The Bobby Riggs dump game

Toncam

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Who really cares?
Besmirching someone years later serves what purpose?
If no one cared, then this thread wouldnt exist and none of the articles that have been written about the match would never have been written, so obvioulsy, some people do care.
Its just someones opinion, thats all. Just like the "Phantom punch" has been discussed and was the match a dump.
People discuss things that pique their curioisity, clear enough ?
 

Toncam

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According to the interview I listened to with mob-type dude Michael Franzese that is specifically what the Mob does not do.

He made it very clear that the Mob only wanted their money from whoever owed it but they had no interest in fixing games or any other sporting events.

It did surprise me when he said that but think about the logistics of keeping all those tabs on all those players and keeping all those mouths shut.

It's not likely the Mob tried to get Riggs to dump in their favor.

Dennis
Yeah i know about Mike and one of his strongest traits is self promotion. His father was a somebody, a serious somebody and if not for him, this kid never goes anywhere. But as things turned out, he got lucky with the gas thing and he made millions and never had to do the scrape and scheme of the everyday working wiseguy.
They will fix any event they can and rob anything thats not nailed down, ultimately, thats what the mob is all about, make the money and who cares where it comes from.
If they dealt in tons of heroin over the years, do you think that fixing an event is below them ? If they arent worried about the heat that junk brings, trust me, they aint going to worry about a ball game.
 

petie

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Battle of the Sexes and the Mafia Fix

By Scott M. Deitche

Scott M. Deitche is the author of five books on organized crime including Cigar City Mafia: A Complete History of the Tampa Underworld and The Silent Don: The World of Santo Trafficante Jr. He also has written dozens of articles on organized crime for national magazines and newspapers. Dietche has been featured on The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, A&E, C-SPAN and national news and radio shows. Dietche will be writing blogs for The Mob Museum on a regular basis.

In late August 2013, ESPN posted a story on its website that quickly made news outside the sports world. The story centered on the famous 1973 Battle of the Sexes match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. But there was a twist. According to the story, mobsters plotted to have Riggs throw the match to erase over $100,000 in gambling debts he owed to the Mafia.

According to a 78-year old Tampa resident Hal Shaw, back in the last week of 1972 or the first week of 1973, he was at the Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club in South Tampa late one night after work when he heard four men come in. He hid, but not before recognizing three of the men as Tampa Mob boss Santo Trafficante Jr., his lawyer Frank Ragano and New Orleans Mob boss Carlos Marcello. An unidentified fourth man accompanied them. Shaw said he heard them discuss Riggs’ gambling debt and how they were going to fix the match and make money off the results.

The overall theme of the story is very plausible. Ken Sanz, an organized crime expert who investigated the Mafia in Tampa and South Florida for 30 years, said that the Mob will often get their hooks in to athletes who have gambling debts and use that leverage to have games thrown.

The ties between the mobsters were also well-known. Santo Trafficante Jr. and Carlos Marcello were close compatriots in crime and friends who frequently visited each other in Tampa and New Orleans. Those ties were cemented in law enforcement’s eyes when Trafficante, Marcello, and Ragano were found meeting in 1966 with top bosses of the New York Mafia at La Stella restaurant in Queens. Carlos’s brother Joseph was so close to Tampa mobsters, that he was the best man at the 1963 wedding of Augstine Lazzara, one of Trafficante’s top capos and continued as the liaison between New Orleans and Tampa after Carlos’ death in 1993

But did Trafficante and Marcello meet in late 1972 or early 1973 in Tampa? First off, there are no FBI records that mention this meeting at all and no mention in Marcello’s files of a trip to Tampa during that time period. That’s not conclusive by any means. Though the FBI were following Trafficante and Marcello frequently, the mobsters regularly managed to stay one step ahead of the law and run their respective crime families with minimal law enforcement disruption.

