Last June, a few days after Commissioner Christenberry had admonished "rumor mongers" for hinting that there had been a series of betting coups based on too-good-to-be-true victories by long shots in the Garden, Bobby Jones, booked to meet Bob's old nemesis, Joey Giardello, reported to the commission that he had been approached by men who tried to bribe him to throw the fight. Christenberry took Jones to District Attorney Frank Hogan's office, where Jones repeated the story. Hogan?warning Christenberry, Harry Markson of the I.B.C, who accompanied him, and Jones and his manager, Bob Melnick, not to mention the matter to a soul?proceeded to set a trap that he hoped would lead to busting the boxing racket wide open.
Two days later, the New York Journal-American broke the story under a screaming banner line?someone who may have been interested in saving the game from exposure had spilled the beans. The Journal-American had been on the street for over two hours when Clarence Henry, a heavyweight managed by Blinky Palermo, a Philadelphia racketeer, walked into the trap, reportedly with a copy of the paper heralding the bribe attempts stuck in his pocket, unread. It was an unbelievably lucky break for the district attorney's office. Henry is now out on bail. If he talks, many carefully guarded secrets about professional boxing may be brought out into the open.
Big Jim Farley rode into eminence on his "no foul" rule. In the pre-Farley era, whenever a boxer was losing an important match, he could drop to the mat, start groaning and claim he had been fouled, and nine times out of 10 the referee would allow his claim. After Max Schmeling won the heavyweight championship by claiming Jack Sharkey had fouled him, Farley thought the time had come for stern action. His "no foul" rule was roundly criticized at first, but it turned out to be the best measure ever adopted for the protection of the fight fans.
Battling Bob Christenberry, his anti-gangster campaign having fizzled, has no such coup to his credit yet, but you have to give him an E for effort. After the recent Kid Gavilan- Johnny Saxton stinker in Philadelphia, headline-conscious Bob got himself plenty of type mileage out of a proposal to switch New York over from the round-and-point system of scoring fights to the straight point method. In the same breath, he demanded that Saxton, the new welterweight champion, who won his title on rounds (if we overlook such items as astigmatism, parochialism and other shortcomings on the part of the officials), defend his tainted bauble in New York against Carmen Basilio.
If Bob goes on to higher things, it will be on the strength of such accomplishments as his new scoring system, his help in introducing safety mats for boxing rings, recodification of the boxing laws, the adoption of eight-ounce gloves, compulsory physical examinations for referees and judges, stricter physicals for boxers, and organizing boxing's first Hall of Fame. Many of Bob's former admirers think he would have done better for himself and boxing if he had stuck to his original program of disorganizing boxing's Hall of Ill Fame.
Last week in New York, Republican Christenberry said he expected to retain his post despite the election of Democrat Averell Harriman to the governorship. A good many friends of boxing, some of them Republicans, hope the chairman is wrong.