On Second Thought: Henrys Case is a True Tragedy, Daily Racing Form, 1954-06-07


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On Second Thought Henrys Case Is A True Tragedy By BARNEY NAGLER There is no doubt tha"t boxing will survive its newest crisis. It has before and will again, largely because the game or i. auric 1 ux uuugc icj a hardy perennial. Not even the stupidity of the man or men who tried to bribe Bobby Jones will strike a fatal blow. Boxing is always one step ahead of the sheriff. Only individuals in the sport falter. The game has not been tripped up, even though it has been ule-galized at various times. It has always made a comeback and the wonder is: Why? Doubtless, the soundest assumption is that the populace wants it. Now, getting it for free by TV, the customers arent too concerned with the good or the bad of it. Bobby Jones adventure with the fixers makes good reading. It is cops and robbers. There are villains and heroes. The poor fighter, working in behalf of his five kids, is exposed to the blandishments of money in large, coarse denominations. He thinks for a moment, remembers home and hearth, and then goes to the cops. Wires are tapped, dic-tophones are installed, there is a leisurely chase down the canyon of West 49th Street and a suspect is seized ; Cops! Sorry! Two suspects. Now boxing feels better. Grown men given the job of controlling it say, "See, the business isnt bad. A fighter turns down a bribe and somebody is arrested. Boxing co-operated." Forgotten is the tact that the suspect, Clarence Henry, is a victim of the business in which he once prospered. Why, ask yourself, does a heavyweight suddenly become involved in a shady deal, a mere two years after he has been regarded as an outstanding man in his trade? Therein is the tragedy. The romanticists will play up Jones obvious contribution to his own psychic well-being and to the cause of the noble racket, but they will overlook the tragedy of Clarence Henry, Tragedy doesnt offer as pretty a face as virtue. In Henrys case, this is especially true because his is a true tragedy. The Californian had the chance to do more with himself than he has. He was a superb ring man. He had the physical assets. He had everything everything except luck. It has never been proved, but it has. been said that he suffered an injury to an eye in the: ring, had to lay off for a year or so and then, coming back into the ring, wasnt quite as good as before. In his last two fights, Henry was beaten by Jimmy Slade and humbled by, of all fumblers, Tommy "Hurricane" Jackson. It is fair to assume that Henry put forth his best effort in each of these tests. It follows then that he had lost his ability. Somewhere along the line the sharpness of reflex and co-ordination that had been his had fled. A beaten fighter is on his own. He is let down by his followers, perhaps aban- doned by his manager. He may get fights because, in these days of scarcity, opponents are hard to come by. No longer, however, is he followed by the mob. He goes to work to be beaten, not by way of co-operation, but to be beaten nonetheless. In the case of Clarence Henry, this happened rather quickly, at a time when he should have been at his peak. His guilt hasnt been established and it would be presumptuous and libelous to make out a case against him here. However, it remains a fact that he is under arrest, accused of attempting to subvert the business in which he almost made a fortune. Therein, is the tragedy. In the last 36 hours it has been said, on many sides, that all of Henrys recent fights are suspect. The assumption is invalid. As a fighter, Henry was above reproach, or so it seemed. As a guy on the way down, well, time will provide the answer. It is the feeling here that the effort to compromise Jones was the work of bumblers. The astute fixer would not have operated with such disregard for his liberty; The smart ones know how to put over such deals. They are not trapped in rooms wired for sound. They arent seized on street corners, debating the issues within sight. of headlines disclosing the nature of their "misadventure.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1950s/drf1954060701/drf1954060701_2_2
Local Identifier: drf1954060701_2_2
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800