In regards to Ragano, those who know him doubt the story. His son told The Tampa Bay Times that his family wasn’t even living in Tampa at that time and that his father never mentioned the story to him despite Frank having opened up about a lot of his past dealings. In his book Mob Lawyer, Frank Ragano talks about everything from Trafficante’s operations to Santo’s alleged involvement in the JFK assassination. According to his co-author Selwyn Raab, Ragano never brought up the Riggs fix story, which would have certainly added some extra marketing cache for the project.

The information on Trafficante during that time period is more detailed. According to an internal FBI memo dated September 12, 1975, “Trafficante left his Miami residence in late 1972 and not again physically observed in the United States until late 1974. During this Period Trafficante travelled extensively in Europe, Venezuela, Panama and Costa Rica.” Another FBI memo relates that “On October 17, 1973, MM T2 (a confidential informant) advised that Santo Trafficante was residing in Catania, Italy, which is on the island of Sicily. According to the source, Trafficante has been residing there for approximately six months.” There are no memos or internal FBI documents that show Trafficante in Tampa at that time. Tampa Police and Sheriff’s department records from that time period have mostly been purged, so little record remains of local law enforcement surveillance.

The evidence that Mr. Shaw saw the meeting during that time period is flimsy. And there are other questions. Why did Mr. Shaw wait 40 years? Could it have been other local crime figures (Santo’s younger brother was heavily involved in bookmaking and resembled the Mob chief)? Who actually got with Riggs to arrange the fix?

While it will never be definitively proven one way or another, it’s unlikely that Santo Trafficante Jr. met with Marcello and Ragano during the time period recalled by Mr. Shaw. But it's entirely possible the Mafia pushed a fix with Bobby Riggs. After all, that’s what they do.
I just can't see someone "hiding" in a potted plant close enough to two very dangerous mobsters et al. to hear their private conversation. Also, I saw the Michael Francice interview and thought I heard him say that he speaks at colleges all over the country and warns athletes not to gamble because this will make them targets for mob exploitation.
 

Cowboy Dennis

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Yeah i know about Mike and one of his strongest traits is self promotion. His father was a somebody, a serious somebody and if not for him, this kid never goes anywhere. But as things turned out, he got lucky with the gas thing and he made millions and never had to do the scrape and scheme of the everyday working wiseguy.
They will fix any event they can and rob anything thats not nailed down, ultimately, thats what the mob is all about, make the money and who cares where it comes from.
If they dealt in tons of heroin over the years, do you think that fixing an event is below them ? If they arent worried about the heat that junk brings, trust me, they aint going to worry about a ball game.
What you wrote is what I always thought until I heard Franzese say otherwise. He's definitely a self-promoter though and that type will say anything.

You've gotta admit though, having hundreds of college and pro players shaving points and dumping games would be hard to manage. Sooner or later someone gets busted and rats out the mob guy. I could see some lower-rung mob guys doing this but I can't see it as Mob Policy:p.

Dennis
 

fred bentivegna

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Did everyone forget that I had heard from his pals that Bobby did a deal with Lamar Hunt in order to promote (which it did) the Womens Pro Tennis Tour. Before that match the women's couldnt draw flies.

Beard

Hunt made a lot more money than the mob getting their 100k back.
 

gulfportdoc

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If no one cared, then this thread wouldnt exist and none of the articles that have been written about the match would never have been written, so obvioulsy, some people do care.
Its just someones opinion, thats all. Just like the "Phantom punch" has been discussed and was the match a dump.
People discuss things that pique their curioisity, clear enough ?
That's it in a nutshell, Toncam. People who like conspiracies, and believe that Riggs was certainly masterful enough to defeat King, will be inclined to believe in a dump. On the other hand those who believe that King was powerful enough to defeat an older man, or those who want to promote the benefits of lesbianism would never consider that a dump was involved.

Same thing with the Tevis thread. Wanderone worshipers will always believe that Tevis had him clearly in mind when writing his novel The Hustler, whereas people who have done the research know that it's not true.

Doc
 

fred bentivegna

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That's it in a nutshell, Toncam. People who like conspiracies, and believe that Riggs was certainly masterful enough to defeat King, will be inclined to believe in a dump. On the other hand those who believe that King was powerful enough to defeat an older man, or those who want to promote the benefits of lesbianism would never consider that a dump was involved.

