Frank Wiener were an ostrich instead of an eel, he would be able to save face
by burying his head in quicksand after what happened in Philadelphia's
Convention Hall Wednesday night to disgrace once more his home city and his
administration of boxing in it.
Philadelphia, in recent years a dumping ground for fistic garbage, was
advertised wherever television carried the Gavilan-Saxton
welterweight-championship stinker as a city in which it is possible for a
home-town hoodlum to job a world's champion out of his title, for the benefit
of one of his own fighters, is the fault of no one but Wiener, Pennsylvania's
undistinguished administrator of boxing.
approval, Blinky Palermo, a hoodlum with a malodorous record in and out of the
prize ring, could not hold a manager's license. That Palermo was able to steal
the title on this occasion was most appropriate because he also stole Johnny
Saxton, the fighter for whom he perpetrated this outrage. Bill Miller, a decent
old-time Negro trainer, developed Saxton as an amateur and, when he wasn't
making much progress with him as a pro, tied up with Palermo because he was
given to understand that without a mob connection, he wouldn't get anywhere.
When the two-year contract Miller entered into with The Blink expired, poor old
Bill, who taught Saxton everything he knows (the only rap against Miller), was
kicked out of the partnership.
As Blinky and
Saxton awaited the announcement of the decision in their corner Wednesday
night, after a 15th round in which Gavilan staggered Saxton and swarmed all
over him, a beatific smile spread over the kindly hoodlum's face, reminiscent
of that displayed by the fabled pussycat after devouring the canary. It was as
if Blink were saying: "Well, you're on your feet so everything's okay."
The story, buzzed around in advance, was that Gavilan would have to knock out
his man to retain his title. When the unanimous verdict for Saxton was
announced, Blinky acted as if it were stale news. His expression of complete
confidence, before the announcement came, was revealing.
As to which was
worse, the decision or the fight itself, it would take some pretty fine
hairsplitting to decide. Blinky the Just, Frankie's pin-up boy, thought
everything was just dandy. What Frankie Carbo, Gavilan's Goombar with whom The
Blink dined at Dempsey's Monday night, thought of it no one was able to find
out, as he copped a "5th amundment" plea. What the public thought of
it, as represented by the opinion of televiewers, seems to be that for the next
six months our Republic will stink like a pulp-mill town from coast to
explanation of the putrid affair is that Signor Carbo, who had a piece of
Gavilan without the fighter's approval, saw that the Keed not only was getting
balky but also was slipping rapidly and, to keep control of the title, arranged
with Blinky to pass it along to Saxton. Gavilan apparently was suspicious from
the start, as he pulled out of the match twice.
Jack Kearns told
some friends before the fight to send in all they had on Saxton who, he said,
couldn't lose. In New York, many fans who tried to put money on Saxton were
told that they could bet only on Gavilan. After the fight (?), Palermo said
there would be no return match for Gavilan. And before and after it, Goombar
Carbo lavishly entertained fight mobsters from all over America at a hotel
suite. He had good reason to celebrate.