No Time for Jokes
The Welterweight championship eliminations were going along smoothly enough, with Vince Martinez standing by to meet the winner of the Virgil Akins-Isaac Logart bout for Carmen Basilio's vacated welterweight title. Akins won, on a sixth-round TKO at Madison Square Garden Friday night, and that seemed to be that.
It was an upset, decidedly. The odds early in the week had favored Logart 8 to 6, widened to 9 to 7 Friday morning, and widened further to 11 to 5 at ringside.
The heavy odds were justified in the first five rounds, which Logart took 4-1 with fast, elusive maneuvering. In the sixth, though, he unaccountably abandoned his successful style for a slower one, and Akins caught up with him. Logart went down from a long left hook to the jaw, followed by a right-hand push, and took a count of four from Referee Harry Kessler. Up again, he was battered along the ropes and, while he clung to them to keep from falling, Kessler started an eight count. He was being hit freely, but still on his feet, when Kessler stopped the fight, though there were only seven seconds to go in the round.
One might have expected a howl of protest from Logart's corner, but none was heard. No one going home from the fight thought it was anything too extraordinary nor, presumably, did the TV audience. Just another upset. Next day, though, it was learned that representatives of District Attorney Frank S. Hogan, the Hogan who broke the basketball scandals of 1951, had been quietly shoving subpoenas into reluctant hands at ringside, in the dressing rooms after the fight and during the traditional postfight lox-and-bagel break at Jack Dempsey's restaurant. The subpoenas called for recipients to appear before an April session of a grand jury which for some weeks has been looking into boxing's dirty business.
That was about all Hogan had to say for public consumption, except that "more than a dozen" subpoenas had been passed out. Among those who got them:
Billy Brown, New York matchmaker for the International Boxing Club (James D. Norris, president).
Fighters Logart and Akins.
Eddie Mafuz, manager of Logart.
Willie Ketchum, one of Frankie (Murder, Inc.) Carbo's familiars, who turned up as a second in Logart's corner.