After his brilliant but erratic welterweight, Vince Foster, had been killed in an auto accident, Jack Hurley, the tall, thin, caustic manager and promoter who has a genius for developing mediocre fighters into rich ones, began snooping around for another boxer. Into his office one day in 1949 walked a skinny middleweight named Harry Matthews, who had won 67 out of 70 fights on the West Coast, had been fighting for 12 years and had succeeded only in getting deep into debt. Hurley agreed to take him on for his usual 50%. Matthews screamed in anguish. "Listen, young man," said Hurley, "you've been boxing for 12 years and you've made exactly nothing. Now, 50% of nothing is nothing. You don't know how lucky you are. What is happening is that you are getting 50% of me."
Hurley watched his new gladiator work out and was appalled. "He got all his ideas from amateurs. It's a wonder he hadn't been seriously hurt. His idea of how to defend himself was to grab and run. That's all he knew. He didn't even know how to eat. He'd eat two meals a day. I said, "if you were a truck driver, would you eat like that?' He said, 'No, driving a truck is hard work. If I were a truck driver, I'd eat like one.' I said to him, 'Let me tell you something, young man. If you and I are to stay together, you'll work so hard you'll think truck driving is a soft racket. Don't ever lose sight of the fact that fighting is a hard and brutal business, and you gotta be in shape for it. From now on you eat like a truck driver.' He did, and he finally went up to 182 pounds.
"But oh, he was such a bad fighter at first. He couldn't punch, he couldn't take a punch. He was an agony fighter. Looking at a fighter that can't punch is like kissing your mother-in-law."
Hurley brought Matthews along slowly and one night put him into the ring with a carefully selected opponent who had had only 12 fights and was too light to cope with Matthews. "I figured Matthews would make his name overnight," says Hurley. "He figured to knock the kid out easy. But it went 10 rounds and nobody got hit, although Matthews wins the decision. The next day Matthews comes into the office, and he says, 'How did you like the fight?'
"I says, 'What fight?'
"He says, 'Last night.'
"I says, 'Harry, that was the most disgraceful thing I ever saw. If you and that kid were to go down to the street corner right now and go through the same antics, that traffic cop wouldn't even come over and break it up.' "
But Hurley has never needed a superfighter; all he needed now was a property, and Matthews, game and willing to learn, was it. The two of them set up shop in Seattle, and Hurley began the great campaign. Traveling the Northwest like a couple of drummers, Hurley and Matthews built up a legend that still has boxing's public-relations experts scratching their heads in amazement. The soft-punching, glass-chinned Matthews reeled off a dazzling skein of 35 consecutive wins, 28 by knockouts, and even began to learn a little about boxing. Hurley explains in detail how the feat was accomplished:
"I made sure he didn't fight any great fighters. I picked 'em mostly by their styles, guys that had styles just right for Matthews. So all his fights appeared to be sensational. I wouldn't put him in there with a fencer and a runner, because this guy isn't gonna fight, and he isn't gonna let you fight. By the time Matthews runs him down and gets him cornered where he might nail him, the guy jumps into a clinch and the referee rescues him, and he's off and running again. This doesn't make for a good fight or good box office, and even if Matthews wins he has hurt his earning power. So I always picked fighters that really wanted to get in there and fight and lick my fellow, and while they were doing this my fighter was counterpunching and looking great."
As the string of victories began building, sportswriters started to take notice of Matthews, and Hurley decided it was time to throw his "athlete" in with a genuinely tough opponent, "Irish Bob" Murphy. At first glance the fight looked like a cinch for Murphy, and the bookies made him the favorite. Murphy was a sort of left-handed, junior-grade, muscle-bound Marciano; he turned every fight into a street fight, and few could beat him in a street fight. As a pure boxer, however, he would not have lasted six rounds with Maria Ouspenskaya. Hurley knew this, and he also knew that there was one thing Matthews could do superlatively well, and that was fight a southpaw. "He had an instinct for fighting them, and by now he also knew how to fight a guy who comes to him. The fight was a natural for him."
