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PAGE 16 T-- BOSTON POST-GAZEI-rE, MAY 5, 2017 HOOPS and HOCKEY in the HUB by Richard Preiss TOMMY FARR The British Champ was a Handful for Joe Louis but Never Got a Rematch. Why? In a recent conversation I had ...... the subject of Joe Louis' bout against Tommy Farr came up. Farr was Louis' first opponent after he won the title by knock- hag out Jimmy Braddock, and it was expected he would do the same to the Welsh boxer. Farr surprised everyone by extending Louis for the full fifteen rounds and looking pretty good while doing it. It was Fart's first fight ha the United States. He had earned the title shot by scoring wins over Ben Foord, former champ Max Baer, and Waiter Neusel. All of these bouts took place in London. Farr, who was from Tonypandy, Wales, was an unknown quantity when he stepped into the ring with Louis on August 30, 1937. While his record was impres- sive, he had not been seen by the American fans. Farr also got off to a bit of a rough start with the American press, not being quite up to speed with the wisecracking New York reporters. In the end, and after a four-day rain delay, promoter Mike Jacobs was still able to get almost 39,000 fans to show up at Yankee Stadium for the bout. It turned out there was much more to Tommy Farr than ex- pected. The Welshman turned ha an excellent performance, keeping Joe off balance with an educated left hand and good combinations. He even rocked the cham- pion a couple of times. He did something that was rarely seen against Joe Louis; he was able to be competitive with the left jab. Evidence of this can be seen in photos of LOuis taken after the bout where his right eye is quite swollen. Of course, the Brown Bomber did pretty well with his own jab, busting up both of Louis Farr's eyes, and in the end he won a unanimous decision. There are fight fans who insist Farr was robbed that night, but after watching clips of the fight and reading accounts of it, I have no doubt Joe Louis deserved the decision. Even Farr never complained about it. He certainly showed him- self to be not only a very tough and courageous fighter, but also quite the skilled boxer. Farr behaved like the ultimate professional by show- ing how composed he was able to stay ha such a major fight. While Louis won by a fairly comfort- able margin, many of the rounds were close. So, the question that is often asked is why didn't Farr get another shot at the title? I've heard it said that Louis' management wanted nothing to do with Farr after having seen Louis extended by him. I don't buy that. I am confi- dent that LoUIs would have gladly given him a rematch. Now this is where things get a bit inter- Farr lands a esting. After the Louis fight, Farr remained in the states, and five months later he fought Jimmy Braddock. Farr lost a close and controversial decision to the former champ in what would be Braddock's last bout. Not long after this, Joe Gould, Braddock's manager, took over the management of Farr. I recently read Tommy Farr's autobiography, a very enjoyable book, and in it he talks about how, with Gould's encouragement, he traveled Tommy to Hollywood where he started partying with the big names ha the movie industry. He spent time at the home of Bing Crosby, and became friends with Clark Gable, Victor McLaglen, and many others. He even spent time with the ten-year-old Shirley Temple who wanted to hear all about the Louis fight. Farr also made some lady friends while out west. Now, why on Earth would a fight manager want his charge spending time living it up, especially after he Farr had become a hot commod- ity off of his great performance against LoUIs? Farr should have and could have returned to Great Britain where he would have received a hero's welcome, racked up a number of wins, and worked himself back into another shot at Louis for a big payday. Most people agreed he was robbed against Braddock, so that would not have been an obstacle after he scored a few wins. But instead, he took on Max Baer in a rematch. Farr, who was now not ha the best of shape, lost a one-sided decision against the man he had beaten quite handily just a year earlier. Baer dropped him three times ha the fight. He then lost decisions to Lou Nova and Red Burman. After these losses, Tommy returned to Britain, never to fight in the United States again. In.the course of a year, the Welshman went from giving one of the greatest Heavyweight Champions the fight of his life to being given the proverbial one-way ticket to Palookaville. He ended his relation- ship with the man, Joby Churchill, who had been with him from. the beginning of his ca- reer, and took up with a man, Joe Gould, whose vs Farr. now retired fighter, Braddock, owned ten percent of Joe Louis's future purses. (This was an agreement struck in order for Louis to get a title shot at Braddock). Gould now sends his new fighter off to the land of wine, women, and song instead of getting him into serious training for a campaign at another shot at the rifle. Here's my theory for all that went on. While Louis and his team had no fear of losing a re- match with Farr (and knowing how Louis was, he most likely would have welcomed another go at it with Tommy), Joe Gould was afraid Farr may pull off an upset in a rematch. If that were to happen, it would be a heavy financial hit for Braddock, and probably Gould. Joe Gould had a great motive for seeing Farr was removed from the picture, and I be- lieve that is why he led Tommy down the road of self-destruction. Tommy Farr was a terrific boxer. A brave and dedicated fighter who deserved better. right on Louis. He showed what he was made of against