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In boxing's fuzzy ethic, the apt retort to a clean left hook can be a thumb in the other man's eye. Art Aragon, the Golden Boy, was raised by this standard. His intimates and mentors were men like Babe McCoy, the matchmaker-fixer, and Frankie Carbo, the fixer-gambler. If custom determines morals, Art Aragon was a moral young welterweight. As he understood it, the fix was part of the game. It was a considerable part of his career, which drew $1 million into the box office.
It was a great shock to Art Aragon to discover the other day that the law against the fix is taken seriously in some circles, so seriously that he was sentenced" to a prison term of one to five years. He pleaded for probation. Probation was refused, and Art Aragon burst into tears. The tears, however, did not wash away the habit of years.
"I told the truth," he lied once more, "and I'm going to prison."
Aragon did not expect any sophisticated person to believe he had told the truth. He was just going through the same old motions, following the pattern that had been successfully set in so many newspaper interviews. It would not occur to an Aragon to tell the truth at last, in extremity, and throw himself on the mercy of the court.
This had been noted by Superior Judge Herbert V. Walker. When he came to pronounce sentence on Aragon for trying to fix a fight with Dick Goldstein, the judge had before him nothing that would warrant mercy. Neither penitence nor a seemly pretense of penitence.
"There is not one scintilla of evidence," the judge said, "that he recognizes he may have committed a wrong...[but] the verdict was fairly and properly tried.
"We have a man before us who has attained an enviable position in the boxing world—third-ranking welterweight—a man who is supposed to be looked to as a clean sportsman in what at least should be a clean sport.
"Crimes of this nature are not small crimes in the court's opinion."