NEW LEASE ON BOXING?
It has been a long time since anyone let any organizational fresh air into boxing, but suddenly such a thing is conceivable. Amateur boxing (remember George Foreman waving the American flag?) might go big time.
This week, at the behest of AAU Executive Director and International Boxing Federation President Colonel Don Hull, promoter Bill King of Louisville is completing plans for a series of international, Olympic-style team boxing matches to be staged around the country in '69 and renewed annually. Tentative arrangements, discussed with various nations' representatives in Mexico City, call for a U.S. team to meet Russia in New York in March and then perhaps to fight West Germany in Louisville (there are a good many German-American families in the Louisville- Cincinnati area). A U.S.- Mexico match is likely to be held in Los Angeles, and King says he also has commitments from Poland, France, Italy and England.
The organizers see the series as good experience for U.S. amateurs, at least—and they have their eyes on television. King, who has been promoting professional boxing for 15 years, says, "Pro boxing is dead as a television attraction, because of so many scandals. Sponsors have dropped it like a hot potato. But here we have the best amateurs, no hoodlums. All three-round packages of action—no long, drawn-out 15-round waltzes. Sponsors should grab for it, and the AAU should make enough money to promote amateur boxing on a high level all over the country." King even foresees an international championship tournament every year.
It is all rather visionary, but a good many American viewers have now enjoyed Olympic boxing, Pappy Gault is a celebrity, and the present state of the sport in the U.S. leaves an unquestionable vacuum. Might amateur boxing attain the status that amateur tennis has enjoyed? Might it even provide enough competition to keep—or make—professional boxing honest? We'd like to see it happen.
TAKES YOU BACK
A freshman outfielder on the University of New Mexico baseball team frequently received a ripple of applause when his name was announced at games this fall. It may have been a tribute to his batting average, which was .425. But probably it was his name: George Ruth.
THE KUSNER CASE
"Horses will run for her, I'm certain of that," says racing authority Humphrey Finney. The question remains whether other jockeys will ride against her.
"She has a beautiful seat," Finney goes on gallantly, "and balance, and fine, sensitive hands like Willie Shoemaker's that mean so much to a horse's mouth. And we know she has nerve." She—Olympic equestrienne Kathy Kusner—had the nerve to win in court (SCORECARD, Oct. 7) the right to become the first female flat-race jockey. Expected to ride for the first time at Maryland's Laurel Race Course when she recovers from a broken leg, she faces the prospect, however, of an antigirl boycott by male jockeys, who claim to be chary of riding in traffic with a woman.
If truth be known, the average male rider probably was more scared—and more dangerous—the first time he rode as an apprentice than Miss Kusner, a horsewoman of long and varied experience, is likely to be in her debut. Still, a shy young lady of 5'4" does seem an unlikely type to be booting them 1,000-pound babies in. And maybe jockeys are just naturally conservative, as is suggested by the notice posted on the Laurel bulletin board by rider Eddie Donnally, which—in reference to Laurel General Manager Frank Brady's offering Kathy the use of his home on the grounds for dressing—concluded as follows: