Jimmy Ellis of Louisville will be in double jeopardy next Saturday when he meets California's Jerry Quarry in Oakland for the World Boxing Association heavyweight title. The two hazards are Quarry's powerful counterpunches and the state's "simplified five" scoring system, which aids sluggers, handicaps boxers and could easily be manipulated to favor one fighter. The winner of a round gets one to five points, usually one, and the loser none. But if the winner scores a knockdown he gets as many as four, thus making up for four poor rounds with a single blow. It is the knockdowns that open the way for outrageous decisions, but California judges sometimes don't even need them:
On February 15, Bantamweight Jesus Pimentel of Los Angeles was awarded a decision over Sho Saijyo of Japan. Even L.A.'s chauvinistic Mexican fans were infuriated and littered the ring with refuse. The rest of the card had to be canceled.
L.A.'s Raul Rojas was behind on two cards, and even on the third, going into the 12th round of his March 29 featherweight title fight with Colombian Enrique Higgins. In the 12th, Rojas knocked Higgins sprawling into the ropes (he took a mandatory eight count) with a forearm blow to the head. For this Rojas received three points from each official and went on to an easy decision, 11-6, 10-5, 10-6. What may have been a close Rojas victory, or more likely a draw, became a walkaway.
In Quarry's two fights with Floyd Patterson he came off with a draw and a split decision. In neither fight would he have come close under another scoring system. In total, Patterson won 12 of 22 rounds and Quarry no more than eight. In the first fight, judges gave Patterson two points for a knockdown and Quarry three. In the second, Quarry was given three points by one official for a knockdown that was thought by many to be the result of a slip, and this was the deciding factor in the split decision.
"The situation is vicious and obvious in California," says one Los Angeles fight manager. "This state is notorious for bum decisions."
It would be shocking if another championship—even a WBA version—were decided by a questionable verdict.
WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR
Pope Paul VI, like most other Italians, is a soccer fan and admits he had been looking forward to the audience he granted to the Lazio team and its management. Before blessing them, however, he heard a tale of woe.
"Your Holiness," lamented the team president, "our affairs are regretfully most unfortunate. We went out to win the championship and instead our hopes have been dashed...."
"The game of football is like that," said the Pope. "You win and you lose."
BRIDE AND VROOM
When officials of the 24-hour City of Buenos Aires automobile race recently moved up the date of the event two weeks, driver Carlos Costes found himself in trouble. The race was to start at 3:15 p.m. on the same day he was supposed to be married. To alter the wedding plans would have involved endless red tape and, no small matter, disappointed his fiancée, María de Carmen Calvo.
However, race rules stipulated that pilot and copilot could spell each other for periods up to three hours, and that was all Carlos needed. At precisely 8:20 p.m., five hours after the race started in the Municipal Autodrome, copilot Mario van Diest took over the Fiat from Costes, who was driven to his parents' home, 7.8 miles away through evening rush-hour traffic, in 10 minutes flat. He changed out of his racing gear into tails and was driven to the church. The ceremony over, a dozen in the wedding party rushed to his parents' home. There the bride and groom cut the cake. Carlos toasted María with a glass of champagne, changed back into his racing suit and made the return dash to the track. He took over from Van Diest at 11:15 p.m., rive minutes before the deadline.
The groom finished 13th in a field of 73 the next day, but the Fiat came out in excellent condition. Carlos put María in it and drove 250 miles to an Atlantic resort for a one-week honeymoon.
A fellow who easily outhit Clemente, Yaz and the other stars down in Florida was not brought north by any major league team. His name is Jack Wernz. Played in 40 games down there, had 119 hits in 160 at bats for a .744 batting average. Among the hits were 37 doubles, eight triples, 27 homers. Knows where the strike zone is, too; didn't fan once all spring. Wernz is 77 years old, played for the Three-Quarter Century Softball Club Inc. in St. Petersburg.
A Miami advertising agency made a film recently to promote a new General Electric product, a homing device designed to aid in the rescue of fliers downed at sea. Two Fort Lauderdale men, Don Allen and Ted Drum, were hired to pose as pilots in a life raft. They were towed out into the Atlantic and set adrift. A helicopter with photographers hovered overhead recording the "sea rescue," and a cabin cruiser stood nearby. By late afternoon the helicopter was running low on gas. "They told us they would be back as soon as they refueled," Allen says. "But while they were gone the boat lost sight of us." The Gulf Stream pushed the raft northward. When the helicopter returned, it could not find the men, either. The Coast Guard was alerted. Aided by two airplanes and another cruiser, it searched fruitlessly for the raft. Seven hours later Allen and Drum were washed up on Pompano Beach after having rowed most of the way to shore.
As for that homing device that was supposed to aid in the search—well, the admen hadn't bothered to put one on board.