At the end of the seventh round there came one of those moments that determine whether a manager is worth 50%, 30% or nothing. Matthews had been hit hard on the chin and generally mauled around. He came back to his corner, flopped in the chair and made it plain he could not go on. No one would have blamed him. Hurley jumped in front of the exhausted fighter and blocked his view of Murphy sitting relaxed across the ring. "What a hell of a break!" Hurley whispered. "Murphy ain't coming out!" Matthews tried to peer around Hurley for a look, but Hurley kept getting in the way. "Listen," Hurley said, "I don't think he can come out, but if he does, Harry, step around, move around and let him fall right on his face." Dodging from side to side to block Matthews' view, Hurley poured out an avalanche of phony encouragement: "What a break! And you just getting your second wind at a spot like this! Listen, when the 10-second whistle blows you stand up and glare at him over there. Now, Harry, you got your second wind, you're fine, get in there and feint and let him fall flat on his kisser." The 10-second warning blew, and Matthews jumped to his feet, staring at Murphy. Hurley recalls: "Murphy looked back at him as if to say, 'Why, that dummy so-and-so, he ain't even tired.' " The inspired Matthews went on to win the last three rounds and the decision. Later Hurley explained his psychology:
"You can't sympathize with a tired fighter. He's looking for sympathy, he's abused, the poor athlete. I got to shock him. I can't give him a slap in the kisser, which is what I'd like to do, and say, 'Well, yeh dog yeh, you're in here, ain'tcha? Now get out there and fight.' No, I gotta make him believe he's caught his second wind and the other guy's through. And it worked. Matthews told me he woke up in bed the next morning and said to himself, 'How did Hurley know I caught my second wind?' "
With this win, plus one over Rex Layne, Matthews and Hurley had the ammunition for an assault on the IBC's lock on the heavyweight championship and the big money. Jersey Joe Walcott was the champion. Rocky Marciano was the No. 1 contender. Hurley began a whirling-dervish publicity campaign to force a Marciano-Matthews fight, the winner to meet Walcott for the title. The IBC wanted no part of a Marciano-Matthews fight: if Matthews should score a lucky win, Hurley would become a powerful figure in the heavyweight picture, and the IBC and Hurley were deadly enemies. Hurley began making cracks like: "How about Marciano, this great star they're keeping in cellophane? Did he or did he not stink out the joint with Lee Savold?" The campaign took hold. Wrote Frank Graham later: "By word of mouth, person to person or on radio or TV, in letters to newspapers or interviews with sportswriters, Hurley created such an uproar that it reached the halls of Congress where Senators and Representatives howled that Matthews was being discriminated against." The heat was on from Washington; the IBC had to give in.
Stuck with the fight, the IBC began beating its own publicity drums, but Hurley got all the lines. He lampooned Marciano's talents so convincingly that Toots Shor was moved to remark: "If I listened to Hurley for a week, I'd take off 30 pounds and fight Marciano myself." Hurley boomed Matthews as the all-American boy, told one sportswriter: "Harry and his wife are unusual people and very decent and, while I'm no softy, I'm beginning to get an emotional kick out of seeing how well they are getting along and how wonderfully happy they are. I sometimes go over to their home in the evening just to enjoy the wholesome character of the place and the lovely kind of life they live." Brushing away a tear, Hurley would go back to his hotel and wait for the quote to appear in print, whereupon he would buy 500 of the papers and mail the clipping to sportswriters all over the country, who in turn would describe the touching scene in its endearing entirety. The fact was that Matthews and his wife, later divorced, were fighting like wildcats, but Hurley did not feel that this information would help the gate.
The IBC sent out prefight placards bearing a picture of Hurley leaning over Matthews in the corner. No one could remember when a manager had ever been pictured on such a placard, and Hurley asked James D. Norris about it. Explained Norris: "Matthews is nothing without you." It was one of Norris' truer utterances.
