The Morning Herald from Hagerstown, Maryland on November 18, 1974 · Page 30
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The Morning Herald from Hagerstown, Maryland · Page 30

Hagerstown, Maryland
Issue Date:
Monday, November 18, 1974
Page 30
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. JO-THE MOR-MNG HERALD, HAGERSTOWN, MD. U. MM Zaire's fight promotion opens new gold mines : By BILL LEE Tin Hertford Counnl It cost the African nation of Zaire millions to underwrite the Ali-Foreman fight, but it was probably worth every nickel 'tc this emerging country which gained its freedom only recently. Zaire did infinitely better than the little Montana town ol Shelby some 51 years ago. Oil had been discovered in Shelby and some of the bankers there thought it would be a great idea to make the town known coast to coast by means of staging a heavyweight championship fight. Jack Dempsey was heavyweight chamion at the time. Shelby people approached Jack Kearns, his wily manager. Kearns said sure, if you can get up a guarantee of $300,000 you can have Commentary the fight. Three hundred grand is a barrel of money even today, but in 1923 it was a gold mine. Kearns made them put up $100,000 right away, another hundred grand a month before and the last $100,000 24 hours before the fight. They got up the first two payments all right, but the third $100,000 came hard because there wasn't much of an advance sale. Ultimitely, Kearns took over the promotion himself anc wound up letting a lot of cowboys in at the last minute for ter bucks apiece. Top price printed on the tickets was $80. Shelby had its title fight. Dempsey outpointed challengen Tom Gibbons in 15 rounds, but three banks in Shelby had tc close and another went down in Great Falls, some 80 miles away. Shelby people wanted to lynch Kearns, who contrived an escape in a locomotive, with a couple of suitcases full of money. Not a cent was left in Shelby. All the town's publicity was bad. then and forever. The contrast between what historians have called "The Rape of Shelby" and what took place in Kinshasa, Zaire, is extraordinary. Zaire had a wildly exciting championship fight in which Muhammad Ali, an African hero, won back his heavyweight title hi a shattering upset watched by 50 million around the world through a medium called closed circuit television that was not even a scientist's dream in 1923. Mobutu Sese Seko, president of Zaire, was happy that 50 million viewers saw what a beautiful modern country Zaire is. The promotion should not have cost Zaire as much as it did. The country put up $12.1 million to angel the show, including $5 million for each of the fighters. The closed circuit promoters had promised 5,000 tourists would be attracted to Kinshasa and had spoken of a closed circuit gate totalling $40 million. I The tourist influx did not materialize after a month's postponement. They haven't counted the box office money yet, but it probably won't much more than $10 million, let alone $40 million. Greed struck out like All's left jab. The closed circuit crowd overpriced the thing disgracefully. All of you who didn't go missed- one of the most exciting heavyweight fights ever staged and. a performance by Ali that may have been one of the most magnificent ever seen in a prize ring. But those who missed the unprecedented show also saved themselves $18 or $20. That's what it cost in Hartford. '·*· In Madison Square Garden, the turnout paid close to half a million, which ranks with the best live indoor fight gates. Now that Ali has regained his cherished championship by reaching a peak few thought he could achieve, he would like to retire. He should, too, because a fighter his age could go over the hill from one bout to the next. But it is no longer a matter of a promoter offering a man so much money he cannot resist.' Now nations want to promote title fights and themselves. Money is no object. Ali says he has had a $10 million offer. We are told the Arabs want Ali's next title defense. Now that they have all that oil, the Arabs can afford a price nobody ever dreamed of before. . Ali and his Muslim advisors will probably succumb to temptation. Who among, us could turn down the kind of offer Ali is certain to have dangled in front of his eyes? Hopefully, Ali's tremendous pride will carry the day and he will hang his gldves on the wall of his trophy room for good and all. Vet quarterbacks continue job battles DENVER ,(AP) - Len Dawson and Charley Jphnson, a pair of veteran quarterbacks who have withstood efforts to replace .them, will be at the controls Monday night when Kansas City and Denver tangle in a National Football League game. .While some Kansas City fans have clamored for a look at rookie David Jaynes, Dawson, the Chiefs' 18-year pro, has shrugged off a back injury that