Same thing with the Tevis thread. Wanderone worshipers will always believe that Tevis had him clearly in mind when writing his novel The Hustler, whereas people who have done the research know that it's not true.

Doc
I like how you cleverly put that,Doc. It all seemed so fair and balanced there for awhile -- up until then. Then you flushed away all dissent. You shoulda been in politics. :frus

Beard
 

Toncam

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What you wrote is what I always thought until I heard Franzese say otherwise. He's definitely a self-promoter though and that type will say anything.

You've gotta admit though, having hundreds of college and pro players shaving points and dumping games would be hard to manage. Sooner or later someone gets busted and rats out the mob guy. I could see some lower-rung mob guys doing this but I can't see it as Mob Policy:p.

Dennis
Well the Boston College point shaving fix comes to mind, that was Henry Hill and Jimmy Burke but they had Paulie Vario behind them and he was no slouch.
I forget if they had 2 or 3 kids with them but they did make some money and i forget what came of it, if anyone went away or not.

Theres quite a few instances of them getting their hooks into athletes, for years the sat night fights in NY were as crooked as a corkscrew because of Frankie Carbo. Im pretty sure he was behind the fix on the Jake Lamotta vs Billy Fox fight as well as many others but that was in the 50,s.
 

petie

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That's it in a nutshell, Toncam. People who like conspiracies, and believe that Riggs was certainly masterful enough to defeat King, will be inclined to believe in a dump. On the other hand those who believe that King was powerful enough to defeat an older man, or those who want to promote the benefits of lesbianism would never consider that a dump was involved.

Same thing with the Tevis thread. Wanderone worshipers will always believe that Tevis had him clearly in mind when writing his novel The Hustler, whereas people who have done the research know that it's not true.

Doc
If you still think Tevis did not have Wanderone in mind, you must have missed the "sharks" thread. It is incontrovertible and compelling.
 

SJDinPHX

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If you still think Tevis did not have Wanderone in mind, you must have missed the "sharks" thread. It is incontrovertible and compelling.
Petie,

Compelling, maybe,..'incontrovertible', I don't think so !..The people in the 'pro Fatty' camp, are going to read more into the situation than might be true !..There were several really good 'FAT' pool players in Fat's day..Some played as well or even better than him !..To base everything on something as miniscule as a 'facial tic' could be a bit of a stretch !..

Tevis was a great writer, and was very good at 'fleshing out' his characters..The 'facial tic' could have been just another way of doing that, and could have been completely incidental !..I haven't read the book in years, so I am not sure he even wrote that, or if Rossen just added it to the movie !

You are also overlooking Tevis' exposure to 'New York Fat's', which was almost zero ! Certainly not enough to pick up on 'personal mannerisms' !..Anyone can take the Rigg's/King match, or the 'phantom punch' and shade it to make their version more believable !..Bottom line is, no one knows Tevis' original thoughts, nor how much Rossen influenced the final making of "The Hustler"

Like all of Fatty's proclaimations, he has a way of mesmerizing his follower's, with his outlandish braggadocio !..Sometime it borders on hilariously ridiculous !..Is it any wonder, Doc, Danny D., and I, (and MANY, MANY others) choose NOT to believe (almost) everything he ever said !..:sorry ;)
 

gulfportdoc

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If you still think Tevis did not have Wanderone in mind, you must have missed the "sharks" thread. It is incontrovertible and compelling.
Petie, have you ever read the novel The Hustler written by Walter Tevis? Outside of the silly ass tick reference, there is no similarity between Tevis's fictional character Minnesota Fats, and R. Wanderone. If Tevis had ever met Fatty, and was so impressed that he wanted to use Fatty's characterization in his novel, why didn't he use a wee bit more?

It's pretty well documented that after the movie "The Hustler" Georgie Jansco gave the idea to Fatty to assume the Minnesota Fats name in order to promote himself, and to benefit the Johnston City events. That turned out real well for both of them. But Tevis was always livid that Wanderone had stolen his character's name.

