INTEREST HIGH OVER ROCKY'S FIGHT (Associated Press, Saturday, September 17, 1955) By Jack Hand NEW YORK -- For the first time since the days of Joe Louis, there is a "big fight" tang in the fall air as Rocky Marciano prepares to defend his heavyweight title Tuesday night in Yankee Stadium. Although Marciano, unbeaten in 48 fights, remains a strong 3-1 favorite to whip the long frustrated challenger, all signs point to a roaring crowd of 50,000 and a gate of over $750,000 for the 15-round match. With all due respect to Roland LaStarza, Ezzard Charles and Don Cockell, the public never gave any of Rocky's previous challengers a chance to win. Ever since the September night in 1952 when he got off the floor to knock out Jersey Joe Walcott and win the title, Rocky has been head and shoulders above the division. The carefully planned publicity campaign for Moore, followed by his victory over Nino Valdes and his knockout of Bobo Olson in three rounds, has cast the 38-year-old ring gypsy in the role of a martyr. Encouraged by the delaying tactics of Al Weill, the champion's manager, people began to believe that Marciano was ducking Moore. A Marciano-Moore match became a "must." Not since Louis fought his return match with Walcott or his second bout with Billy Conn has there been such tremendous interest in a heavyweight match. The International Boxing Club reports an advance sale of $500,000. Even a man with a good connection could buy nothing better than a seat in the 26th row last week at the $40 tops. In addition to the natural appeal of a match between the 31-year-old champ from Brockton, Mass., and the older, more experienced lightheavyweight king, the sale has been boosted by the fact there will be no home television. Theater television really comes of age for this bout with 128 theaters in 92 cities piping the picture to their audiences over a closed circuit TV. As the average fee is about $3.50 and 350,000 are expected, theater television network officials indicate they will gross one million dollars. Roughly speaking, the promoters and fighters get a total of about $1 per head to be divided 40 per cent to Marciano, 20 per cent to Moore and 40 per cent to the promoters. On the basis of the 40-20 percentage split, which also holds good for the regular gate receipts, Marciano should drag down about $400,000 and Moore about $200,000 for the night's work. The all-time record for a fight, of course, was the $2,658,660 for the Gene Tunney-Jack Dempsey rematch at Chicago, Sept. 22, 1927. The best since was the $1,925,564 for the second Louis-Conn bout in 1946 at $100 tops. To clear the wires for the theater TV, the bout will go on 30 minutes later than usual at 9:30 p.m. (EST). In case of rain the show would be held over until Wednesday night at 9:45 p.m. (EST). The fight will be heard on radio over the American Broadcasting Co., the Armed Forces Radio Network and the Voice of America. Marciano has trained at Grossinger, N.Y., as usual, with his customary devotion to condition. He hasn't boxed as many rounds as he has for some fights, about 120 in all. There has been fear that he might go stale from overwork but he appears in the proper frame of mind, fully alert to the danger in the cagey elder statesman. In contrast to Marciano's rather quiet camp, Moore has been sounding off like a carnival pitchman at his sylvan retreat in North Adams, Mass., where he has predicted he'd win by a knockout in ten rounds. Moore has been living up to his reputation as a "character," scaring the promoters by trying to fly a plane, beating the drums for his tenor sax protege, Lucky Thompson, and explaining his theory of "relaxism" to the fight writers who have been relaxed for years. HURRICANE SCARE HOLDS OFF FIGHT ONE DAY (Associated Press, Tuesday, September 20, 1954) By Jack Hand NEW YORK -- Rocky Marciano and Archie Moore, sidelined for 24 hours by the empty threat of Hurricane Ione, weighed in heavier than expected today for Wednesday's heavyweight title bout at Yankee Stadium. The fickle dame Ione scared Jim Norris, president of the International Boxing Club, into announcing a one-day postponement in mid-morning. Shortly after the noon weigh-in the sun peeked through and the skies cleared. It would have been possible to have held the fight as Ione sliced out to sea. Both the Giants and Dodgers played ball games as scheduled. Because the fight falls on Wednesday night it will be pushed back 15 minutes to 9:45 p.m. (EST) to avoid conflict with the usual Wednesday television show, a middleweight bout at Miami between Bobby Dykes and George Johnson. There will be no changes in arrangements for the big bout, except the new starting time. The bout will not be seen on home television but will be beamed into 128 theaters in 92 cities and four veterans' hospitals on theater network television. It also will be carried on network (ABC) radio. IBC officials reported the advance sale was "between $650,000 and $700,000" with few refunds asked. Promised a perfect day for the fight, they hoped to sell an additional $150,000 worth of tickets at the gate. It appeared that the original estimate of 50,000 people and $750,000 might be topped, despite the postponement. Marciano, unbeaten in his 48-bout career, remained a 17-5 favorite to blunt the bid of the 38-year-old lightheavy king, after the weigh-in and postponement. Marciano, grinning for the camera men, weighed 188 1/4, and Moore came in at 188 pounds. The Rock had been expected to weigh 187 and Moore 185 or 186. However, Moore said he was "satisfied" with his weight. He was up as high as 196 1/2 for Nino Valdes May 2 and down to 175 for Bobo Olson June 22 so it shouldn't make much difference. Under New York rules there won't be any second weigh- in unless there is a 48-hour postponement. Both men will be examined again at their hotel rooms tomorrow. Marciano appeared to be more relaxed than Moore at the weigh-in. Dr. Vincent