On the eve of the Archie Moore-Bobo Olson affaire d'armes Mr. Blaise D'Antoni, wealthy figure in New Orleans' colorful boxing society (SI, June 27), made his debut as host to sports-loving New Yorkers at a gala affair in the Hotel Waldorf-Astoria. Mr. D'Antoni wore a simple contrasting ensemble of a $250 white cashmere jacket, $100 blue cashmere trousers and $85 slippers. His hair was brushed high off the forehead and straight back over a small, widening baldspot.
As the evening progressed Mr. D'Antoni removed his jacket, tie and collar in an amusing gesture of informality. "A social lion is in the streets," one of the guests remarked, dipping into his snuffbox.
With delicate understanding of the amenities, Mr. D'Antoni had arranged not one reception, but two, since he had two guests of honor. The first, in the Waldorf's Le Perroquet Suite, was for Mr. James D. Norris, president of the International Boxing Club. The second, in one of Mr. D'Antoni's two personal suites, was for Mr. Frankie Carbo, president of boxing. Mr. Norris and Mr. Carbo have a convention of meetings only over cups of coffee, and Mr. D'Antoni was serving only champagne, whisky, Mountain Valley water and big talk in Le Perroquet Suite.
Discreetly appreciative of the situation, Mr. Norris, who wore a brown suit and kept his jacket on, departed before Mr. Carbo's arrival, but not until his host had introduced Mr. Norris to the assemblage with a pretty speech of admiration for his many fine qualities. To acknowledge the applause Mr. Norris walked front and center to the ever-flattering, pure Dixieland of "When The Saints Come Marching In."
The buffet which followed was served from a table groaning under the weight of an enormous eagle carved in ice and surrounded by caviar ($400 worth), lobster, turkey, ham and other delicacies.
After Mr. Norris had left, selected guests were advised to reassemble in Mr. D'Antoni's quarters. There Mr. Carbo, gallant participant in many a duel outside the code de l'honneur, soon made his entrance. The party had been as gay as his tousled gray hair until he entered. Thereafter it became as somber and reserved as Mr. Carbo's gray tweed suit.
Those who remained to greet Mr. Carbo included: Mr. Al Weill, manager of Rocky Marciano; Mr. Charley Johnston, president of the International Boxing Guild; Mr. Chick Wergeles, former manager of former fighter Beau Jack; Mr. Honest Bill Daly, treasurer of the Guild; Mr. Doc Kearns, man about boxing; Mr. Willie Ketchum, supposititious manager of the lightweight champion, Jimmy Carter, and also known as The Undertaker; Mr. Steve Ellis, manager of the non-champion, Chico Vejar; Mr. Squeeza da Banana Pucci, matchmaker without portfolio; Mr. Charlie Black, manager of Frankie Ryff, a bleeder; Mr. Tex Pelte, a friend of Honest Bill; Mr. Larry D'Antoni, son of the host; such boxing society writers as Mr. Billy Stevens, New York Enquirer; Mr. Jim Boyack, Pittsburgh Courier; Mr. Lester Bromberg, New York World-Telegram and The Sun; Mr. Caswell Adams, New York Journal-American; Mr. Al Buck, New York Post.
JAMES D. NORRIS (IN DARK SUIT) GREETED BY HOST D'ANTONI (IN SHIRT SLEEVES)