Look, I'm not going to argue this out to infinity, because people can believe what they want. Pool lore always has been, and continues to be, amply full of horse pucky. This is one of the best examples.

Doc
 

petie

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Petie, have you ever read the novel The Hustler written by Walter Tevis? Outside of the silly ass tick reference, there is no similarity between Tevis's fictional character Minnesota Fats, and R. Wanderone. If Tevis had ever met Fatty, and was so impressed that he wanted to use Fatty's characterization in his novel, why didn't he use a wee bit more?

It's pretty well documented that after the movie "The Hustler" Georgie Jansco gave the idea to Fatty to assume the Minnesota Fats name in order to promote himself, and to benefit the Johnston City events. That turned out real well for both of them. But Tevis was always livid that Wanderone had stolen his character's name.

Look, I'm not going to argue this out to infinity, because people can believe what they want. Pool lore always has been, and continues to be, amply full of horse pucky. This is one of the best examples.

Doc
What ev, Doc. He's fat. His name is Fats...change the state so its not blatant. He has the signature tick..now how many people on God's earth do you know with this very tick? I'd say that's enough to raise the suspicion that Tevis was inspired by Fats. Think what you want. I met Tevis and if I had asked, I'm sure he would have denied. I think it might have cost him some money if he had admitted it.
 

fred bentivegna

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What ev, Doc. He's fat. His name is Fats...change the state so its not blatant. He has the signature tick..now how many people on God's earth do you know with this very tick? I'd say that's enough to raise the suspicion that Tevis was inspired by Fats. Think what you want. I met Tevis and if I had asked, I'm sure he would have denied. I think it might have cost him some money if he had admitted it.
With a gun to my head I would insist that he fictionalized the real Fatty. Nobody has mentioned that he admitted (and how could he deny it?) that the poolroom in Chicago that the match took place at, Bennington's, was based on the real Bensingers -- and he did admit that he had visited it. That fact is known by a few people. What is known to very few humans (besides me), is that Tevis perfectly described a Chicago poolroom where Fast Eddie plays an old man from Europe who took up the game at age 60 and became a hustler. Eddie is playing with an open hand bridge. The old man was a perfect recreation of Tom Smith, an immigrant from Yugoslavia (I knew him well), and the poolroom was an old dump on Harrison and State St., small grill in the front, a couple of tables in the back.

The odds of the coincidence of two unique people like Tom Smith and Fatty landing in the same book, with the author declaring no previous knowledge of either, is like a moon shot off of a pogo stick.

I confronted Tevis in Dayton and naturally brought up Tom Smith. He denied any knowledge of a Tom Smith. I giggled at him.

Beard

Hell with it, here is an excerpt from my book that goes into detail:

A Chicago poolroom, “The Hustler” & Tom Smith

A seedy old poolroom at Harrison and State just south of downtown Chicago was the model of one of the poolrooms used in the book, “The Hustler.” It’s the part where Fast Eddie’s thumbs had just about healed, and he went into a joint that had a grill in the front and a small poolroom in the rear. Eddie winds up playing and beating an old man in there using an open-bridge. The scene is based on a real place and a real person.
The guy Eddie played was based on a old-time hustler named Tom Smith. That probably wasn’t his real name, but it was the only one that I ever heard anyone call him.
The actual poolroom was a dump, and you would have to be some kind of a rounder to play in that joint; even I was a little skittish about going in there. There was a big sign on the back wall that said, "No dope dealing or pimping allowed." It had a definite cross-section of humanity in there. The best players were “Jew Town Red” (a Black hustler who had once saved me from getting hurt in Olympic Billiards -- another dangerous poolroom), and “Polack Frank the Killer” (not to be confused with Polack Vince the Killer). It only had about 4 or 5 tables in the back, with a small grill up front. All of the tables were 5’x10's. The place has been closed since the ‘70s.

