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Treasurer William (Honest Bill) Daly of the International Boxing Guild has had a trying year. Last May, Chairman Julius Helfand of the New York boxing commission began investigating the Guild when Welterweight Vince Martinez charged that he was unable to get fights after his contract with Daly expired. Helfand eventually outlawed the Guild's New York local, but he had little success with Daly who flatly refused to testify and later ducked a subpoena. Martinez, unable to buck the boycott, returned to Daly's management. Last January, however, a federal grand jury, after hearing testimony that the Guild had enforced a boycott against a Cleveland promoter, indicted Daly and two other Guild officials. Two weeks ago, with Helfand's subpoena lifted at least temporarily, Honest Bill gave his side of the story to SI while he held court in the back booth of a Broadway restaurant.
William (Honest Bill) Daly ordered a Scotch and then he spoke: "I think Julie Helfand is a smearer. He has done nothin' for boxin'. He's a politician who took the job as a medium of gettin' a judgeship. He said he was gonna clean the racketeers outta boxin'. I haven't seen one racketeer he's cleaned out. He hasn't found one fake fight in boxin' yet. He isn't a good investigator.
"He's used Carbo's name as a headline huntin' scheme," Daly continued indignantly. "Durin' them days, I'd read the papers and see Frankie on Broadway, in Dempsey's eatin', or another place. He didn't seem to be a fugitive or a man corruptin' the fight game. The old sayin' is, 'Get up or shut up.' "
Daly leaned back and puffed on a cigar. "Helfand accused Tex Sullivan and Willie Gilzenberg of St. Nick's of foolin' around with gangsters. But when the hearin' opened, Helfand struck that out. The 'great investigator' couldn't produce, again. Outside of tellin' the boys that if they belonged to the Boxin' Guild of New York they're gonna lose their license, he didn't file no criminal charges or misappropriation of funds. Who stole anything? Steal a loaf of bread," Honest Bill said righteously, "you get put in the can."
"Helfand or no other commissioner," Daly continued, "ever tried to get more money for the fighters like the Guild did. Never in my 35 years of boxin'. They always protect the promoters and the different political hacks appointed to the commission. They saddle the small clubs with these hacks, and when the show is over and $2,000 is in, they take 5% of the gate for the commission! Then their next grab is what they call officials—those guys who stand around to count the shoelaces on the fighters' feet. They take anywheres from $300 to $400 off the top for the officials. At St. Nick's, I think they go three-seven-five for those bums! They see a free fight for nothin' and get paid for it! The government takes 10% for taxes, then fighters get their percentage after that."
Bill Daly shook his head over the outrages committed in the name of the state. He took a sip of his Scotch, rattling the ice around in the glass before putting it down. He puffed on his cigar while he waited for the next question. It concerned Promoter Ray Arcel.
In September of 1953 Ray Arcel, who was at odds with the Guild, was slugged on the head with a lead pipe by an unknown assailant. That autumn Arcel paid about $13,000 for advertising—at $1,500 a page—in the International Boxing Magazine, which Daly edited. In view of the circumstances surrounding the Arcel case, did not the price of $13,000 for these advertisements amount to extortion?
"Ray, when he got his TV deal, said he'd like to help out his pals with a welfare fund for the Guild," he said patiently. "From time to time, he offered to give money to the Guild, but the Guild attorney said that wouldn't be right. Well, I opened up a magazine to be a voice for fight managers. Then we went out and hustled ads like any other magazine, and if a guy like Ray was doin' good, we sold him a bill of goods that if he was doin' good he should take ads. We gave him full-page ads, we did, and he was only new. He was competin' with the IBC. We told him every manager and boxin' writer would get a free copy. At that time, he was havin' difficulty gettin' talent, and you have to let people know you're in business. This was the only magazine that reached the boxin' game. Arcel could afford to pay more for the ads, and it meant more to him than, say, the manufacturer of Pabst beer because it got to the fight managers. It was a trade magazine. It was in the business."
Did Daly have any idea who slugged Arcel on the head with a lead pipe?
"Couldn't even offer an idea of what caused it," said Daly, relighting the cigar. "The magazine is gonna be in business again," he confided. "And naturally I'm gonna sell everyone who wants to take an ad that they can take it off their income taxes. We don't know who's, gonna be on the editorial board, but the magazine may be so hot this time they may not wanna go in.