- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Spokane's new promoter is, obviously enough, a rather unusual type. He was orphaned at three, grew up in the homes of various older brothers and sisters and worked his way through high school and Spokane's Gonzaga University. With little more than a hammer and a government surplus truck he launched himself as a building contractor. He put up more than 2,000 houses?including a $100,000 show-place for himself?and in a few years found himself well on the way to riches. Ten months ago the Washington State Boxing Commission (which was delighted at the idea of a boxing impressario who was willing to lose money for the sweet sake of publicity) granted him a promoter's license.
Cozza immediately set out to look for "connections rather than entanglements" in the fight game. He flew east, lunched with Ray Arcel, Al Weill and various other promoters and fight managers. He did the same in California. He made no alliances with Jim Norris' I.B.C. because he believed he had something which would serve him better: money. "Managers," he says, coldly enough, "regard their boxers as merchandise. I'm used to buying merchandise. Sure, there are a lot of crooks in boxing. There are crooks in lots of businesses. But you don't have to deal their way if you know values."
Cozza, a dark, handsome, heavy-browed man, started out by leasing a defunct dance club and turning it into a gym. He promoted his first cards there. The fights began at 9 o'clock, in the hopes of attracting Friday evening shopping crowds. He lost $1,500 a card. "Boxing," he reasoned, "had a bad name. I wanted to show it could be promoted properly." But he had no illusions that he could lure TV fight fans away from their sets without big names. Last week he began the second phase of his operation?he promoted a fight between Featherweight Champion Sandy Saddler and a local boxer named Bobby Woods in Spokane's shiny new 8,400-seat Coliseum.
Cozza took his seat at ringside suffering with a heavy cold?in his enthusiasm he had insisted on doing road work with Saddler every morning, and the effort was a little too much for him. But he eyed the proceedings with a satisfied air. A crowd of 5,744 people attended the battle (which Saddler won in 10 rounds) and paid back close to the $20,000 which Cozza had shelled out to put on the show. The new promoter has already discussed Spokane appearances with Middleweight Champion Bobo Olson and Light Heavyweight Champion Archie Moore, and hopes to present nationally televised fights (with Spokane blacked out) in the future.
If these plans fail? "Well," he says, "I didn't start out building houses with the idea of making a million?just to put up the best house I could."
Tempest in a piggy bank
Since their championship season of 1948 the Chicago Cardinals have been the low team on the professional football totem pole. Stumblefoot, butterfinger players and a porous defense have run the team into the cellar and into the red.
Well, not so. The owners have responded to such talk with a dramatic gesture. They have installed a profit-sharing program, the first in professional football and the first, very likely, in any major professional team sport.
The Cards, it was announced by Managing Director Walter Wolfner, will set aside no less than 50% of the net profits from all their 1955 football operations, including radio and television receipts, for distribution among players and coaches?players to get 33%, coaches 17. The idea is to give the team "incentive."