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BATTLE OF THE MOUNT
It is beginning to look as though the ABA is here to stay, whether it merges with the NBA or not. The carefully staged and impressively publicized signing of Rick Mount (the Purdue star came to terms with the Indiana Pacers on a TV show) was followed a day or so later by the Pittsburgh Pipers' signing of Davidson's Mike Maloy, and Commissioner Jack Dolph promised that the ABA would be signing more stars. While this seemed to indicate that the off-again, on-again merger talks had gone down the drain, Dolph disagreed. "With every star we sign," he said, "the merger will be that much closer." NBA Commissioner Walter Kennedy, professing a lack of concern when asked about the Mount signing, said, "I have no feeling one way or the other. The merger committees are still meeting."
And the ABA is still in its full-court press. Richard Tinkham, executive vice-president of the Indiana club, who met with the NBA's merger committee in New York the day after his team signed Mount, added, "I think everyone in the NBA knows that we are going to fight while we negotiate. The signing of Mount could bust everything absolutely, or it could bring about a merger soon."
Chuck Devoe, the Pacers' president, said, "The American Football League got the Bonehead of the Year award because it paid a huge indemnity to merge with the NFL. We're hoping the ABA doesn't get the bonehead award this year and we're doing all we can to see that it doesn't happen."
THE PHOENIX ARISING
Nino Benvenuti of Italy, the middleweight boxing champion of the world, got belted around in a nontitle bout in Australia last weekend and lost on a technical knockout to unknown Tom (The Bomb) Bethea of New York (Nino thought he had broken some ribs, but X rays indicated that it might be only a bad bruise). That was humiliating for Benvenuti, particularly since he is scheduled to box this coming Monday night in Los Angeles, assuming the ribs let him. Nino is supposed to spar four three-minute rounds in the grand ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel before a $50-a-plate crowd at a formal dinner of the World Sporting Club. His opponent? Forty-eight-year-old Sugar Ray Robinson, who was licensed last month by the California State Athletic Commission after a thorough physical examination. Robinson, who has been working out in a gym for the past month, weighs 162 pounds, only two pounds over the middleweight limit. Neither Benvenuti nor Robinson will be paid for the exhibition, which is a benefit for the Sugar Ray Youth Foundation, a program sponsored by the fighter "to reach the unreached child."
Word has gotten around about Robinson's gym work and physical condition and, much to his surprise, he has been getting offers to fight—from England and Italy, among other places. "I'm flattered," Sugar says, though amused might be the more accurate word. Still, if Nino's ribs are vulnerable and Ray is in shape and those offers are real, just think what could happen Monday night.
LACE YOUR GLOVES
Two current movements—the New Feminism and Pseudonostalgic Recall of the 1930s—may be stimulated by the following advice gleaned from The Van Court Scientific Boxing Course, published by Carroll Van Court in 1937: