Frankie Carbo, living symbol of all that has been sordid in professional boxing, stands under indictment at long last. A New York grand jury, acting on evidence painstakingly assembled by District Attorney Frank S. Hogan in a four-month investigation, has returned a 10-count true bill charging Carbo with conspiracy, undercover management of fighters and unlicensed matchmaking in bouts that were presented under the official auspices of the International Boxing Club of New York, James D. Norris, former president.
As usual Frankie Carbo is missing. A nationwide alarm (see above) is out for him. According to District Attorney Hogan, he was last seen at Tijuana, Mexico and may still be across the border. On the chance that Carbo would show up at the Joe Brown-Kenny Lane lightweight championship in Houston on July 23, Hogan had men armed with warrants at ringside. If Carbo had appeared, extradition would have been comparatively simple. Bringing him back from Mexico could present a more difficult problem. In the past Carbo has been a hard man to nail and harder to convict: over a lifetime he has served one brief term for manslaughter and beaten charges ranging through grand larceny, robbery, assault, homicide and murder.
In the 10-count indictment Carbo is accused of acting as both undercover manager and undercover matchmaker in two specific fights. One was the Virgil Akins-Isaac Logart welterweight match at the Garden last March 21. Carbo is charged (the manager of record denies it) with being the undercover manager of Akins, now welterweight champion, as well as the illegal matchmaker in a fight supposed to have been match-made by the old IBC.
Is there a sense-making attitude that the general American public can take toward charges and disclosures of this kind?
Well, one familiar attitude, long popular with a generation of sports buffs, is what might be called the boys-will-be-boys attitude, i.e., nothing much can be done about boxing's dirty business and why try? After D.A. Hogan began slapping out subpoenas last March, this attitude was expressed by a veteran commentator as follows: "Most people seem to believe that boxing is as crooked as a snake, and it serves only to deepen suspicion when publicity-thirsting politicians grab headlines with token 'inquiries' and willowy charges of malfeasance that come to nothing."
If you don't like the boys-will-be-boys approach, you can listen to Judge Samuel H. Hofstadter of the New York Supreme Court, who has lately confronted so much evidence of dirty business in his daily newspaper that he set down the following dictum the other day: "It is high time to consider the abolition of professional prizefighting because of its indecent character."
This magazine proposes—as it has proposed for four years—another kind of approach. We believe that boxing's dirty business must be cleaned up now; a phrase that charter subscribers and others may remember. Cleaned up. Not ignored. Not "solved" by the abolition of boxing.
At week's end Frankie Carbo had not stepped forward, waving his hand in the air for the district attorney and the rest of us to see, and protesting his innocence and willingness to stand trial. When and if he does so, it will be up to a jury to weigh the indictments against him. For now, Americans who care about honest boxing can tip their hats to the D.A. and the New York grand jury.