The fight was held on July 28, 1952. There are those who say it was a grotesque mismatch from the beginning, that Matthews never had a chance. Jack Hurley, who no longer has a Matthews ax to grind, thought and thinks differently, and he backed up his opinion with a $10,000 bet on his man. "There is a way to beat any fighter," he says. "If Harry had never heard of Marciano or even had been fighting him in his own familiar territory out West, he'd have won in a breeze. I explained to him before the fight, 'Harry, here's a case where you're safer being close to danger than out in the open. If you stand close and lean in about two inches, all his wild swings will go around your neck. And don't grab him in the clinches. He's too strong. Let him grab you, put your hands beside your chest, and as he reaches around, punch up, up. Those left-and right-hand uppercuts do murderous damage inside.' So in the first round everything went exactly according to plan. Matthews busted up Marciano pretty good and raised a knob on his eye. When he comes back to the corner I say, 'Harry, this guy's a soft touch. Now you know the way to fight him, Harry, you've proved it already, now just get out there and stay close; don't get scared and pull back or you'll get in the path of one of those wild swings.'
"Matthews went out for the second round and all of a sudden he breaks out of a clinch, and he realizes he's fighting in Yankee Stadium in front of all those people, and he just gets frozen with fear. The guy threw a cuffing left at him and Matthews leaned back, and it hit him right on the bad chin. There was nothing on the punch, but Matthews leaned back, scared to death, and the fellow threw a second cuff and Matthews couldn't move. He coulda stayed close all night, but he leaned back and he got hit and he got knocked out. Let me tell you, it's a long way from that ring to the dressing room at Yankee Stadium, and all the way back people are saying, 'Where's your great fighter now, Hurley?' and there I am bleeding in my shoes."
The Marciano debacle would have shoved many a fighter into limbo, which is probably where Matthews belonged anyway, but Hurley set about rebuilding "the athlete" into a card, and soon succeeded in getting him a Seattle fight with British Empire Heavyweight Champion Don Cockell. Matthews lost the decision, but a rematch was scheduled in London. Hurley began talking as soon as his feet touched British soil, and the press was goggle-eyed. "Cockell is the best heavyweight you've ever sent to America," Hurley announced, knowing full well that no sportswriter in England could resist printing this line. "No British fighter has ever made such an impression on the West Coast. Cockell could beat Marciano on the best day Rocky ever knew. Marciano can't box, he's just a crude swinger. Cockell would be too smart for him. Who has Marciano ever beaten, anyway?"
Said a reporter: "Well, Matthews, for one."
Hurley shot back: "Matthews wasn't beaten by Marciano, he was beaten by Yankee Stadium. He was overawed. He would have beaten Marciano in three rounds if they had fought in Seattle."
The sports pages were full of the fight, although a less important contest could hardly have been imagined. John Mac-Adam of the Daily Sketch wrote: "Mr. Hurley can sling words faster than either Cockell or Matthews can sling punches.... Hurley convinces you against your will that Matthews is the fighter of the century while you think in your heart he is not." Wrote Noel Joseph in the News-Chronicle: "Personally, I feel Cockell must win, but when I hear Hurley talking I feel Matthews has atomic power." The result, on a damp, chilly June night, was an attendance of 35,000 and a decision for Cockell. Hurley accepted the purse and the decision with becoming stoicism: "I thought it was a dead even thing. The referee could have given it either way." Matthews and Cockell fought a third time, in Seattle, and Cockell knocked him out. Soon after, Matthews retired; he now has a tavern in Seattle. Hurley came back into boxing's limelight in 1957 when he promoted the never-never land fight between Pete Rademacher and Floyd Patterson; he has been "between fighters" ever since.
