archie Moore from the light-heavyweight title he has been so casually disinclined to defend, and directed Harold Johnson and Doug Jones, the top contenders, to fight for the championship.
New York thus followed the example of the National Boxing Association. That assembly stripped Moore of his crown a year ago, designating Johnson as its champion. If the British and European boxing authorities take similar action, Moore will retain token recognition only in Massachusetts, a self-serving mugwump, and California, which is selfishly motivated (it has hopes of getting a Moore-Fullmer fight in the by-and-by).
Archie is a droll fellow, and he has had a hard row, but he has defended his title only once in the last 2� years and then against Giulio Rinaldi, a hand-picked challenger more notable for pasta consumption than boxing ability.
There is much to be said for Archie, the last of the great physiocrats. What with his eroded skills, he obviously doesn't wish to risk his title against challengers as formidable as Johnson and Jones without being amply compensated. He says fighting either would be tantamount to "financial suicide." This may be true; Johnson and Jones are poor draws. But prizefighting is supposed to be, however remotely, a sport; the prize is a reward for ability at punching an opponent, not an adding machine. It is not a recompense for uncommon good nature, durability or old abuses.
In a community of law there is provision for the compassionate exception, but Moore has strained the quantity of mercy. The championship is a public trust, not a private preserve.
POURING IT ON
All Saints High School turned out to be the class of Detroit's Catholic League basketball play this year, winning all but one game of a 14-game schedule. It was their final game that caused the trouble. The opponent, Immaculate Conception, started the game with only seven available players. By the early minutes of the second half, three had fouled out. All Saints could not resist the opportunity and went on to win 151-26. Result: the Catholic League charged All Saints Coach Mike Guza with running up the score in "a flagrant violation of ethics." Guza was put on probation for a year.