sidelined him much of the early prt of the season and revita' lized the team offense. And although some Denver fans have called for John Hufnagel or Steve Ramsey, who engineered Denver's second- half comeback which led to a 17-14 victory over the Chiefs earlier this season, Johnson, a 14-year pro, continues lo direct the Broncos' offense, which has not been as explosive as 1st year. As if to prove there's still life in his 39-year-old arm, Dawson passed for 381 yards on a club- record 26 completions in last week's 14-7 loss to San Diego. With Dawson back in the saddle, the Chiefs have had four straight 400-yard games, even though they've lost three of the four. Rohnson rank third in the AFC, having hit 51 per cent of his passes for 1.072 yards, nine touchdowns and only four interceptions. Denver comes into the nationally televised contest with a 4-41 record and only a faint hope of reaching the playoffs. "We still have an outside chance, but only if we keep Winning," Bronco Coach John Ralston says. The Broncos were less than spectacular in last week's 17-6 victory over Baltimore, and Ralston says his team "will need a heckuva lot better performance this week,, since the Chiefs' offense seems to be back on track and scoring, against that big Kansas City; defense has never been an easy chore for us." Denver, which trails 25-4 in the series between the teams. Emile Griffith makes a record appearance By The Associated Prow Emile Griffith, the greatest Gardener of them all, will be one of boxing's headliners this week. Griffith, a former three-time world welterweight champion and two-time middleweight king, will set a record of being in 24 Madison Square Garden main events when he fights once-beaten Vlto Anluofermo in · scheduled 10-roundcr Friday nlght^ A championship fight also is on tap, with Japanese Guts Ish- Imatsu defending the World Boxing Council lightweight title against Rodolfo Gcinzales of Long Beach, Calif., in a scheduled 15-rounder at Osaka, Japan, Thursday night. Two of the top welterweights, Hedgemon Lewis of Los Angeles, and Armando Muniz of Monterey Park, Calif., will hook up in a scheduled 10- rounder Tuesday night in the Forum at Inglewood, Calif 1 All's exhibition bust at the gate Muhammad Ali (alls away from a punch by Ron Draper in exhibition bout. KANSAS CITY (AP) -i Heavyweight champion Mu- hammad.Ali brought his act tc (he Midwest over the weekend and was unhappy with its drawing power. Ali fought four two-round exhibitions in the new Kemper Arena Saturday night but attracted only 3,000 spectators. The turnout obviously disturbed the champion, who regained his title Oct. 30 In Zaire when he knocked out George Foreman. "This is a shame," Ali told the small crowd that rattled around In the arena. "I'm not a month away from winning the world heavyweight championship before a crowd of a hundred million people around the world . . . that's 10 hundred million . . . and we couldn't fill this little chicken coop up. You're ·{ blessed to have a champion like ' me In this one-horse town." Muhammad danced through the four so-called fights, first with Ron Draper of Kansas City, tHen Roy Williams of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania heavyweight king; Tracey Morrison of Kansas City, and Eddie "Boss Man" Jones of Los Angeles. There was no scoring. Only Jones landed more than a couple of punches as Ali tiptoed around the ring. The champion pretended he was hurt as he stumbled to the canvas, did an occasional tap dance, joked with the crowd and assumed the role of a vaudeville funny man. Ali didn't try to hit anybody except Jones for *· lew brief seconds. Through the first round, he covered his head w'ith his Osts and let Jones hammer away at his body most of the round with a flurry of punches, all to no avail. He caught Jones with several blows, none of which had the impact of those he dealt Foreman. ' Mostly, it was entertainment, and Ali was at his best. Somebody yelled at Ali during the scrap with Williams, "You're not the man you were 10 years ago." Ali stared at the tickler and said: "Ask George Foreman." Once he turned to Stu Bowers, the ring announcer, and said: "Howard Cosell gets paid for being an idiot. -What's your excuse?" Turning to the crowd during the Jones bout, Ali screamed: "Do you want me to knock him out?" The crowd reacted loudly: "Yes! Yes! Yes!" "Then dammit, pay another f50," Ali yelled. Presented a key to the city, Ali quipped: "Will it open the door to your banks?" Almost forgetting Jones was in the ring with him, Ali stalked to the ropes, waved and said again: "I'm the greatest of all times!" Ali said he wants to fight Joe Frazier and Foreman--both in the same ring, on the same night. r i Discount Stores Where Your Dollar Buys More! 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