High Point Enterprise Newspaper Archives Mar 3 1974, Page 41

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High Point Enterprise (Newspaper) - March 3, 1974, High Point, North Carolina The Selling of a Champion High Point Enterprise sunday March 3,1974 to Foreman victim of naivete Wheeling dealing new York a on Jan. 22, 1973, in steamy Kingston Jamaica a onetime juvenile delinquent hammered Joe Frazier into helplessness in two brutal rounds and won the heavyweight boxing championship of the world. Big George Foreman stood astride the fight game like a colossus. He seemingly had the world in the Palm of his Ham like hands. Less than to months later the hulking school dropout from the Houston ghettos was a bitter and disillusioned Man. A a it a not what i thought it would be a Foreman lamented. A i Don t have any Money i can to get any fights. In a not Good at handling my business affairs a they re in a the new King of the heavyweights was the victim of his own naivete and the mad Wheeling and dealing that has come to surround the Man whose title is perhaps the most prestigious in sports. Foreman found himself a Pawn on a huge chess Board moving at the Behest of men in the Back rooms. He had sold 50 per cent of himself to a Syndicate in Philadelphia known As George Foreman associates inc. He had another company under his name in Oakland calif., handled by a former Job corps associate Leroy Jackson. His name was on a contract of a Houston promoter. He was at Odds with his manager. He was getting advice from Sargent Shriver former head of the peace corps and 1972 democratic vice presidential nominee. He fight in the United states because of liens on his earnings. His two year old marriage was in tatters. A i might As Well quit a Foreman said. But he did no to. Despite the pressure of lawsuits and divorce proceedings he signed to make his second title detente against Ken Norton in Caracas Venezuela on March 26. It was his third out of the country bout in 14 months. Foreman is guaranteed at least $700,000. The fight is hailed As a stepping Stone to a championship bout with Muhammad a later in the year in what promoters predict will be the biggest payoff of All time. Each fighter should collect $5 million the promoters say. Between taxes and Legal problems its Uncertain How much Foreman actually will pocket from these next two fights. He a grossed More than $1 million in recent bouts but he claims he a been Able to keep very Little of that Gross. La tips George Foreman a tribulations Are typical of those which have beset recent heavyweight champions. In the Days of Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney and through the eras of Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano the fighter was saddled with a manager who not Only booked the fights but also handled finances. Dempsey and Tunney became millionaires. Louis a sucker for hustlers blew a Fortune on Golf courses and unsound investments. Marciano a discreet and conservative business Man was Well off when he died in a plane crash in 1969. The new heavyweight is a commodity on the Market. He Sells pieces of himself As a big company might barter Stock on Wall Street. He is always in danger a As in the Case of Foreman a of overselling himself. Muhammad a the former Cassius Clay had the Good Fortune of falling into the hands of a group of benevolent Louisville businessmen when he set out upon his tumultuous pro career after the 1960 olympics. To get the Young fighter started to civic leaders put up $2,500 each to form a corporation. They gave Cassius a $5,000 Bonus and signed him to a six year contract under which he would be paid a salary of $300 a month. The corporation would pay All expenses and earnings would be split on a 60-40 basis the corporation getting the fat end. After two years the contract was rewritten providing for a 50-50 split. A Trust fund was set up which Cassius touch until he was 35 or until he retired. The fund now amounts to $100,000. At the expiration of the contract in 1967, Clay who in the meantime had joined the Black muslims and adopted an Ismalia name turned his affairs Over to Herbert Muhammad son of the Muslim Leader and Bob arum a Force in a closed circuit television firm named top rank inc. Top rank handles All of alias ancillary rights. A the stockholders got their Money Back and might have made a Small profit a says Gordon Davidson attorney for the Louisville group. A the arrangement was very Good for Joe Frazier who succeeded Ali As heavyweight George Foreman. Disillusioned Champion when the latter had his title taken from him because of his failure to enter military service had his pro career launched by a similar arrangement. His Fristic adventures were incorporated under the name of Cloverly inc., a Small group of Philadelphia business men and civic leaders who signed a contract Jan. 17, 1965, for three years with an option to renew for two More three year periods. It expires next january. Frazier was guaranteed $100 a week and a 50 per cent Cut of All his hearings. Cloverly meanwhile would pay All his expenses. Frazier a Cut has increased As the contract aged a to 55 per cent the second year then 60 per cent the third. Finally Cloverly got its share Down to 25 per cent. Frazier a interests were protected by Yancey Durham his manager who was an official and one of the original architects