Nardiello of the New York State Athletic Commission, who examined both men, said Moore "seemed a little on edge, more than before the Olson fight." Of course, as the Olson fight turned out (a third round knockout victory for Moore) he didn't have much to be on edge about that night. Dr. Nardiello said Marciano was "the same old usual cool cucumber." He doubted if the 24-hour delay would affect either man. Marciano said he was all geared to fight tonight but merely shrugged off the delay. In answer to an afternoon paper report that this would be his last fight, Marciano said, "I'm only thinking about this fight right now." His manager, Al Weill, said there was "positively nothing to it (the retirement)." If the weatherman proved to be wrong again tomorrow and the fair weather did not materialize, the fight would be set back to Thursday. After that? The IBC chiefs simply throw up their hands when that question is raised. With a World Series almost certain to start at the Stadium next Wednesday, the Yanks even frowned on a one-day postponement. ROCKY DUMPS ARCHIE IN THE NINTH (Associated Press, Wednesday, September 21, 1955) By Jack Hand NEW YORK -- Rocky Marciano scraped himself out of the resin from a second-round knockdown to floor ancient Archie Moore four times and knock him out in 1:19 of the ninth round tonight in a furiously contested heavyweight title brawl. The 38-year-old ring gypsy, battling gamely against heavy cannonading, finally sunk in his own corner from a short left hook. His legs crumpled under him and his eyes were glassy as he held the ropes with a soggy left mitten. Archie tried to drag himself up for one last try at the unbeaten champ but he collapsed in a heap and had to be lifted onto his stool by his cornermen. It was a fierce and battle battle while it lasted, this match betrween the unbeaten champ from Brockton, Mass., and the lightheavy king from the twin cities of San Diego and Toledo. At the end, the ring was assaulted by a swarm of Marciano rooters who had to be subdued by a cordon of police. Dropped for a four-count in the second round, the second knockdown of his 49-bout career, Marciano threw the full violence of his primitive attack against the challenger. The Rock drove Moore from corner to corner in a fierce barrage in the fourth, chasing Moore from rope to rope and punishing him bitterly every time he cornered him. The old "Suzy Q" right hand was ringing to its target in the sixth with Moore doing his best to counter when it missed. A long overhand right to the head shook Moore from head to toe in the sixth and then another right left the old boy on the floor, close to the ropes near his own corner. He was up quickly at four. Swarming over his man with the urge to end it with one quick blow, Marciano sent Moore to the deck again with an overhand right. This time he didn't get up until eight. In his anxiety, Rocky was still swinging after the bell. It was apparent to most of the big crowd of about 55,000 that paid over $900,000 that old Archie couldn't continue much longer under this numbing attack. But he came out for the seventh, slashing back with his short counter blows. A right to the head sent Moore spinning to the floor but Referee Kessler ruled he had slipped and quickly brushed off his gloves. The most exciting heavyweight title scrap since Marciano won the crown from Jersey Joe Walcott at Philadelphia in 1952 found Rocky trying to apply the crusher in the eighth. Weary and hurt, with his right eye almost closed, Moore fought a retreating battle with counter bursts. He simply couldn't stand up against the ever-onward champion. Just before the bell ended the eighth, another shocking right tore through the chill night air and landed on Archie's jaw. He went down, grabbing the ropes with one hand, and sat on the canvas as the referee tallied seven. He was saved by the bell, although he didn't even know it rang. Kessler, who had shouted "keep them up" to both men in the first round and warned Rocky "watch the head" in the fifth, cautioned Marciano to "keep them up" again in the ninth as he closed in for the kill. The final punch, a left hook to the head, didn't seem half as hard as some of the other blows that the Brockton Blockbuster had rained on Archie's anatomy, but it was sharp and on target. It was a fitting end for a whale of a battle. Marciano went into the ring for his sixth defense a 4 to 1 favorite with only a four-ounce edge over the lightheavy champ, whose title, of course, was not at stake. Marciano weighed 188 1/4 yesterday when they stepped on the scales, a few hours after the bout was postponed for 24 hours because of the empty threat of Hurricane Ione. Moore scaled 188. They didn't have to weigh a second time. It was the end of a long, dusty road, clogged with bitter frustration, for Archie who finally was getting his shot at the ring's biggest jackpot at the age of 38. Marciano, only 31, simply carried too many guns and packed too much power for him. Although Moore's bid for the "big one" failed and his 21- fight winning streak was broken, he took down the biggest purse of his career, probably about $200,000 when all receipts, including theater television, are counted. It was his fifth knockout in 145 fights since 1936 and his first since June 2, 1948 when Leonard Morrow took him out in one. Marciano's 40 per cent cut, twice as much as Moore's, probably will come to about $400,000, largest of his career. The drama of this fight wasn't long in coming. Marciano, floored only once in his career, in the first round of his first match with Walcott, found himself on the deck in the second round. He had just hooked to the head when Archie smashed home a short right. Wearing a surprised look on his battered face, the Rock got up at four. In the second round it appeared that Rocky was due to be sliced and gashed by Moore's cutting punches. He bled from the nose and there was a growing