"When I first came into this job," he says, "I found that for a long time—by way of considerable volume of mail and personal contact—that the average boxing fan and the public generally who watch boxing, either in the arena or on television, that there was a feeling amongst these people that boxing was in the control of a few people who dictated who fought, when they fought, and that many people thought they dictated who the winner was to be. Included in this category—as to who the winner was to be—was the feeling, not necessarily that the fights were fixed, although there was some feeling about that, too, but that, rather, among the controlling group and the managers, matches were being made to build up a particular fighter against the detriment of his opponent, and this, basically, is as bad and as wrong as fixed fights."
Well, to be sure, like many another boxing commission chairman, Helfand speaks in lolling periods but he makes his meaning clear. He notes, as an effective measure of his success, that few fans now complain to him about conditions.
In recent months, he says, "along with improvement in the caliber of fights, there has come practically an elimination of previous letters concerning decisions. There have been few, if any, in the past year. They have been practically eliminated."
Compared with two years ago, restoration of confidence in boxing is no mean achievement. No boxing commission can hope to score a knockout over all the cheats. But Helfand is far ahead on points. He can't lose, if he keeps his guard up.