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January 15, 1968
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January 15, 1968


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The heavyweight championship muddle precipitated by Muhammad Ali's refusal to accept induction into the armed forces, followed by the unilateral decision of the self-styled World Boxing Association to run a tournament to choose his successor, was acceptable enough if one conceded the proposition that boxing is historically, and perhaps inevitably, committed to misrule and confusion. But now it has turned to anarchy.

Madison Square Garden, promoting its first boxing card in its new sports market atop Pennsylvania Station, has designed a March doubleheader: Emile Griffith vs. Nino Benvenuti in their third go-round for the middleweight title, and Joe Frazier, who has stood aloof from the WBA series on the sound theory that sooner or later the WBA winner will have to deal with his independent self, and Buster Mathis, who is unranked by either the authoritative Ring magazine, or the WBA.

Presented honestly, the card would be quite a good one, but the Garden, dreaming of a $100 top for true ringside seats and a fashionable audience in stiff shirts (or white turtlenecks) and evening gowns, got nervous. It felt it had to justify the price, and so it came up with something as spurious as a Going-Out-of-Business sale. It persuaded Eddie (Death) Dooley, famed old Dartmouth quarterback in the days of the drop kick, currently New York State boxing commissioner, and a rube in the world of prizefighting, to declare the Frazier-Mathis bout a contest for the world heavyweight championship. The ludicrously naive Dooley, who kept referring to Buster as "Buddy" in making the announcement, obediently went along with this silly gag, one calculated to make any boxing fan gag in earnest.

The Minnesota North Stars of the National Hockey League have a minor league farm team called the Memphis South Stars.

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