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"Hold it, fellows!" Bentley shouted at the noisy poker players. "We got trouble! It looks like the fight's off."
White the furies raged in New York, while Norris was stricken with what appeared to be food poisoning and taken to a hospital, while Julius Helfand, the boxing commission chairman, raged at Sugar Ray and threatened to take away his title, white Sugar Ray sassed Helfand, Basilio maintained the even tenor of his training schedule, fished in the St. Lawrence River for bass and pike, and played a little poker. His managers, Johnny De John and Joe Netro, did the fuming. Basilio relaxed. His contempt for Robinson as a person is deep ("He's arrogant and I despise him") but it is quiet. It was Robinson who got excited. It was Robinson who lost 10 days of proper training, though he did work out to some extent at a Harlem gym. It was Robinson who took sleeping pills.
It was also Robinson, to be sure, who got a $255,000 theater-television guarantee out of his tantrums to add to his 45% of the big gate and whatever is derived from movie sales and radio. But Robinson's act got Basilio a $110,000 theater-TV guarantee to go with his 20% of gate, radio and movies: Basilio is not altogether unhappy about this.
Except for his "mean" and taciturn prefight period, Basilio is a gentle and accommodating man. He will be meaner than ever for this fight. An admirer of Robinson as a fighting machine, Basilio once approached the mighty Sugar and bashfully held out the hand of friendship.
"Hello, Ray," he said shyly. "I'm Carmen Basilio."
Robinson looked at the fellow champion coldly, as if to inquire who this presumptuous upstart might be, then turned away, ignoring the outthrust hand. The snub will cost him a few extra licks on the night of the fight.
This is the way Basilio foresees the fight:
"During the first four rounds Robinson will be trying to take me out the way he did Fullmer in their second fight. I'll have to crowd him then. I can't give him punching room. It ought to be a fast four and I'll have to be very alert to keep from being hit too hard. But after that I'll have the advantage on him. I'm younger than he is. At 151 pounds I'm stronger than I ever was."