The Grand Prix circuit has always been the most glamorous form of automobile racing, followed closely by the sports car tour. Both have prestige, a continental setting, chic women and all the rest. But Indianapolis, until recently, was a different matter. Mention Indy and somebody would always conjure up a guy in a leather jacket with grease under his broken fingernails, chopping up the King's English. All of that has changed in the past three or four years, but if any doubts linger they should be dispelled by the fall/winter sports-clothes line that Robert Bruce, Inc. of Philadelphia will shortly introduce. Right there next to all those sideburned, razor-cut professional models is Mario Andretti, twice USAC national champion, bedecked in pullover sweaters, turtleneck shirts and zip-front jackets, looking for all the world like, well, like a sporty-car driver, for gosh sakes.
The racing theme is obvious. Torino, Mustang and Cougar sweaters (the "Fastback Trio") will vie with Pacer turtlenecks and Sebring jackets, all with bright, wild colors and stripes. This is not the first time an Indy driver has been used to sell men's clothing. "But we chose Andretti because he's young and has a fantastic image for merchandising," said Robert Bruce advertising director Norton Binder. "Mario has a flair for this kind of thing. His modeling was almost like a professional's."
Andretti's chief rival on the Indy-championship trail, A. J. Foyt, is having another kind of image problem. His car won't work. In the first two races of the 1968 big-car circuit, A.J., who won the driving title for a record fifth time last year, was put down by mechanical troubles, as he was in the year's first two big stock car events, the Riverside and the Daytona 500s. So, during a practice session for the recent Phoenix 150, he gathered up his crew members and marched them down to the barber shop at the Sundowner Motel.
Everybody was ordered to get his hair cut. Foyt, who lately has been concerned with his own receding hairline, came out looking like a Parris Island recruit. "I had to do something to change our luck," he said.
But came the race, and A.J. didn't complete the first lap. Like Samson, he had lost his strength with his locks. Or, more precisely, his engine had. It blew. So did A.J. His post-race comment was not exactly in the Mary Poppins vein.
Long jumper Ralph Boston, quoted here last week as considering joining the Olympic boycott because of the murder of Martin Luther King, has decided to try out for the U.S. team this summer. "I was speaking in anger," he said. "I was not myself."
For some time marine biologists have known that clams and oysters taken from polluted waters were unfit for human consumption, but a recently published study concerning Maryland's Chesapeake Bay suggests that fish caught in polluted waters may also be dangerous to eat. Antibodies to the bacteria that cause paratyphoid fever, pseudotuberculosis and dysentery have been found in the blood of white perch taken from rivers flowing into Chesapeake Bay.
In Japan, where it is the custom to eat raw fish, hundreds of poisoning cases have been traced to fish. Most Americans cook their catch, and probably the cooking process destroys the dangerous bacteria. Still, the Maryland report is disturbing. Once again it seems that, to our own detriment, we are despoiling more of nature than had previously been imagined.
Skier Nancy Greene and Golfer George Knudson have bought shares in a horse that may start in next month's Kentucky Derby. In fact, a number of people, including Shelley Berman and Lady Iris Mountbatten, have rushed to get some of the action—if you can call it that. The horse, a Canadian filly named Annabelle, has raced four times in claiming events, and her best effort so far is a third at Greenwood.
A Toronto newspaperman, Paul Rimstead, and a photographer, Fred Ross, bought her at public auction last June for $1,100. They had had several drinks before their purchase, and the filly has led them to have quite a few since. For example, the new owners gave Annabelle a swinging coming-out party at Fort Erie last summer. Jockey Club officials looked on with very dry smiles but said nothing in view of Annabelle's following. On several occasions the filly appeared on television, and a Dixieland band was hired to accompany her to the races. Recently Rimstead and Ross decided they would exhibit Annabelle at Louisville. To meet the expenses, however, it was necessary to sell shares in her (the shareholders will be considered owners for one race only, the Derby), which called for another party. A suite in Toronto's most distinguished hotel, the Royal York, was rented, and mint juleps were served up (300 went down in 30 minutes). Annabelle arrived at the party via the freight elevator. She was subdued, and the rumor was that she was under heavy sedation, though with Annabelle that can be difficult to tell.
Rimstead and Ross hope to sell 5,000 shares in Annabelle at $1 each. Nobody will be allowed to buy more than one, but it is apparently hard to restrain the speculators. "We sold 500 shares the first day after Annabelle's party," Rimstead said.
The person least amused is the Director of the Ontario Securities Commission, Harry Bray. He has declared that selling shares in Annabelle is illegal "without first filing a prospectus."
A prospectus on Annabelle's worth? Aw, that would ruin all the fun.
THEY SAID IT
•Pepper Rodgers, Kansas football coach, asked if, in view of the success he had last season using trackmen as receivers, he would like Jim Ryun on his squad: "We could use him on third-down-and-a-mile-to-go situations."
•Don Easterling, University of Texas at Arlington coach, after his Rick Nesbit won the NCAA 100-yard breast stroke: "He swam like a ball bearing in a saucer of grease."