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Original Issue


Frankie Carbo keeps his promise and Blinky gets his payoff with SAXTON'S REWARD

New York Daily Mirror

Out in chicago, where boxing is run as it should be run by a fearless commissioner named Lou Radzienda who yields to no man in his admiration for James Dougan Norris and the IBC, justice was done to Blinky Palermo Wednesday night when the welterweight title was returned to his tender talons. Through a unanimous decision that made the stockyards smell by comparison like a blooming orange grove, Blinky's Johnny Saxton was proclaimed world's welterweight champion again after a 15-round bout with Carmen Basilio.

If Saxton deserved the decision, it must have been either a wrestling match or a marathon race rather than a boxing bout on which the verdict was based because the only respects in which the poorest welterweight champion of all time outshone the victimized defender were at clutching and running. Basilio chased Johnny from pillar to post and often seemed about to send him diving through the ropes to escape the fury of his attack. But, in the end, Chicago justice prevailed, and the great wrong done to Blinky Palermo, Saxton's manager, by taking the title out of his hands was righted, just as Frankie (The Enforcer) Carbo promised it would be.

It will be recalled that Promoter Norris, Frankie's good friend, was slowly roasting on Commissioner Julius Helfand's griddle in New York because the IBC was giving Basilio, outstanding welterweight contender, the run-around, as The Mob's fighters swapped the title back and forth among themselves. Under these conditions, Frankie told Blinky that if he waived a return match he had booked with Tony De-Marco, who had won the title from Saxton, and let Basilio have the bout, to take the heat off friend Jim, Johnny would get his return shot at the crown and everything would be all right.

Well, everything was all right, if we overlook Wednesday night's decision, but it had to be that way if Frankie, a man of his word, wasn't to be embarrassed. Now The Mob, which hasn't been able to handle honest Carmen, the earnest onion planter, is in a position to make smart moves with the title again and none of this honesty baloney that's hurting The Game so much in New York. It was getting so a guy couldn't rig a fight there any more without all kinds of investigations. Chicago is the town for title bouts, as Commissioner Radzienda will tell you. First, there are no character assassins out that way, always insinuating that The Game isn't as free of suspicion as Caesar's wife. In Chicago people are more cooperative with the great work Jim Norris is doing. The word probably should be "works." Anyway, they certainly seemed in against poor, trusting Carmen who was led into this trip under the impression that virtue always triumphs.


How much ability and popular appeal mean to the IBC and its wire pullers can be seen when a fine, honest, popular fighter like Basilio is sacrificed to get Saxton, boxing's No. 1 arena stinker, back on the throne. Basilio has never appeared in a bad fight. The honesty of his efforts has never been questioned. He and Rocky Marciano are the two boxers of the current crop in whom the public has unlimited confidence. Saxton, on the other hand, has seldom engaged in a bout that didn't emit a bad odor. He won the title the first time on a decision that almost forced Philadelphians to abandon the city because of its stench. But the Chicago verdict that crowned Saxton as champion for the second time made the first one seem like lily-of-the-valley perfume. The crowd in the stadium was still booing after the TV cameras switched back to the ring after the postfight deluge of commercials had been inflicted on a video audience that must have been more incensed even than those who saw it in the flesh.

When the decision of the three officials was announced to the stunned audience, the only thing that kept the walls of the stadium from caving in must have been heavy mortgages, and the fact that right, as interpreted by Blinky Palermo, Frankie Carbo, et al., had triumphed over might, as demonstrated by the real winner, Carmen Basilio.