"You didn't make a dime out of it," I told Mickey, "but maybe I can get you a varsity letter."
There was a letter, all right. This one came from Knute Rockne, asking for details of the "brawl." And there was another letter, from one of the players, asking that I please tell Rockne that Walker started it and they were merely fighting in self-defense. If I didn't, he explained, they might all be expelled.
I didn't want that to happen to a nice bunch of college kids. I wrote Rockne a nice letter of apology to get the boys off the hook. Certainly nobody should mind taking the blame for whipping the whole Notre Dame football team.
Shortly after Mickey beat Ace Hudkins by a narrow margin in the rain (I owned both fighters, but neither knew it at the time and it was a fair fight, no monkey business), I decided to buy a home in Florida and move my mother and sister there. Being a man who likes to travel first class, and even better, I bought in a rather exclusive section. To give you an idea, one of my neighbors was Henry Ford. Never having been the bashful type, I soon had us on congenial speaking terms.
He happened along one day as I was leaving for the racetrack, and after we had chatted for a few moments I suggested that he come along, too. I figured it wouldn't hurt my credit.
One of the nation's richest men shook his head soberly.
"Sorry," he said, "but I just can't afford the horses."
Kearns could, of course.
The closest I ever came to collusion in a fight was Mickey's bout with Tommy Loughran. The terms of the deal were that if we won we received only $10,000. If we lost we took down $50,000. This was at a time when I needed the $50,000 more than I needed the light heavyweight championship, for Walker and I had been living it up to a point where we were exceptionally low in finances. Loughran's physical edge gave him the decision, but we walked off with the fifty grand.
In the stock market crash of October 1929 I lost about half a million dollars, but I figured I still had the middleweight champion, so I wrote it off without complaining too much. I still left an occasional $50 tip for the waiter—including one who had topped me by losing a million dollars in the crash.