On Second Thought: Picking Fights Silly Business, Daily Racing Form, 1954-06-17


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On Second Thought Picking Fights Silly Business By BARNEY NAGLER NEW YORK, N. Y., June 16. This business of picking fights, how silly. Man looks at a fighter time and again, visits him in training training came camp, eyes eyes training training came camp, eyes eyes him knowingly, checks the records, the blood-pressure, the food he eats, the smile he has or hasnt the words he utters, the gait of his walk and the cut of his ring clothes. Then the picker picks. Does he know for sure? Of course, he knows from nothing. His His forecast forecast is is made made up up , His His forecast forecast is is made made up up of equal parts of hope and despair. He is moved by prejudice, driven by frustration, torn by facts and deposited on the heap the morning after it all happens. This was apparent in the cluttered quarters of the International Boxing: Club today. Ticket moochers mingled with other ticket moochers, all appealing for the privilege of paying: .50 for a "free" ticket that would enable one to sit 20 or so rows from the ringside at the Yankee Stadium Thursday night. Such z. vantage point enables the one with "free" ticket in hand to hear about the fight not quite as fast as the radio listener at home. Comes the end of the fight, lets say, and the man with the "free" ticket, standing on field chair, turns to a taller neighbor and asks, "was it a left or right? who wins?" Well, lets get back to the IBC counting house, where we left off. The place was teeming with visitors, all making selections out of the side of their mouth, most expressing concern with the weather and some insisting they need a "free" ticket. Gratis, hell. There was one among them, a real old pro, who was asked about the outcome. Fellows .name is Billy Graham, a 31-year-old veteran who is still working at the dodge. He wandered in and was hit with the question: Does Charles have a chance? "A real good chance," Graham said. "Youre 31," the questioner asked, "and . you think a guy whos 32 going on 33 can do the trick." "Sure," said Graham, perhaps out of regard for the mutuality of relative old age. "Hes got a chance." "A chance," Graham hedged. "You see, this guy Charles could win over the distance, but if I have to be honest, Id say no. I think Marciano will use him up." "Roland LaStarza went 11 rounds with Marciano. You think Charles isnt four rounds better?" "It isnt that," Graham said. "LaStarza wasnt used up as much. He lay back and countered. This guy Charles is in there fighting and he gets hit. Thats the way it goes." "Just an old man, then?" "Well, Ive been hearing a lot of guys saying Marciano is old too. Hes going on 30, aint he? Charles is going to be 33, but theres a difference there. Charles started fighting when he was 15, as an amateur. Hes been a pro 18 years. Thats a long time and a lot of fights." "You come in here, another visitor said, "and you say Charles has got a chance and then you go on to tear him apart." "Thats the kind of fight it is," Graham said. "The kind of fight that doesnt add up too clearly. .You got to go with the puncher, but you have some regard for a guy that can box." "You should," the same visitor said. "Youre the boxer thats been holding off the hitters for a lot of years." "It depends on the kind of boxer you are," the old pro said. There was pride in his voice. You could see him regard himself as something special. He reserved this only for himself. To Billy Graham, ring skill is divisible. He thinks Charles doesnt have enough, not at this stage of the game anyway. "I go for the boxer all the time," he said, "but the kind of boxer I go for is the ripping kind, like Billy Conn was. The kind of guy who tears in there. If Charles can do that, okay." Graham was making his selection much as he fights, much as Charles may fight Thursday night. Boxers are that way. The outcome of the feud will swing on just that. The feeling is that Charles will rip and tear.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1950s/drf1954061701/drf1954061701_2_6
Local Identifier: drf1954061701_2_6
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800