Now he hustles the Northwest for the Harlem Globetrotters, always keeping a weather eye out for a fighter, checking in and out of hotels in Portland and Eugene and Yakima and Spokane, calling on new young sportswriters, many of whom hardly know who he is. For the first time in his life, Hurley finds himself dependent on the kindness of strangers. He has cataracts and faces a choice of a ticklish operation or going blind. He still maintains the old pace, but his poor eyesight keeps him from driving. He must sit around bus stations for hours at a time, or he must plot in advance ways to get from town to town ("Let's see, there's a press agent in Corvallis who'll take me to Eugene, then maybe I can get that guy in Eugene to run me up to Salem..."). But when he gets back home to the Olympic Hotel in Seattle he settles into the familiar routine—eating six meals a day at Von's restaurant and sitting around the hotel talking. He shares with other true boxing professionals a distaste for the sport as it is constituted today. "I hate to live in the past," says Hurley. "I've always tried to avoid that, and I've always hated to hear people arguing that everything in the old days was better, because that's just not true. But it is true about boxing."
Hurley's position is that boxing is brutal and dangerous, always was, always will be. But he does not, like some others, jump to the instant conclusion that the sport must be abolished. Instead, he argues that boxers must be brought along more slowly, must spend years under the loving tutelage of a professional manager and teacher until they know how to protect themselves. "Sure, I put my little brother Hank in a four-rounder when he was 15," Hurley says, "but it was against another kid, and they wore big gloves and there was no way for anybody to get hurt. But with my pro fighters, the guys I was trying to make into real 'cards,' I would school them for a year, sometimes two years, before they would ever have a fight. In those days it was absolutely standard—not only with me, but with all good teachers—to train the kid for the first year without letting him put the gloves on. Then there'd be another six months or a year working out with gloves, and then maybe he'd be ready to fight, or maybe he'd be ready to try something easier.
"Listen, that's the way it had to be. The action is so fast in the ring that a newcomer can't possibly do the right thing. You gotta take this boy and show him in slow motion what to do. When a fighter gets in the ring he's blind for the first three years. By the time his eyes can warn his brain that a left jab is coming, he's already been hit. Until a fighter is governed entirely by instinct, he's no fighter at all.
"Nowadays a kid starts out in the Golden Gloves. So one kid who has had 100 fights goes into the ring against a kid from a little town who has had two fights. This is not fair, and it is dangerous. More kids have their hearts broken, and they never get a chance to learn anything. Boxing is too brutal and destructive to be allowed on an amateur basis. Young boxers should be put into the hands of professional managers who would not allow them to be hurt or overmatched."
Hurley's reputation as boxing's best teacher is hardly disputed even by his enemies. He not only had a thorough understanding of how to box, but he had a rare, freakish ability to mimic other fighters, and thus was always able to "school" his own properties in how to face each opponent. "I was a natural mimic," Hurley says. "I would watch somebody fight one round, and I could imitate him right down to the last technical thing. I would know how to move my feet, where to apply the leverage, everything. This was automatic to me. I wanted to be a musician, I wanted to be a ballplayer, I wanted to be a whole lot of things, and I couldn't be any of them. But this was the one thing I could do. It just came naturally to me to imitate, and from that to teach. It's like Paul Brown. He wasn't a football player, but he could teach football players.
"Boxing," Hurley says, "is a science, almost an exact science. There are only so many moves. To the average person boxing is very complicated. Now how many things could Sonja Henie do on ice? Maybe four or five things, but she did them with a flourish. It's the same in boxing. There are maybe four basic things to know. If a fighter can be taught to do one thing and do it well, he's a fair fighter. If he can do two, he's a real good fighter. If you can teach him the third move, he'll be the best moneymaker in his division.
"My fighters are strictly counterpunchers, yet they don't appear to be. The average counterpuncher is a guy who don't do a damn thing, and if you throw a punch he ducks it and he hits you quick. These guys are agony fighters. They stink the place out, and they never make any money. Now my fighters are agony fighters, too, but they're so polished up nobody notices it. When they're waiting for the right opportunity they appear busy, they're moving around and making threats; but they're not going to make one aggressive move till the opening comes. I'll show you how it works:
"Billy Petrolle would fight a counter-puncher who would only want you to throw a right hand, and then he would counter perfectly. Other guys would fight this counterpuncher, and their managers would say, 'Don't throw a right hand,' and as a result it would be a stinking fight, wouldn't it? So I said to Petrolle: 'Look, this gentleman is a counterpuncher, and he likes to counter right hands, so oblige him.' Now Petrolle would walk out like he didn't know how to fight, and he'd throw a right hand and the guy would counter. But Petrolle only threw it halfway, and then he would counter-punch the counterpuncher. Now this had never happened before, and the guy don't know what's happening. But soon he catches on that his counterpunches aren't working. So now when Petrolle walks out and throws a right halfway the guy won't counter, and I say to Petrolle back in the corner, 'Look, he don't believe you any more. Show him.' Now Petrolle walks out and throws a hard right and hits the guy smack on the chin. He beats the other fellow at his own game.