Louis. It was his misfortune to have walked into the lion's den. His great showing against Louis turned out to be a liability for him. Farr would have just a few more fights in his homeland before WWII broke out. In 1950, in need of money, he made a comeback. The Tommy Farr story should have had a much happier end- ing. Instead, it is just another one in a long list of boxing tragedies. A few decades ago, in the New York City metropolitan area, there was a chain of electron- ics stores-- emporiums, really, that sold electrical devices and accessories for a wide variety of gadgets. It became rather well- known in the decades before the coming of the internet. It was called "Nobody Beats the Wiz" and, at its height, it em- ployed over 2,000 people ha 94 stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massa~chusetts. It seemed as if nobody could be found that really could beat the Wiz. The commercial retail world appeared limitless for an electronics superstore outlet that offered low prices. But times changed and the internet arrived. In 1998, the company declared bankruptcy. Some- body had beaten the Wiz. Fast forward to the spring of 2017. We thought of that slo- gan from the past as we gazed down upon the Celtics defeat- ing the Washington Wizards in the second round of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs. Washington is a team that played one hot brand of bail down the stretch of the regular season and is now in the midst of a second tussle round with the Green and White. The Wizards had proven to be the upstarts, coming on strong to finish the regular season , winning a division title, and claiming fourth place in the Eastern Conference Standings. Indeed, it appeared that Nobody would beat the Wizards -- at least in the early going of the playoffs. In the Game 6 clincher against Atlanta where Wash- ington sent the Hawks home for the summer with a 115-99 victory the Wizards went on a 22-9 run in the fourth quarter that saw star John Wall can 13 of his game high 42 points. What's more, the good times continued into the opening period of Game 1 against the Celtics where the Wizards raced to a 16-0 lead in the first five minutes of the game. The good news for the Celtics was that there were still 43 minutes left to play. The bad news for Wash- ington was that there were still 43 minutes left to play. It took a while, but the Cs eventually overhauled the Wiz- ards and went ahead for good with just under six minutes remaining ha the third quarter, holding the Wall to a mere 20 points over the course of the game. "I thought we were in trouble, obviously, the way the game started," recalled Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, who asked about being down 16-0 right out of the starting gate. But it's a long game and you're only a run away from being right back in it. We were sloppy right out of the gate for the first five minutes. But we played well the rest of the time." It was a lesson in never los- ing a positive mentality a far cry from the game 2 loss in the opening round to Chicago where the Cs left the court dejected and defeated with their heads hung low. That renewed positive men- tality, plus Isaiah Thomas' 53 points, would carry the Celtics to a 129-119 overtime victory over Washington on the parquet ha the second game of the series. Everything one can say about that game was exciting. Trailing by six points at 110- 104 with 2:43 remaining in regulation, the Celtics finished the final 7:43 of the game (regu- lation time and overtime) on a 25-9 run. After the contest entered overtime tied at 114-114, the Celtics score their 15 overtime points on 7 of 10 shooting with Thomas going a perfect 4 for 4. His playoff career high of 53 was the second highest scoring production by a Celtics player in postseason franchise history. The man at the top of the list: John Havlicek, who scored 54 way back On April 1, 1973. In addition, Thomas contin- ues to be the star of crunch time. He scored 20 of his 53 points in the fourth quarter and scored 29 of Boston's 45 points in the fourth quarter and over- time. He is the franchise man. The triumph gave the Cs a 2-0 lead in the series before the teams headed down the East Coast corridor to Washington. It was the first time the Celts have taken a 2-0 lead in a series since the 2000 NBA Playoffs when they faced the New York Knicks in the first round. At least in Boston so far, the Celtics beat the Wiz. LARRY BIRD LEAVES PACERS POST -- The NBA was stunned again when Indiana Pacers President Larry Bird decided to walk away from his position as president of basketball operations for a second time. There's been a lot of specu- lation as to why Bird left. We immediately thought of a piece posted by well-respected NBA writer David Aldridge on the occasion of Bird's 60~ birthday back in December. In it, Bird revealed something about him- self. "I~1 be talking to somebody about players and forget about the player," noted the former Celtics star. "Like ~ou know, the guy who plays the point guard from Charlotte." Later in the interview Bird related, "The thing that scares me about gettir~.g older is, I don't know if you notice it, but you get out of your car sometimes and you go 'did I just park like that there? It's not straight as it used to be. I thought I had it in their straight, but it's not as straight as I thought it was.'" We wondered about those comments in light of Bird's deci- sion and whether the behaviors Bird cited had anything to do with the choice he made. We don't know what all that means but it doesn't sound good. The Federal Trade Commission works for the consumer to prevent fraud and deception. or log on to www.ftc.gov.