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Horrors and doldrums after a rich summer

Boyd, Beecham, Jordan and Godih are the best TV can offer right now, but Labor Day will open a brighter era

The doldrums are described in the best available dictionary as "a part of the ocean near the equator, abounding in calms, squalls and light, baffling winds." A rheumatic twinge in the dial-twisting hand would indicate that TV boxing is now in its seasonal doldrums—and this after a summer of generally superior fights, rich in upsets and in blossomings of fresh, new talent that may yet challenge the champions in several divisions—Sonny Liston and Gene Armstrong, for instance.

But until the Friday after Labor Day, which opens a new era, since it is when Carmen Basilio meets Art Aragon at Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, the TV boxing fan will have to put up with a mess of calms, squalls and light, baffling winds. There are no tempests in sight, nor even a freshening breeze, until September. After that October looks promising, since we may then see Archie Moore fighting Yvon Durelle in Montreal.

But in the meantime we have such affairs of little moment as the Wednesday nighter (August 27) at Miami Beach which will pit Bobby Boyd, middleweight, against Jimmy Beecham, pretty much a welterweight. Boyd has generally done well when carefully matched, but Spider Webb, Joey Giardello and Rory Calhoun all have knocked him out at one time or another and Calhoun has even outboxed him. It would appear that Boyd's present unranked status in the division is approximately correct. Nor does he appear now to be as ambitious as he once was, since boxing unranked welterweights is not likely to win him swift promotion.

As for Beecham, a good, workmanlike fellow of no particular promise beyond the fact that he generally puts on a good show, it is a tribute to him and none at all to Boyd that early odds rate Boyd only an 8-5 favorite. It might even be a fairly close fight, though the odds seem to be just about right from this position. The point is that it won't have too much meaning either way.

Beecham's official welterweight position is dubious, actually, since all five of his 1958 fights have been against middleweights. This year he has fought Willie Vaughn no less than three times—winning, losing and drawing, which is known as the hat trick. He has lost to Spider Webb, which is no disgrace at all. On top of that he has beaten none other than Battling Siki of Aruba (an island off the coast of Venezuela) on Siki's home grounds.

As for the Friday night (August 29) fight at Madison Square Garden that same spiritless week, it will present a welterweight-lightweight against a lightweight, thus preserving the mystique of the doldrums. The light-welter will be Don Jordan, who recently defeated Isaac Logart amid cries of horror at the decision. (The year has been as rich in horror decisions as in horror movies.) The lightweight opponent will be Lahouari Godih (pronounced Larry Goady on Stillman's Stoop), who drew cries of horror for sheer ineptness when he opposed Johnny Busso, a kind of a heavy lightweight, a while back.

What the above adds up to, if you are good at sums, is that Jordan is the No. 4 lightweight in the National Boxing Association rankings and a welterweight in Nat Fleischer's authoritative Ring Record Book, while Logart is NBA's No. 4 welterweight and Godih is the French lightweight champion.

Of course, it's August.




Next week, along with the best ringside pictures, Martin Kane—who so often has given you the revealing, exciting story which has been missed in the first hurried accounts of a bout—writes a dramatic report of the Patterson-Harris world heavyweight title fight, and of the ambitions and strategies behind it.