Tom Smith
At 100 years old, a full century, Tom Smith, of OH, was the oldest pool hustler. Tom, at 100, could still run 2 racks in Straight pool. He didn’t start playing pool until he arrived in America from Yugoslavia, when he was in his ‘60s. Walter Tevis, who wrote “The Hustler,” probably based a character in that book on old Tom. He would have been the fellow depicted as the old guy Fast Eddie played when his thumbs healed.
Tom was an impressive physical specimen; he stood ramrod straight, was strong as a bull, and always wore a suit and tie. While still in his ‘90s, he was a gigolo to 70- and 80-year old widows. At age 90, he fought off a stick-up man in Miami, FL, and refused to give up the money. Even though he did catch a gun-butt to the head, he did not release the cheese.


(People who need the real facts need to buy the Beard's book. The Doc is reading it, but apparently he hasn't gotten to the above part yet.)
 

petie

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With a gun to my head I would insist that he fictionalized the real Fatty. Nobody has mentioned that he admitted (and how could he deny it?) that the poolroom in Chicago that the match took place at, Bennington's, was based on the real Bensingers -- and he did admit that he had visited it. That fact is known by a few people. What is known to very few humans (besides me), is that Tevis perfectly described a Chicago poolroom where Fast Eddie plays an old man from Europe who took up the game at age 60 and became a hustler. Eddie is playing with an open hand bridge. The old man was a perfect recreation of Tom Smith, an immigrant from Yugoslavia (I knew him well), and the poolroom was an old dump on Harrison and State St., small grill in the front, a couple of tables in the back.

The odds of the coincidence of two unique people like Tom Smith and Fatty landing in the same book, with the author declaring no previous knowledge of either, is like a moon shot off of a pogo stick.

I confronted Tevis in Dayton and naturally brought up Tom Smith. He denied any knowledge of a Tom Smith. I giggled at him.

Beard

Hell with it, here is an excerpt from my book that goes into detail:

A Chicago poolroom, “The Hustler” & Tom Smith

A seedy old poolroom at Harrison and State just south of downtown Chicago was the model of one of the poolrooms used in the book, “The Hustler.” It’s the part where Fast Eddie’s thumbs had just about healed, and he went into a joint that had a grill in the front and a small poolroom in the rear. Eddie winds up playing and beating an old man in there using an open-bridge. The scene is based on a real place and a real person.
The guy Eddie played was based on a old-time hustler named Tom Smith. That probably wasn’t his real name, but it was the only one that I ever heard anyone call him.
The actual poolroom was a dump, and you would have to be some kind of a rounder to play in that joint; even I was a little skittish about going in there. There was a big sign on the back wall that said, "No dope dealing or pimping allowed." It had a definite cross-section of humanity in there. The best players were “Jew Town Red” (a Black hustler who had once saved me from getting hurt in Olympic Billiards -- another dangerous poolroom), and “Polack Frank the Killer” (not to be confused with Polack Vince the Killer). It only had about 4 or 5 tables in the back, with a small grill up front. All of the tables were 5’x10's. The place has been closed since the ‘70s.

Tom Smith
At 100 years old, a full century, Tom Smith, of OH, was the oldest pool hustler. Tom, at 100, could still run 2 racks in Straight pool. He didn’t start playing pool until he arrived in America from Yugoslavia, when he was in his ‘60s. Walter Tevis, who wrote “The Hustler,” probably based a character in that book on old Tom. He would have been the fellow depicted as the old guy Fast Eddie played when his thumbs healed.
Tom was an impressive physical specimen; he stood ramrod straight, was strong as a bull, and always wore a suit and tie. While still in his ‘90s, he was a gigolo to 70- and 80-year old widows. At age 90, he fought off a stick-up man in Miami, FL, and refused to give up the money. Even though he did catch a gun-butt to the head, he did not release the cheese.


(People who need the real facts need to buy the Beard's book. The Doc is reading it, but apparently he hasn't gotten to the above part yet.)
Ya, Fred. I guess people only see what they want to. I've heard it said that the Spanish ships were sailing up and down the coast of America for two weeks in plain sight but the natives never saw them. I suppose when they looked out, they saw a large rock instead of a ship because they had never imagined a ship before. Likewise, there are people who think that evolution doesn't exist despite the existence of a very full fossil record. And there are people who insist O.J. was innocent. Go Figure.
 

