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Sig Hart is 82 years old now but as cocky as ever he was in the days when he fought the best in the bantam division and managed and trained the great Jack Johnson. He says flatly that Jim Norris told him that he and others were arranging to fix the Schmeling-Thomas fight. He says flatly that Jim Norris was Thomas' secret manager.
He says further that Norris at least had knowledge of another fixed fight in which Thomas was not involved. This is the way Hart, who once worked with both Norrises, father and son, told it in a sworn statement:
" Jim Norris Jr. picked me up at my apartment at 446 Arlington Place, Chicago, where I still live, one night in October 1937. As we drove down to the Drake Hotel, Norris said he was going there to meet Joe Jacobs and Nate Lewis to arrange the Schmeling-Thomas fight and he wanted me to go with him. I told him that if I went up into that Drake Hotel room, there wouldn't be any such talk. I also told him, 'If I was you, I wouldn't go up there.'
" Norris admitted to me that they were arranging for Thomas to lose the fight. I refused to go up because I'd been in the boxing game 50 years and nobody could point his finger at me. So Norris dropped me at the Drake and I took a taxi on down to the Loop.
"After the Schmeling fight in New York, Thomas came back to Chicago. Thomas was always a great guy to talk—he was telling them around George Trafton's gymnasium, 'I had a hard time losing to Schmeling.' So I got hold of Nate Lewis and said, 'You've got to tell Thomas to stop talking. He's got diarrhea of the mouth.'
" Jim Norris Jr. definitely owned Thomas. Norris was Thomas' real manager. For instance, Norris called me up when Thomas' sister died. Thomas was in St. Paul and Norris wanted me to wire him $500. Norris called me by phone asking me as a favor to wire this money by Western Union, as he didn't have a chance to get to his office to do it. I wired the money, and Norris personally repaid me for it. Thomas had come to Chicago in November, 1935 for the white hope tournament. After Thomas won the tournament, Norris told me he wanted to get Thomas' contract—and he did get it. Thomas' sister died in January, 1936, so when Norris phoned me about sending Thomas the money it was obvious he was Thomas' real manager.
" Jim Norris Jr. never hesitated to talk freely to me in those days. We were very close then. Norris, for example, told me that the Roscoe Towles-Jimmy Adamick fight was fixed. Norris was trying to build up Adamick for a shot at the championship. If the Thomas-Adamick fight had been on the up and up, there's no question in my mind that Thomas would have knocked Adamick out in the first round."