"See, the trick is to let your opponent do what he is capable of doing, make him feel right at home, comfortable and safe, but you are in command all the time because you re deciding just how much to let him show his stuff until he gets confident and you can let him have one. Petrolle always fought that way. He wouldn't get hit square once in 20 fights, but he looked on the brink of danger and disaster at all times. He'd take the other guy's specialty punch, but he'd take it as light as possible and on his own terms, and the other guy would think he's doing very well, and then Petrolle would hit him good.
"That's where amateur fighters are taught wrong right from the start. Amateur coaches teach them fear, look out, be careful. Harry Matthews had been taught all this when he came to me. I said, 'I'm gonna teach you how to survive; that's the most important thing to a fighter, surviving in the ring. It is a terrible place if you don't know what you're doing.' "
Hurley's early advice to the overdefensive but not totally untalented Matthews was almost exactly counter to standard boxing instruction, yet it enabled Matthews—glass chin, powder-puff punches and all—to become at least a competent fighter and make a stack of money. For hours Hurley talked to the then 28-year-old financial failure. "First off, Harry," he said, "you gotta learn that speed is detrimental. You must get rid of that. If you get in the ring and you start moving fast, you also move that opponent you're trying to hit. You're moving him a little bit faster than yourself in order for him to stay out of the way, so you are hitting at a very fast-moving target. Now if you were out hunting, would you rather shoot at a slow-moving target or a fast-moving, darting target?
"Now fighters are not supposed to get paid for defending themselves, Harry. In boxing you're supposed to hit and get hit. Fighters think you should never get hit; this is impossible. What you have to learn is to get hit but with the lightest punch the other fellow has, a left jab. All over the country young fighters are being taught how to jab. Now do you want me to teach you how to jab and you'll compete with a guy from Memphis, and you'll jab and he'll jab and you'll make him miss and he'll make you miss, and it's like two old women fighting over the back fence? Nobody gets hit, and nobody in the audience cares what happens.
"I am gonna teach you to be a sensational performer, but I am gonna teach you safety. I will teach you how to get hit with his left jab and maybe another one, and when he throws the third you will hit him two or three or four good punches. Now how long can he trade with you on that basis? You don't have to be a good puncher. You're going to be hitting them on the way in, and that adds 50% to your punch. It's the difference between a push punch and a shock punch.
"Watching you box, Harry, you want to land every left jab you throw. Can't you afford to deliberately waste one now and then like a pitcher that gets ahead of the batter? Then you encourage the other guy, and you set him up."
This is the strategy that enabled Matthews, a man of only average ability, to beat Danny Nardico and Rex Layne and Irish Bob Murphy and a long column of others. The Hurley techniques worked over and over. "One night he is fighting a guy who can block left hooks perfectly. So Matthews stops throwing the left hook. I say, 'Harry, walk right out there and fall into the trap. Get over there and throw a real sloppy left hook at him. Let him block it, make him happy and self-satisfied and then hit him with a right hand.' This got the necessary results.
