SI Vault
December 13, 1954
The identity of the mystery man in a 15-year-old boxing scandal is now revealed for the first time. After fixing the Thomas-Schmeling and Thomas-Galento fights, James Norris Jr. went on to become the president of the IBC. Now he comes into your living room every time you tune in a major TV fight
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December 13, 1954

Jim Norris Is Part Of Boxing's Dirty Business

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I fought Schmeling Dec. 13, 1937. I went down to Mike Jacobs' office. Here's another guy who has passed on since.

I told Mike, "You know I'm supposed to lose this fight." Mike said, "All you got to do is look good for four rounds, my boy, and don't have to worry about nothin' from there on." He said "You're signed for two other fights, aren't you?" I said yes. He said, "If you beat Louis you get a rematch with Schmeling and with Louis. That'll be all the fighting you'll be wanting to do."

I was kicking Schmeling's ears down for at least three rounds. I found it wasn't hard to hit him. I was hitting with left hooks to the body and right hooks to the head. I was roughing him up in the clinches a little bit?not fouling him, but too strong for him. He was squawking to Donovan, the referee. I don't know if Schmeling knew the fight was fixed. I heard afterward that he said Jacobs had crossed him up, I was too rough for him.

After the third round Nate Lewis in the corner told me, "Take it easy, Harry. You're too rough." So the fourth round I coasted pretty much, kind of waiting for Schmeling to level with that potent right hand he is supposed to have. In the seventh round he landed a kind of half-hearted right and I went down, to let him know I was ready to go. I didn't take any count, got right up.

In the eighth I don't remember how many times I went down. In the eighth they stopped it. He didn't hurt me any more than my little son could. I was even giving him clean shots. Leaving myself open, walk up like I was out on my feet, let my hands drop, give him a clean shot at my chin. I just didn't want to get cut.

The next day Nate Lewis and I went down to a hotel, I can't think of the name of it. It was Norris' hotel. They told me to wait in an outer room in a suite. They were in a huddle in an inner room. Joe Jacobs, Nate Lewis, Jim Norris were in there.

Then Jim Norris came out to me and handed me a bunch of money. Some one thousand dollar bills, some hundreds. That was the first thousand dollar bill I ever saw. I was sitting on the davenport and he tossed it down to me. I looked at it and said, "Jim where's all that money we talked about for the fight?" It looked like about one-third.

Norris said, "That's the pay-off, Harry. What can we do about it?" I took one of those thousand dollar bills, I wanted to show it to my folks, they'd never seen one. I think I took six one hundred dollar bills. I told Norris I wanted the rest by check. He gave me a check, I'm not sure how much it was, maybe thirty-two hundred, around there. I think we got a total of about $15,000. Expenses were about a third, and Norris and I split the rest.

In February of 1938 I lived up to my agreement on Adamick. I carried him for ten rounds. At the end of the ninth Donovan, again the referee, said I had lost two on low blows. The 10th round I went out standing straight up and jabbing with my left. I hit him on the chin with a right, his knees buckled, I grabbed him in a clinch to hold him up. After clinching for a while, I threw a few feeble left hooks to the body, and he pushed me back. I noticed his eyes were not clear. He threw a left hook for my head, which I caught high with my right hand. As he drew his arm back I again hit him on the chin with a right. His knees buckled again and I clinched again.

Adamick got the decision. I did my job too well in the early rounds. I was sorry to lose, but I didn't worry too much about it because I already had a contract for the Louis fight.

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