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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
In New York the story began with The Case of the Grounded Welterweight.
In Pennsylvania it began with The Case of the Poisoned Orange.
In California it was The Case of the Suspicious Governor.
New York's Julius Helfand, a racket-busting prosecutor appointed chairman of the state boxing commission by Governor Averell Harriman, feinted and slugged his way through an inquiry into "alleged irregularities in the conduct of boxing." These centered around the enforced idleness of a clean-cut fighter named Vince Martinez, third-ranking welterweight, who has not been able to get a fight since December. Vince's idleness stemmed from a quarrel with his then manager, William (Honest Bill) Daly, treasurer and dominant figure in the powerful International Boxing Guild, a kind of managers' cartel. First result: Helfand suspended the licenses of Daly and his pugnacious associate, Murray (Tex) Pelte, "for acts detrimental to boxing." Both refused to appear for testimony.
The New York inquiry began with a look at the Martinez situation but in time was examining the shy friendship between Frankie Carbo, once a leading gunslinger for Murder Inc., and fight managers and promoters, including James D. Norris, president of the International Boxing Club, who is boxing's top dog. Men like Norris who have known Carbo for 20 years or more—during which Carbo drew four homicide raps—looked blank like movie mobsters and pleaded ignorance when asked how Carbo made his living (gambling and fixing fights), where he lived (in New York and Miami), how he could be reached (by leaving a note with the headwaiter in a leading Broadway restaurant). Under oath these boxing leaders testified that when they met Carbo for a casual cup of coffee they never discussed boxing with him. Thus, Jim Norris:
A. (by Norris) Yes.
Q. How long do you know him?
A. Twenty years.
Q. Have you ever discussed the promotion of any fights with Mr. Carbo?