SI Vault
Edited by Robert H. Boyle
February 27, 1978
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February 27, 1978


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The Pennsylvania Athletic Commission is now considering granting Frank (Blinky) Palermo, one of the most vicious thugs in the history of boxing, a license to manage. The commission might heed these words from Jackie Leonard, a Los Angeles promoter who was brutally beaten in 1959 after testifying that Palermo and Frankie Carbo, then the underworld boss of boxing, had tried to muscle in on the earnings of welterweight champion Don Jordan.

Leonard writes, "I strongly object to this man being issued a license that is a privilege. I thought and understood when I testified against Carbo, Palermo & Co. that, if convicted, these people would not be allowed back in the fight game.

"I have been looking over my shoulder and living in another country for most of the past 17 years because of having the courage to stand up and be counted.

"I was in boxing all of my life and very successful, when overnight I was out and on the run, not from being crooked, but for being honest.

"I can't return to my country, because of fear—let alone return to boxing.... In essence, what I am trying to say [is] that if Mr. Palermo is 'rehabilitated,' he should seek employment elsewhere, not in the sport that he and his group nearly ruined.

"I am 60 years of age and would like more than anything in the world to return to my country...but under the circumstances I will probably never be able to return."

Maybe it has to do with the dreary weather in most of the country, or with something in the air, but the unexpected has become commonplace. Within a day of each other, two heavyweight favorites, Muhammad Ali and Bella Abzug, both got licked. Bob Howsam, president of the Reds, decided not to sue Bowie Kuhn because the baseball commissioner had rejected the Vida Blue deal. Finally, there is Wayne Hill, who returned his paycheck after refereeing the Haskell Indian Junior College-Johnson County Community College game in Overland Park, Kans. On the back of the envelope containing his $40 check, Hill wrote, "I feel I don't deserve this. I called a crappy game tonight."

Overexuberance, which cost the University of Miami a swimming meet against Florida when Miami swimmers leaped into the pool to celebrate a last-minute victory while a Florida man was still in the water (SCORECARD, Feb. 20), has struck again, this time costing the Southern Connecticut State Owls a 70-69 win over Springfield in basketball. After the buzzer the ball was rolling down the court and Byron Breland of the Owls picked it up and tried to dunk it. Referee Joe Soskovic called a technical foul, and a Springfield player sank the free throw to tie the score. Coach Ed Brown of Southern Connecticut refused to allow his team back on the floor for the overtime period, and so Soskovic awarded Springfield a 2-0 forfeit victory. The Eastern College Athletic Conference upheld the forfeit, ruling that Soskovic had every right to call the technical because a referee's authority does not end until he approves the final score.


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