Boxing has been called many things but never civilized. It was all too brutal for the Swedish psyche, in a land where violence rather than sex is censored in films and TV, and Floyd Patterson was a national idol.
The run of mismatches foisted on the Swedes in recent years by Ingemar Johansson, their one-time heavyweight champion and less-than-champion promoter, did not help—Buster Mathis and Sonny Liston pummeling Gerry DeBruyn and Dave Bailey were more than even the long-suffering Scandinavians could bear.
But in Freeport, Grand Bahama, boxing promises to be something else. The other day, in the first of a series of modified English-style bouts held under the chandelier in the Camelot Room at the King's Inn & Golf Club, spectators sat at tables around the ring eating artichokes vinaigrette. The bouts were not more bloody than the medium-well entree, and the only breach of decorum was a shout of "Don't hit him in the kidneys, luv, it hurts," directed at a preliminary fighter in long olive drab socks by a smartly coiffed matron.
Garnet Levarity, the Bahamian Minister of Out Island affairs, called the whole scene not only highly civilized but "delightful"—the more so because it was in line with the country's new emphasis on getting Bahamians into the local jobs and the action. The fights were co-promoted by the British-owned King's Inn, Bahamian Jim White and Miami's Chris Dundee, and they featured the Bahamas' own Gomeo Brennan, who won his 106th fight.
San Francisco Disc Jockey Don Sherwood tells about an argument in a friend's house after a weekend of sports television. Complained the wife: "You love football more than you love me." Replied the husband: "Yeah, but I still love you more than basketball."
A VOTE FOR SANTA
In Memphis each week during the football season the Coca-Cola Company sponsors a handicapping contest, to which Memphis football fans bring all the scientific skills and inside knowledge that, as everyone knows, the astute picking of winners and point spreads requires (page 36).
A couple of weeks back the contest involved the Ole Miss-Tennessee struggle in Jackson, Miss. Few authorities picked Ole Miss to win at all. Mrs. L. T. Massey, a 70-year-old Memphis grandmother, guessed that Ole Miss would win 38-0. (The score was 38-0.) She predicted the combined offensive yardage to be 650. (It was 651.)
Mrs. Massey, who had been a runner-up in the contest twice before, was asked whether she was a student of the game. "No," she replied, "but I believe in fairies and Santa Claus."
Mrs. Massey's earlier entries won her two footballs. She gave them to her grandchildren. This time she won a Triumph motorcycle.