bruise under his left eye. By the third round, Moore had opened a cut over that left eye. Still, when it was all over, it was Moore who bore the marks of battle, with only a narrow slit of a right eye open. Although Archie had to be helped to his corner after the knockout, he recovered and left under his own power. On the way to his dressing room, he was rubber legged, leaning on two cornermen for help but still waving to admirers on all sides. "If you think I put up a good fight then I'm extremely happy," he said in his dressing room. "I think he fought a great fight." He smiled and bantered with the press in his usual glib style after taking a shower. In Marciano's dressing room, it developed that he was considering retirement as an unbeaten champ. "I'm undecided about retiring," he said. "My mother and my wife both want me to retire." All three officials had Marciano way out front before he finished matters with his 43rd knockout and there was nothing technical about this one. Referee Kesser scored it 5-2-1, Judge Artie Aidala 7-1 and Judge Harold Barnes 5-3, all for Marciano. The AP card was 6-2. Kessler gave Moore the second and seventh and called the fifth even. Aidala gave Moore the second and Barnes scored the second, third and fifth for the challenger. The AP card had Moore on top in the first and second. SUPREME COURT HEARS BOXING DEBATE (Associated Press, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 1954) By Herb Altschull WASHINGTON -- The government told the Supreme Court today boxing promoters have become so involved in nationwide television shows that the fight game should be officially declared to be a business within the meaning of the nation's antitrust laws. This line of argument was taken by Phillip Elman, special assistant to the attorney general, in asking the high tribunal to order a lower court to bring to trial the government's civil suit that claims boxing violates the country's laws against monopolies. Elman said the court's previous decisions exempting baseball from the antitrust laws should not be applied to boxing. And, spurred by a suggestion from Justice Felix Frankfurter, Elman told the court it shouldn't be "capricious" in dealing with the comparison between baseball and boxing. The two activities simply are not the same thing, Elman said. Whitley North Seymour, New York attorney representing the International Boxing Club (IBC), challenged this statement directly. He said baseball and boxing are "precisely analagous." And, Seymour said, the court must use its baseball decisions as a precedent for throwing out the government's claim and declaring boxing to be outside the scope of the antitrust laws. The argument appeared to boil down to these questions: 1. Does the widespread use of radio, television and motion picture contracts by boxing promoters put them in interstate commerce? 2. Does the structure of boxing differ substantially from the structure of baseball? 3. When Congress declared baseball to be outside the scope of antitrust laws, was it tacitly putting boxing within those laws? "Yes," said the government; "no," said the boxing people. The Supreme Court will weigh these issues before coming up with a decision, which is not likely to be forthcoming for several months. Elman said boxing promoters make so much of their money from television that "fights might just as well be put on in television studios." Seymour replied that baseball club owners make more money from television than boxing promoters -- "by 10 to 1." Elman said that after the Supreme Court declared baseball outside the antitrust laws in 1922, the game developed its structure and controversial "reserve clause" with the understanding it wouldn't get involved in federal hassles. For this reason, Elman said, to declared baseball to be in interstate commerce would force it to revolutionize its structure. But, he added, a court ruling in the government's favor here wouldn't force boxing to change any of its laws. Seymour and his fellow attorney, Charles H. Watson of Chicago, said Congress and the court were well aware of the existence of boxing in 1922 and that boxing also used that 32-year-old ruling as the basis of its development. Watson said Congress could not have "closed its eyes" on boxing when it exempted baseball from interstate commerce. "If it exempted one sport," he said, "it exempted them all." Chief Justice Earl Warren interposed: "Didn't Congress take a different view? Didn't it at one time make it a criminal offense to transport films of fights across state lines?" Watson said he thought Warren was confusing "the report of the game and the game itself." The attorney said he wasn't arguing that TV, radio and motion pictures are not interstate activities. JAMES D. NORRIS SUES SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (Associated Press, Monday, December 13, 1954) CHICAGO -- James D. Norris Jr., president of the International Boxing Club, Inc., said today he has advised his attorneys to file a five million dollar libel and conspiracy suit against Sports Illustrated magazine. Sports Illustrated last week carried an article by ex- heavyweight boxer Harry Thomas. The article said Norris "fixed" the Thomas-Max Schmeling fight at Madison Square Garden, Dec. 13, 1937, and Thomas' fight with Tony Galento in Philadelphia, Nov. 14, 1938. The 48-year-old head of the IBC said the suit will be filed against the magazine "as well as all parties connected with the libelous and malicious conspiracy to defame my character with the avowed purpose of outlawing boxing." He named no individuals in his statement. Norris said any money the suit wins for him will be turned over to charity. Informed of Norris' planned action, Sidney L. James, managing editor of Sports Illustrated, issued the following statement: "Sports Illustrated printed the story because it is convinced it is true, and we stand by it as we do any story we print."