Tyrone Phelps, welterweight, fought hard and won a close but unanimous decision over Miciah (Mike) Bullock last week at Sunnyside Gardens in Queens, New York City. But instead of the usual victor's dance around the ring, arms upraised in triumph, Phelps took the microphone away from the ring announcer, clutched his opponent by the sleeve of his terry-cloth robe and told the crowd that in his opinion Bullock had won the fight. "This is one decision I don't deserve," he said.
Well. Everybody at ringside agreed it was a historic first, that no fighter anyone could recall had ever disowned a win. Phelps' distraught manager followed his fighter from the ring, pounding his fist in his palm and shouting disjointedly, "Never...don't ever...you won fair...oh, my God, oh, my God."
Despite Phelps' disclaimer, the decision stood.
Television, which has been trying to revive interest in fighting in the divisions below heavyweight, should have had its cameras on a recent match in the British All-Comers Choir Loft Competition in Andover, England. Lloyd Ponting, organist at St. Mary's Church, mixed it up with the vicar of the church, the Rev. Peter Chandler, in the choir loft before a fascinated crowd of choir and congregation. The vicar had instructed Ponting to accompany Sunday evening services on a piano in the loft instead of on the church organ. Ponting insisted on using the organ. "After two verses," Ponting said, "the vicar appeared in the loft and snatched my music. I attempted to retrieve it, and there was a bit of a tussle."
The bout ended in a draw, Ponting still playing the organ, the vicar playing the piano, and the choir and congregation singing The Magnificat.
The Sporting News, the venerable "Baseball Bible," says there is a decline in the number of black kids coming into baseball. About 20% of the players now on major league rosters are American blacks, but a random survey of minor league, high school and college teams by The Sporting News indicates the number of black players at those levels has dropped substantially below 20%.
For instance, Syracuse, a New York Yankee farm club, had three U.S. blacks on its 21-man roster late last year. Phoenix, a San Francisco farm, began the season with four black players and ended with two. At one point during the year the Detroit farm in Evansville, Ind. had only one black. Last June, when the Chicago White Sox farm club in Knoxville went to Jacksonville for a series, their one black player was not along. Knoxville Manager Gordy Lund said, "We really don't have many black players in our minor league system. I can think of nine, and that's it. I couldn't tell you the reason why there aren't more."
But two Jacksonville players, both black, thought they knew. "More black kids are playing basketball and running track now," said Joe Gates. Charlie Beamon said, "They think basketball is more fun. I try to tell a lot of those kids that you don't have to be tall to play baseball, but most of them don't listen."