That was the last contact I ever had with the senior Norris. Jim Norris junior phoned me. He told me "The old man's pretty sore at you." He wanted me to come down and see him. Jim Mullen had told Norris that he had already torn up my contract, and he had, right in front of me in an office in the Chicago Stadium.
I went down to the Norris office in the Board of Trade Building. He told me that they owned the Stadium, the Olympia in Detroit, the boxing club in Duluth, Minnesota, and owned a large share in Madison Square Garden. Jim said if you go along with us, we'll get you to the top and keep you there.
He also told me they had a bunch of race horses and owned the Detroit Red Wings hockey team, and laughingly said they owned half the wheat this side of Quebec. He said if we can't do anything for you, I don't know who can.
NORRIS, SECRET MANAGER
I agreed to a contract. Norris said, "You understand I can't sign my name to a contract because I do some co-promoting and own the stadiums. But you know I'll be doing your business. I'll have somebody sign the contract." He got somebody in the grain office. I don't even remember the name. The only contact I ever had with this manager was I talked with him on the phone one time after the signing.
Norris asked if I wanted Kearns to front for me. I didn't want him, I told Norris. Then Norris suggested Nate Lewis. I'd met Nate a couple times at the Stadium. I agreed that would be all right.
Nate took over from there. That fall, which was '36, I'd had four or five fights, then they started talking about lining me up for a fight with Max Schmeling.
In October of 1937, Nate received a wire from Joe Jacobs in New York. It said to meet him at a certain room in the Drake hotel here in Chicago at a certain time. Nate phoned me. I met him at the Clover bar on Clark Street. We took a cab to the Drake.
Nate said you wait here, Norris will be here after a while. I was there quite a while, then somebody came down to the lobby and said go to such and such a room. When I came in the room, there was Lewis, Norris, and Joe Jacobs, Schmeling's manager. I tossed my hat on the bed. Jacobs grabbed it and yelled, "What's the matter with you, don't you know it's bad luck?"
To me it was a joke. He was really serious.