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Puerto Rico Judge Made Bias Equal

Lingering scenes from a week of boxing:

The Forum--It’s 24 hours before World Boxing Assn. bantamweight champion Bernardo Pinango defends his title against Frankie Duarte of the Ten Goose Boxing Club of North Hollywood. Officials from the WBA and the California State Athletic Commission are going over the rules.

Marty Denkin, a state boxing official, asks about the appointment of Rodolfe Hill, a Panamanian, as one of the three judges in the fight. WBA rules prohibit the use of a judge from the fighter’s native country.

Pinango is a Venezuelan, says Alberto Aleman, chairman of the WBA. It is true he has been living in Panama, but that is only for training purposes.

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Besides, it is pointed out, Duarte has an advantage as well.

How is that, Denkin asks.

Well, he’s an American and one of the other judges is Roberto Ramirez, a Puerto Rican.

So, Denkin asks.

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Well, Puerto Rico is an American territory.

An Inglewood hotel--Floyd Patterson, former two-time heavyweight champion, is in town to prepare his adopted son, Tracy, for a Friday night fight at the Country Club in Reseda.

He and a reporter are on an elevator headed for his room when the door opens. A man gets on and eyes Patterson as he continues talking to the reporter.

It is obvious a light has gone on in the man’s head. He knows this well-built black man. Patterson keeps talking.

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Finally, the man interjects.

“Excuse me,” he says, “can I have your autograph?”

Patterson smiles and obliges.

“This is really exciting,” the man says. “I was one of your biggest fans. I used to watch all your fights in New York.”

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Patterson smiles again.

The elevator door opens. As the man steps out, he says over his shoulder, “Wait till I tell people I met Emile Griffith.”

Griffith is a former three-time welterweight and two-time middleweight champion who looks nothing like Patterson.

“That’s OK,” says Patterson as the elevator door shuts, “a lot of people think I’m Sugar Ray Robinson.”

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Somewhere deep in the heart of Texas--When opponents for heavyweight Alex Garcia and featherweight Tracy Patterson dropped out of Friday’s Reseda Country Club card at the last minute, things became desperate.

The Top Rank boxing organization went through a dozen candidates just looking for a match for Patterson. Finally, they thought they had one in Mario Salazar of Harlingen, Tex.

Bruce Trampler of Top Rank wired Salazar the money to come West, setting up a flight through Dallas with a connecting flight to Los Angeles.

In the meantime, Denkin, the state boxing official, checked Salazar’s record. The problem was, many of his fights had been held in Mexico and were unverifiable.

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So Top Rank decided to look elsewhere.

What about Salazar?

Trampler reached him in Dallas, told him to take a flight back to Harlingen and send back the remainder of the money.

Deep in the heart of desperation--At least Salazar got nothing worse than a mini-vacation for his efforts.

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Not so for Cliff Melbourne, who agreed sometime about midnight Thursday to fight Garcia. No problem verifying his record. When a guy admits to 0-6, you’ve got to figure he can’t be lying too much.

The only thing Melbourne could point to with any pride was a 12-2 record in something called the Tough Man Tournament, basically a battle between bouncer types and other assorted heavies found around bars.

Maybe Melbourne, who didn’t survive the first round against Garcia, might have had a better chance under more familiar circumstances, like if Garcia had a broken beer bottle or a chair.

“I didn’t get any sleep last night,” Melbourne said Friday after losing to Garcia, the national amateur super-heavyweight champ who was making his pro debut, “then flew down here today and I didn’t have anything to eat all day--well, just a blueberry muffin on the plane and then two candy bars.

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“Maybe it would have been different if I had trained or something.”


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