of the Cloverly setup. Durham died last August. Originally some 40 or 59 stockholders put up $250 each. The Stock was split several times. Now there Are some 15,000 people who can claim a piece of the former heavyweight Champion. A single share Sells for around $50. Although Frazier has made Good Money collecting $2.5 million for each of his two fights with Muhammad Ali there has been no Windfall for Cloverly stockholders contend that if they unloaded today they get their Money Back. While Ali and Frazier appear to have profited from Ken Norton. Stepping Stone the incorporation of their fighting skills Foreman has had no such Good Fortune and friends say the reason is that he put himself blindly into too Many hands. This has triggered the Law suits and thrown a Cloud of controversy around what should have been a skyrocketing career. He is the first to admit a Lack of business sense confessing a i just fight a i leave everything else to Foreman was born in Marshall tex., on Jan. To 1949, the fifth of seven children born to a Railroad construction worker. The family moved to Houston while he was still a tyke and he became the Scourge of Houston streets. A i quit school in Junior High a he says. A the juvenile people were after me All the time. The cops knew me. You name it i had done it. A once i broke 200 windows and did no to get caught. Another time i walked Down the Street with a Rock in my hand not doing anything and the cops picked me up. I Hung around Street Foreman credits the Job corps with his Complete turnabout. He joined the corps Muhammad Ali. The goal in 1965,took up boxing the next year and started winning Amateur titles. He first gained National attention when he won the olympic Gold medal at Mexico City in 1968 a an olympics marked by racial demonstrations on the part of the american Blacks a and excited television audiences by walking around the ring waving the american Flag. After the Mexico City games Foreman 19, turned professional and placed his fortunes in the hands of Little garrulous Dick Sadler a Veteran Trainer manager who had helped train former Light heavyweight Champion Archie Moore. This was the Era of Frazier and Muhammad Ali and few noticed As the big Bull Strong Black Man from Texas fought his Way into title Contention by winning 37 straight fights 34 by knockout. The world knew him after that january evening in Kingston when As a rank outsider he pummelled Frazier to the Canvas six times in less than six minutes for an overpowering Victory. He emerged As a Folk hero a a shining Knight who fought his Way out of americans dope infested slums to the highest Pinnacle in boxing a modest soft speaking monster of a Man who ordered a prayer after being taken to his dressing room and who spoke of patriotism ethics and love. A i did no twin this heavyweight championship a he said. A i just borrowed it for a Shriver said of him a it really sounds corny but this is a genuine Man. He does no to drink or smoke. He is such a straight Guy you believe it. They done to make his kind any at the Post fight press conference beside the hotel Pool Shriver sat on one Side of the new Champion and Jackson on the other. Sadler was in the background. Word was Sadler was fading in Foreman a favor and the new Man behind the throne were Shriver and Jackson. This was partially confirmed the following july i when Foreman announced publicly that sadlers contract was not being renewed. Sadler was blamed for getting Foreman involved in contracts that the Champion was later to Battle in the civil courts. One was a contract negotiated in 1971 with to b business and professional men in Philadelphia who represented a corporation known As the George Foreman associates Ltd. The group agreed to pay Foreman $500,000-$250,000 in Cash and the other $250,000 in instalments for which it would receive 50 per cent of the boxers ancillary rights Over the next to Vears. Ancillary rights cover income in excess of the live Gate and in the Case of most big heavyweight fights represent a majority of the Overall purse. For example the live Gate of the last Ali Frazier fight this year amounted to $1 million. Ancillary income a from closed to films act. A reached $16 million. The group was put together originally by Marty Erlichman manager of barbra Streisand but later Erlichman later withdrew and a Philadelphia attorney named David Miller took Over. When Foreman sought to have the agreement annulled the group agreed to a new contract under which its Cut would be 25 per cent of the fighters entire Gross. Under the Aegis of his new advisers Foreman has gone to court to have the contract voided. The Philadelphia group in turn is suing Foreman arguing that it Hasni to received a Penny from an aug. 31 fight against Joe roman in Tokyo for which Foreman was guaranteed $250,000-plus. Meanwhile another suit against Foreman was brought by Ludene Gilliam widow of a Houston promoter. She produced a contract with signatures of both Sadler and Foreman promising her the right to promote Foreman a first title defense. Foreman denied he Ever signed the contract. A san Francisco court threw out the Case. The depth of Foreman a financial problems were further revealed in a divorce Case recently involving the heavyweight chamption and hit wife Adrienne Mother of his 1-year-old daughter. 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