Green Raps Video Threat to Boxing: Ring Must Decide Whether It Is to Be Conducted as Sport or Commercial Show, Daily Racing Form, 1951-06-20


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Green Raps Video Threat to Boxing Ring Must Decide Whether It Is to Be Conducted as Sport.or Commercial Show TRENTON, N. J., June 19 UP.— Abe J. Greene, commissioner of the National Boxing Association, lashed out at television today with the warning that boxing must decide whether "it is to be conducted as a sport. . .or juslfanother part of commercial show business." Greene asserted that the surprisingly large turnout at last Friday nights Joe Louis-Lee Savold fight at Madison Square Garden, after a poor early advance ticket sale, have brought boxing to a new crisis. The Louis-Savold fight, which was not televised, drew 18,179 fans and a gate of 4,684. "Friday nights affair at Madison Square Garden was a typical old time fight show," said Greene. "The steady out-pouring of fans at the gate, the voluminous and spontaneous reception given Joe Louis before the bout, the ovation he received afterwards, all of these things were typical of boxing, pre -TV. * "The whole spirit of the night reflected the genuine boxing fans enthusiasm. The gallery and balconies were crowded. Those are the real fight fans— the two buck fellows who, in recent years, have been weaned away from attendance at fight clubs. because of television. When they see a good fight coming up, they cant see it on TV, theyre back as paying customers." Greene warned that television has made such terrific inrpads on boxing that unless those who have responsibility in the sport take the reins, there will be no boxing for the folks at home to see. Destroying Smaller Clubs The NBA commissioner charged that television is destroying the smaller boxing clubs in the country. "Where televison sets are concentrated, the incubators which spawn the talent that later makes for big TV shows have been shut down," he declared. "In the past year and a half, boxing has come to be the pawn of duelling between advertising sponsors and TV networks on one side, and promoters on the other," Greene continued. "In between, have been the managers and the fighters. Sport has been neglected, proper promotion of fights has been side-tracked, the idea of kids moving up in the ranks, on the basis of ability, has been shelved in favor of theatrical favoritism, and in short, television has taken over the sport. "There is no objection to TV viewers enjoying the benefits of the boxing shows. But someone should pay for the slack at the gate. Boxing is a hard game, in which the boxers career is limited to a comparatively few years during which he must earn his capacity or forever lose the opportunity. Show people can breed in cabaret, night clubs, dance halls, resort circuits and the like. Fighters can -only come out of the fight clubs. And fight clubs cant keep going unless the cash register clicks. "If TV networks and advertising sponsors are interested in boxing promotions — and they should be, because boxing is the most natural of all sports for video production — then they ought to do something to protect the sport," Greene said. "Instead of sitting quiescently by and watching the smaller clubs fall, they ought to subsidize the key spots which operated for many years and then collapsed under their steamroller. They ought to cradle the amateur clubs, which through the years [spawned hundreds of our boxing greats but which today have dried on the vine because TV-itis. If they dont do it, and quickly, theyll be drying up the supply."

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