There are days on which the sporting sun goes down and leaves behind a sense that an age has passed into history.
It was so in boxing on the day in 1949 when Mike Jacobs put a tremulous X (he was too sick to sign his name) to a document that surrendered his Madison Square Garden lease, to be picked up later by the International Boxing Club (James D. Norris, president). That act ended the Age of Joe Louis.
It was so again on Friday, April 27, when the Government rested its antitrust case against IBC.
Little more than an hour later Rocky Marciano announced he was retiring as heavyweight champion.
? CALIFORNIA ENDS CASE
In California the IBC had other things to think about. There James Cox, appointed by Governor Goodwin Knight to investigate boxing, showed that Norris and Truman K. Gibson Jr., IBC secretary, were shareholders in California Boxing Enterprises, a Sid Flaherty production. Flaherty, the Mr. Big of California boxing, emerged as the surprise witness of the investigation. He admitted he had broken about every rule in the boxing commission's book. He had, for instance, acted as a promoter, though he is manager of Bobo Olson and a stable of some 25 other fighters. Most states forbid the manager-promoter status. He had presented as many as five of his fighters on a card, though three is the limit. He had blackballed a referee who ruled against Olson.
But Flaherty left the stand with rather more dignity than many who preceded him. He had refused to lie or evade. Furthermore, Cox had checked, with some skepticism, Flaherty's reputation as a fight manager who treated his boxers with fatherly honesty. He was surprised to discover that the reputation was founded in fact, that Flaherty did indeed give his fighters the legal two-thirds of their purses (instead of the customary, though illegal, 50%). It was also true, Cox learned, that Flaherty had set up a trust for his boxers so that, on retirement, they would have an income for life. To check this, he had gone deeply into the affairs of Featherweight Gil Cadilli.
"Is your treatment of Cadilli," he asked, "typical of the way you handle all your fighters?"
"Pretty much," Flaherty answered.
"Then you are a credit to your profession or any other profession."