Little more than a year ago Cus D'Amato was proclaiming foolishly that his obscure fighter, Floyd Patterson, would win the heavyweight championship of the world despite all the power the International Boxing Club ( James D. Norris, president) could range against him. Patterson then had not even fought Hurricane Jackson. Everyone, with a few exceptions (SI, Jan. 30, 1956), thought Cus was pretty silly.
About the same time the United States Department of Justice was proclaiming that the IBC, Madison Square Garden and some others were engaged in a conspiracy to monopolize boxing. Just about everyone, save for some who bothered to read the charges and examine the law, thought the IBC would beat the rap easy.
Little more than a week ago, Cus D'Amato was proclaiming foolishly that an obscure onetime promoter, Emil Lence, would promote the next heavyweight championship fight—none other than Floyd Patterson vs. Hurricane Jackson—despite all the power the IBC could range against him. Just about everyone, save for a stubborn few who knew what stubborn stuff Floyd's manager is made of, again thought Cus was pretty silly.
A year has gone by since Cus's first proclamation and Floyd Patterson is champion of the world, the IBC has not beaten the rap and it has not beaten Cus D'Amato either. Just about everyone has now come to the conclusion that the white-haired, grim-jawed Cus is the smartest, toughest fight manager to come along in many a year.
The Justice Department's antitrust division looks smart and tough, too. The IBC has been found guilty of the monopoly conspiracy, and it is only a question of time and the mind of Federal Judge Sylvester J. Ryan as to when the monopoly will be broken for sure and for good. As for the Patterson-Jackson fight, under some urging from New York's boxing commission chairman, Julius Helfand, against the reluctance of Jackson's IBC-beholden manager, it has been signed for the week of July 29, a more definite date to be set when television commitments are made. Likely date: Tuesday, July 30. Likely TV viewer: Jim Norris.
This week Cus D'Amato, relaxing in an electrically operated vibrating lounge chair, spoke an electrically vibrant metaphor:
"If they got Jackson they have a fight. I'm just sitting down as a bystander awaiting the results."
From here on out Cus can afford to sit down as a bystander and let Pro-motor Emil Lence carry the ball to Newcastle.
So there are two big cracks now in the IBC dam against competition, but even so there is no need for anyone to run. This flow is water pouring into a drought-stricken land, restoring life, not taking it.
Some of the most vital restoration work will be done in a week or so, when Judge Ryan hands down his decree. Now he is taking advice—well, he's listening to advice—from defense and Government lawyers who have ideas about what his decree should be.