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Old 01-31-2013, 12:38 AM   #1
rantcatrat
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Default Boxing Writers on the Take in the Golden Era

Are there any sources for this? In "Boxing's Brainiest Champ and his Upset of the Great Jack Dempsey," Jack Cavanaugh states that quite a few writers in the teens, twenties and thirties accepted bribes for writing positive reviews of boxers and their fights. Was this behavior widespread? What other sources verify that this was common? What writers accepted bribes? Proof? Did any writers own portions of contracts of boxers? I'm interested in the subject and thank the posters at East Side Boxing in advance for their input. I appreciate it.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: Boxing Writers on the Take in the Golden Era

of course some Top Reporters may have recieved a little incentive or gift to favour fighters who belonged to the right people...

also what about the Ring rating scandal of the 70s & 80s, and who was that Black fighter that sued Don King then for title fights he never got, all this came into it.

it is the most crooked sport of all!
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:30 AM   #3
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Default Re: Boxing Writers on the Take in the Golden Era

A bit later on (in the 70s) you had the infamous 'US Boxing Championships', where people employed by 'The Ring' took bribes to rate fighters.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:50 AM   #4
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Default Re: Boxing Writers on the Take in the Golden Era

To get a real good picture of that, see THE HARDER THEY FALL, starring Humphrey Bogart, where a crooked promoter bribes a top sports writer (Bogart) beset by bills to hype an inept Argentine giant's fixed fights until he gets a shot at the heavyweight title, and the promoter cashes in betting against his own fighter.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: Boxing Writers on the Take in the Golden Era

also feature the very slick moves of JJ Walcott.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:12 AM   #6
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Default Re: Boxing Writers on the Take in the Golden Era

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Originally Posted by john garfield View Post
To get a real good picture of that, see THE HARDER THEY FALL, starring Humphrey Bogart, where a crooked promoter bribes a top sports writer (Bogart) beset by bills to hype an inept Argentine giant's fixed fights until he gets a shot at the heavyweight title, and the promoter cashes in betting against his own fighter.
Great film, I watched it recently.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:17 AM   #7
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Default Re: Boxing Writers on the Take in the Golden Era

I am certain this still holds true today,where selected reporters are flown in for fights and given comp rooms and food by the promoter.Payola though,is too easy to trace these days so I don't believe they are paid off in cash.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:50 AM   #8
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Default Re: Boxing Writers on the Take in the Golden Era

This is all very helpful.

On your recommendations, I'll watch the Humphrey Bogart movie. Thank you for that recommendation.

Were the Ring Magazine's unsavory activities reported at the time in articles and the like?

To give you further example of what I am referring to, in the Jack Cavanaugh book cited above, on page 115, he states that Barney Nagler, a well-respected boxing writer of the time, became "almost apoplectic when he would hear a young sports reporter wax reverentially about Runyon's work. 'He was the crookedest writer around, with his hand in every promoter's pocket and in a lot of managers' and fighters' pockets too.'" Additionally, in Jimmy Breslin's biography of Damon Runyon, he stated that Damon Runyon had ownership rights in fighters and would write favorably about them as a result.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:23 AM   #9
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Default Re: Boxing Writers on the Take in the Golden Era

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I am certain this still holds true today,where selected reporters are flown in for fights and given comp rooms and food by the promoter.Payola though,is too easy to trace these days so I don't believe they are paid off in cash.
It does hold true, fc -- just as you describe it.

A few years ago, for a championship fight, a promoter of one of the fighters offered me first class round trip airfare to Vegas (with my wife), with a comped luxury hotel room on the strip, with all the food 'n booze I could scoff down 'n a car 'n driver 24/7 to cover the week-long ballyhoo and the fight.

He assured me ad nauseam, "There's no strings attached. ("'n I have some beach-front property in Nebraska I'd like to sell you")

I turned it down, but bet other scribes took the bait, 'n rationalized somehow.

