The "household" Olson had joined was and is unique in boxing. Like Bobo, who rode a few horses before he outgrew jockey pants and now has a full-blooded Arabian stallion which he canters along the San Francisco beachfront, Flaherty's first love is horseflesh, but the prize quarter horses on his San Martin ranch get no more loving care than he lavishes on his human stable. Flaherty's dollar-wise astuteness is a byword in the boxing business, but no one gainsays his manifold paternal generosity.
Flaherty had no intention, in the beginning, of managing so many fighters, but his postwar invasion of the field burgeoned into a large enterprise in spite of his resolve. "Everyone has his weakness," he says. "Mine's a horrible one. I can't say no. Somebody keeps bringing me a kid all the time."
Most of Flaherty's current flock have been with him since their mid-teens. They came to him for all kinds of reasons?because they were broke, in some temporary trouble or because they just wanted to fight. One of the best kids he has, a youngster Flaherty is sure will be a world's champ, telephoned one day.
"I wanna fight for you," said the kid.
"I don't need no more fighters," said Flaherty.
"I wanna fight for you," the kid said.
"Look," said Flaherty, "I got too many fighters."
The conversation went on in that vein for several minutes until Flaherty resignedly told the kid to come up to the gym. The kid said no, and insisted Flaherty come meet him in the park. So Sid went, and found the reason the kid, a Mexican, didn't want to come to the gym was that he was wearing shreds for clothing. Flaherty gave him some money and told him to report the next day. In a few months the boy was demonstrating a rare skill, and in a couple of years he was making $50,000.
When Flaherty takes on a fighter, the first thing he does is register him with Local 860 of the A.F. of L. teamsters union in San Francisco. And when the boy is not fighting, Flaherty sees to it that he works. Olson has been no exception. He is still a registered member, even though he is a champion; and so is his trainer, Willie Wharton.
Flaherty has legally adopted half a dozen of his proteges, some of whom live with him in his seven-room apartment near the Golden Gate. "I don't know if they regard me as a father or a banker," says Sid, who is a bachelor. "All I know is they come to me for everything, from the price of a ticket to a show to the cost of their mothers' operations. Only thing I really mind is their waking me up at night to tell me of their conquests."