Cowboy Dennis

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Well the Boston College point shaving fix comes to mind, that was Henry Hill and Jimmy Burke but they had Paulie Vario behind them and he was no slouch.
I forget if they had 2 or 3 kids with them but they did make some money and i forget what came of it, if anyone went away or not.

Theres quite a few instances of them getting their hooks into athletes, for years the sat night fights in NY were as crooked as a corkscrew because of Frankie Carbo. Im pretty sure he was behind the fix on the Jake Lamotta vs Billy Fox fight as well as many others but that was in the 50,s.
My point exactly. There would never be any "known" scandals unless someone got caught and ratted. I doubt that the hierarchy of the Mob wants college-age morons responsible for them staying out of jail.

The fight game will always be easy to fix because there are many less people involved I would think. Also, the fighter who throws the fight may be helping himself by losing.

Dennis
 

petie

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My point exactly. There would never be any "known" scandals unless someone got caught and ratted. I doubt that the hierarchy of the Mob wants college-age morons responsible for them staying out of jail.

The fight game will always be easy to fix because there are many less people involved I would think. Also, the fighter who throws the fight may be helping himself by losing.

Dennis

Many fights have been thrown or cinched by the trainer without the fighter's knowledge. You name the fighters but one famous incident involved taking the padding out of the boxing gloves. Another involved the trainer bandaging the hands of the fighter and putting baby powder between the wraps. He also threw the sweat off his brow onto the powder. As it turns out the powder was actually plaster of Paris effectively making his fighter's fists into rocks. One of the Klitchko brothers lost because he ran out of steam. Turns out his trainer had spread Vasaline over his whole body instead of just his face as is customary. This prevented his skin from breathing and deprived him of Oxygen.
 

jtompilot

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Many fights have been thrown or cinched by the trainer without the fighter's knowledge. You name the fighters but one famous incident involved taking the padding out of the boxing gloves. Another involved the trainer bandaging the hands of the fighter and putting baby powder between the wraps. He also threw the sweat off his brow onto the powder. As it turns out the powder was actually plaster of Paris effectively making his fighter's fists into rocks. One of the Klitchko brothers lost because he ran out of steam. Turns out his trainer had spread Vasaline over his whole body instead of just his face as is customary. This prevented his skin from breathing and deprived him of Oxygen.
Hey Pete, your skin doesn't breath oxygen. That's what lungs are for:)
As for the rest of it, it's believable
 

Cowboy Dennis

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My point exactly. There would never be any "known" scandals unless someone got caught and ratted. I doubt that the hierarchy of the Mob wants college-age morons responsible for them staying out of jail.

The fight game will always be easy to fix because there are many less people involved I would think. Also, the fighter who throws the fight may be helping himself by losing.

Dennis
Many fights have been thrown or cinched by the trainer without the fighter's knowledge. You name the fighters but one famous incident involved taking the padding out of the boxing gloves. Another involved the trainer bandaging the hands of the fighter and putting baby powder between the wraps. He also threw the sweat off his brow onto the powder. As it turns out the powder was actually plaster of Paris effectively making his fighter's fists into rocks. One of the Klitchko brothers lost because he ran out of steam. Turns out his trainer had spread Vasaline over his whole body instead of just his face as is customary. This prevented his skin from breathing and deprived him of Oxygen.
Why quote my post when you don't specifically respond to anything in it?
 

lfigueroa

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One of the Klitchko brothers lost because he ran out of steam. Turns out his trainer had spread Vasaline over his whole body instead of just his face as is customary. This prevented his skin from breathing and deprived him of Oxygen.

Skin does not breathe. What the Vaseline might have done is to prevent him from perspiring and subsequently overheating.

Lou Figueroa
someone watched
"Goldfinger"
one time too many
 

petie

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Why quote my post when you don't specifically respond to anything in it?
The fight game will always be easy to fix because there are many less people involved I would think. Also, the fighter who throws the fight may be helping himself by losing.
 
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