"Another time Matthews is fighting a guy that's running all over the joint. He comes back, and he says, 'What am I supposed to do with this guy?' I says, 'It's your own fault, Harry, you're dancing with him. Whenever there's anything wrong in the ring it's your own fault. You're scaring him, moving around so fast. You must not scare him; make him feel secure. Now this round, go out and start to move with him, and when I say "Stop!" you stand still. He'll take two or three steps, and he'll stop, too. Now you're not scaring him. Now you walk over to him slowly, and you just start to shuffle your feet. Don't hit him, just feint at him a little bit, not too strong, and he'll start imitating you. He's glad to get along. Don't jab fast. What do you want to do, score a point like an amateur? Big deal. Just feint at him clumsylike. He will right away figure that he can outjab you, and you let him give you a few. Now he feels pretty good, now you feint at him clumsylike, and then he gets completely comfortable and you nail him.' That's what happened, and Matthews won easy.
"After a year or so Matthews come to me, and he says, 'You know, you told me Petrolle wouldn't get hit square once in 20 fights, and I didn't believe it. But now that I know what's happening out there, I'm not gonna get hit square once in 30 fights.' And he didn't. Matthews couldn't take a punch, everybody knows that. But he got along, didn't he? So you know he must have learned how not to get hit."
Hurley thinks that television boxing commentators have done more than their fair share in confusing people about boxing techniques. "I hear them say things like 'He's finally got his combinations working,' or 'That was his favorite six-punch combination.' Why, there's no such thing as planned combinations in boxing, and it's ridiculous to imagine that you could perfect a six-or a seven-punch combination. Sure, there are what you might call 'series of punches,' but they are spontaneous, they just happen. Fighters like Walker and Dempsey and Petrolle, if they would make you miss a punch, they would hit you with three or four good solid punches, but it wouldn't be a 'planned combination.'
"You just can't figure these things that closely. It's not in the nature of the science of boxing. Suppose you're my fighter, and I explain to you what to expect out there and here's what to do, and don't forget to try to use your dazzling seven-punch combination starting with the left jab, and now we got our strategy all planned, haven't we? And this other guy, he comes out and he turns southpaw. Now where's your strategy? No, what you do is you school your fighter so he knows how to cope with any situation that might arise. He's strictly governed according to the opponent's moves. That's where the only strategy is, and it has to happen right in the ring."
One of the troubles with boxing nowadays, according to Hurley, is the dearth of good instructors. "I know everybody in boxing today, and if my life depended on it, I couldn't name you more than six good teachers. In the old days there were hundreds of 'em. They took time and care and patience with their fighters. Why not? They wanted 'em to fight for 10 years, keep bringing in that money. Twenty, 30 years ago there must have been 500 fighters in each division alone, and 50 of those guys were so good you'd have a hell of a time picking the top 10. Why? They were properly taught. They knew their business. They had professional managers. In my book a manager has two duties: first, he's got to train his fighters and match them where they show to the best advantage, and second he's got to assure his fighters' financial independence. These are his jobs; the fighter's job is to get up there in the ring. I hate managers that say, 'We're gonna fight so-and-so,' or 'We fought so-and-so last year.' I never saw no manager up in the ring fighting. The fighter is the fighter; there's no 'we' to it.
"Now when I take a fighter I cut him 50-50 right down the line. There's been a lot of beefing in the press about this. But a good manager is worth every cent of it and more. A manager's money is only worth 20¢ on the dollar. He's surrounded by a bunch of freeloaders always expecting handouts. He's gotta have loyalty around him, and it's a sad fact of life that sometimes you gotta buy loyalty. And you train the fighter and sell the tickets and send out clippings and mail out posters and lick stamps and address envelopes and make up the cards and set up the arena and arrange the lights and entertain the freeloaders, and your fighter winds up a wealthy man and you wind up with nothing. I'm not complaining; I hate complainers. I'm just telling you the facts of the manager's life.
"When Petrolle quit, I had a little notebook where I'd enter any amount of money I loaned people over $50. The under-50s I didn't even keep track of. So three weeks later I had to go into the hospital because I had four ulcers and no money, and I had $60,000 standing out in my little book, and I sent out eight letters and six telegrams from the Mayo Clinic to guys who owed me $500 and up. I told them about the operation and how anything they could send me would be appreciated. How much do you think they sent? Not a quarter. How many replies you think I got? Not a one. So I ripped up all the IOUs and started over, and today I got $75,000 more standing out. My hopes of getting any of it back are not too high. In the fight business you gotta expect this. It's part of the cost of living."