Last edited by john garfield; 01-31-2013 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:30 AM   #10
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Default Re: Boxing Writers on the Take in the Golden Era

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Were the Ring Magazine's unsavory activities reported at the time in articles and the like?
Very much so. It was ABC TV, who were partners with The Ring and DKP in the venture, that blew the whistle and exposed the whole scandal. It was a 'national' event.

Here is an extract form 'Time' Magazine, dated May 2nd 1977 and a link for further reading (subscription required):

"The United States Boxing Championships, a tournament designed to establish an American champion in every weight division, was launched with much hoopla last January from a ring set up on the flight deck of the Navy carrier Lexington (TIME, Jan. 31). Behind the extravaganza were Superpromoter Don King, the orchestrator of Muhammad Ali's bouts in Za´re and Manila; Roone Arledge and ABC Sports, the tourney's bankrollers and broadcasters; Ring magazine, the "Bible of Boxing," which rated the worthiness of the tournament boxers; and New York State Boxing Commissioner James Farley Jr., who lent the championships his name."

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Old 01-31-2013, 11:36 AM   #11
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Default Re: Boxing Writers on the Take in the Golden Era

Barney Nagler only became sporting journalist during Runyon's later years, around 1937 or so. He couldn't know personally what Runyon was doing or writing when he worked in Denver Rocky Mountain News (Nagler wasn't even born yet) or NY American.
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:07 PM   #12
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Default Re: Boxing Writers on the Take in the Golden Era

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Originally Posted by TBooze View Post
Very much so. It was ABC TV, who were partners with The Ring and DKP in the venture, that blew the whistle and exposed the whole scandal. It was a 'national' event.

Here is an extract form 'Time' Magazine, dated May 2nd 1977 and a link for further reading (subscription required):

"The United States Boxing Championships, a tournament designed to establish an American champion in every weight division, was launched with much hoopla last January from a ring set up on the flight deck of the Navy carrier Lexington (TIME, Jan. 31). Behind the extravaganza were Superpromoter Don King, the orchestrator of Muhammad Ali's bouts in Za´re and Manila; Roone Arledge and ABC Sports, the tourney's bankrollers and broadcasters; Ring magazine, the "Bible of Boxing," which rated the worthiness of the tournament boxers; and New York State Boxing Commissioner James Farley Jr., who lent the championships his name."


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who was that Black fighter that sued King, ratings, title rights all coming into it, say round about mid 80s memory serving.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:21 PM   #13
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Default Re: Boxing Writers on the Take in the Golden Era

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Barney Nagler only became sporting journalist during Runyon's later years, around 1937 or so. He couldn't know personally what Runyon was doing or writing when he worked in Denver Rocky Mountain News (Nagler wasn't even born yet) or NY American.
Hmmm. That is worth noting. Maybe Runyon wasn't on the up-and-up in the late thirties then?
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:23 PM   #14
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Default Re: Boxing Writers on the Take in the Golden Era

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It does hold true, fc -- just as you describe it.

A few years ago, for a championship fight, a promoter of one of the fighters offered me first class round trip airfare to Vegas (with my wife), with a comped luxury hotel room on the strip, with all the food 'n booze I could scoff down 'n a car 'n driver 24/7 to cover the week-long ballyhoo and the fight.

He assured me ad nauseam, "There's no strings attached. ("'n I have some beach-front property in Nebraska I'd like to sell you")

I turned it down, but bet other scribes took the bait, 'n rationalized somehow.
Wow. Do you think that is commonplace today?

Also, do you think being given media credentials for fights jades the viewpoint of writers? Are writers not given media credentials if they have written critically about an event or a promoter's fighters?
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:31 PM   #15
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Default Re: Boxing Writers on the Take in the Golden Era

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Wow. Do you think that is commonplace today?

Also, do you think being given media credentials for fights jades the viewpoint of writers? Are writers not given media credentials if they have written critically about an event or a promoter's fighters?
Just recently a reporter from Max Boxing was banned from all Golden Boy events for an article he wrote about ped's and some of GBP fighters being involved.Can't think of his name but it's a disgusting stance taken by GBP.
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