Meanwhile the odds on the fight shifted peculiarly. On Wednesday Vince was a 13-to-5 favorite. By Thursday night, when presumably the bets were down, the figures sagged to 9-to-5. But by fight time the odds were again 13-to-5. It is conceivable that somebody had spotted the Martinez bodyguard.
It is the custom at Madison Square Garden to play The Star-Spangled Banner before the main event. The house lights dim; the fighters stand motionless by their corners. There was a slight change for the Martinez-Fiore fight. Instead of just being dimmed, the Garden lapsed into near-total darkness. Around Martinez, unseen in the gloom, stood the D.A.'s bodyguard.
The fight was all Martinez although he relied mainly on a jab, cautiously keeping his right high to protect against Fiore's wild left swings. Vince knew he could not afford to lose this fight; if he did and news of the attempted fix got around he would be accused of taking a dive. Fiore was doing his best to beat him.
By the seventh round Fiore was through. Vince waded in and hammered him helpless on the ropes. Referee Harry Kessler stopped the fight.
Afterward, the Martinez party was escorted to the New Jersey line.
Obviously, the story is not ended yet. District Attorney Hogan and his men are hunting for the gamblers who wanted a sure thing. Clues in the long story of the gambler-ridden fight racket are scant.
And Vince Martinez? He is looking for a crack at the title. As Phil Martinez says, "When you're clean, you got nothin' to be afraid of."
THE BOXING GUILD & THE $100 RECEIPTS
While District Attorney Frank Hogan sought the two men who attempted to bribe Vince Martinez, another boxing investigation got under way last week in New York City. Parading before the State Athletic Commission headed by Robert K. Christenberry were managers, promoters and match-makers who hurled charges and countercharges at each other with a ferocity that would have been enviable in their fighters.
Up for scrutiny were the activities of the New York local of the International Boxing Guild, an organization of managers. Members of the Metropolitan Boxing Alliance, an insurgent group, had filed 13 affidavits with the commission accusing the Guild of blacklisting, discrimination, coercion, extortion and of levying a $100 tribute on both members and nonmembers for every televised fight in which one of their fighters appeared. Holding what purport to be canceled checks and receipts for the $100 payments (see below), M.B.A. members told the commission that anybody who failed to pony up the $100 was "grounded," unable to get a fight for his boy. Said M.B.A. Lawyer H. Jordan Lee: "We feel the Guild is such a corrupt, vicious organization that to permit its practices to continue must result in the death of boxing."