Nor does Hurley hold fighters themselves in very high esteem. He once said: "Most fighters are ingrates. There isn't one of them ever had the guts to go through with a deal, which is what a manager does. A good manager can take any mediocre fighter and make a fortune for him. When they are washed up as fighters they are lost, because they don't have the guts to handle the situations their managers used to handle." Now slightly more mellowed, he said recently: "People have great respect for fighters. I don't, except for certain fighters like Billy Petrolle who were men in and out of the ring. But they have a tough life. They have a tough life."
He nurses an undying grudge against the men who, in his opinion, killed boxing. He blames television, the IBC, Jim Norris, Truman Gibson, present-day boxing figures ("plumbers for managers, dentists on commissions, Sunday-school teachers handling fighters, contractors for promoters"), state boxing commissions and the National Boxing Association. What happened to boxing? Hurley gives his explanation: "With television, the managers gave away their fights for nothing, and the sponsor and the promoter cleaned up. TV ate up boxing talent like some oversized monster, and it killed more smalltime promoters than drink. Free customers are the ruination of civilization. TV fighters didn't have to be any good. They only had to be willing, and a lot of them got hurt. These kids would box main events, and they were nothing but preliminary fighters. A lot of them were finished after a year, all punched out. They were denied a chance to learn their trade.
"Jim Norris has millions of dollars. Now you can't argue with a man with that kind of money. I didn't mind getting him mad at me, but not too mad, because I was able to cash in fighting the big giant and all that. But he did a lot of damage to boxing. He says now he's sorry he ever got into boxing. Well, I'm sorry he did, too. And then you had the boxing commissions. They are appointed by governors purely for political reasons and without regard to their qualifications. When they take office they proceed to tell us how to run a business in which we have spent our lives. When a new governor comes in he throws them out and brings in a new set of amateurs. And finally you had the NBA. This is a collection of fancy geezers whose main function is to get together once a year and elect their vice-president president. What they ever did for boxing, I do not know."
Hurley agrees with many that there is a need for a national boxing commissioner. "He should be a boxing man. Let boxing run its own affairs and police its own affairs under a national commissioner who is a boxing man, and everything will work out right. I have been mentioned and it's nice of them to mention me, and I'm not trying to get the job nor will 1 get it. But somebody should get it, somebody who knows boxing, not a politician." Hurley's own choice is Cus D'Amato. "He's dead on the level, he's honest, he's qualified, he's fearless. Everything he has done has been done for Patterson. Today Patterson is a wealthy fighter, and Cus doesn't have change for a quarter."
The same may be said of Jack Hurley. He hasn't been able to save any money and probably wouldn't know what to do with it if he had, since he has almost no pleasures "except training fighters; that's the biggest pleasure of all, to take some raw recruit and make him into something." He never takes a vacation. Once friends dragooned him into a fishing trip. "I didn't like it, out there in the open," he says, "and when I got back I had to spend four days in a smoke-filled room to readjust myself." Because he can't sleep, he sometimes goes to one of Seattle's six all-night movies. Or he wanders down to a tobacco shop for a few rubbers of auction bridge for small stakes. "I'll tell you how good I am at bridge," he says. "I'm the kind of loser that if he doesn't show up for the game, they send a taxi after me." As a man with few and simple pleasures, he has no fear for the future, no needs which cannot be met, and he confidently expects to finish his days in a veterans' home. "I won't be a burden on anybody," says Hurley, matter-of-factly and without any trace of self-pity. "I'll check in at the home and say, 'Well, I've gone as far as I can go.' I don't think that would be bad at all. I've been to some of those places to show fight movies. Just think about it. All they do is sit around and talk. A man could have a worse future than that."
END OF THE DREAM FOR MATTHEWS: MARCIANO (RIGHT) CATCHES HIM WITH A LEFT HOOK
HURLEY EXPLAINS HIS PHILOSOPHICAL ACCEPTANCE OF ONCOMING OLD AGE