Although I kept up a front with tips like that, Mickey and I were short of cash. We weren't too concerned, even though Mickey was in poor shape both physically and mentally. He had been on a steady liquid diet and was feeling low in spirits because his most recent wife had pulled out on him. Besides, some guy was suing him for his big Lincoln car. He was also having a murderous time trying to make the 160-pound limit. I decided to build him up to fight heavyweights and arranged a series of exhibitions against the big fellows just to show he could handle them. I wanted a bout with Jack Sharkey, who the year before had lost his chance at the vacant heavyweight title by fouling Max Schmeling. Before the New York commission would approve Mickey as an opponent, though, he had to surrender his middleweight title. But that was painless because he was having too much trouble making the weight. With all obstacles removed, the bout was booked into Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, for July 22, 1931.
Just to cover all the bases, I arranged a meeting with Sharkey's manager, Johnny Buckley.
"John, we're all cuties from away back," I told him. "Both of us know a hundred ways to steal the duke. But let's agree, on this one, that nobody tries to snatch anything. Let's have the Mick and Sharkey go in even up."
"I'll agree to that, Doc," he said.
I took extra precautions anyhow. Al Capone at this time was free on $50,000 bail, after having been indicted on an income-tax rap in Chicago. I heard that he was in New York and went to see him.
"You could do me a big favor, Al," I told him.
"Name it," he said.
"Well, I want a square shuffle in this Sharkey fight," I explained. "Not that there's anything suspicious. But I just want insurance that we don't get the short end of the scorecards."
Capone bobbed his head.
"I'm sure you'll be O.K., Doc."