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"In 20 years professional football will be on a par with professional baseball as played today," is the claim set forth by James J. Corbett, former heavyweight boxing champion.
"However, I do not believe that professional football can ever be a threat to the college game. Certainly professional baseball is no threat to the college diamond activity. There is merely a sprinkling of college stars among the different major league teams, and their entrance into the game interferes in no way with the success of the colege game. It certainly arouses no such comment as professional football has."
All Sports Now Commercialized
Mr. Corbett next turned to discuss commercialism in athletics. "Every branch of athletics," he went on, is now being commercialized. You see controversies in the newspapers every day, concerning one sport or another. Tennis, golf hockey, football and even boxing, which is perhaps the oldest professional sport, are all having their troubles. But why worry about professionals? The amateurs who really love any game will always stick by it."
Questioned as to whether college men should enter professional athletics, the former boxer replied. Certainly no college man in his right mind, unless he is in hard financial straits, will 'turn pro.' The lure of fame, of course, gets many, and will always get a few each year. But a man like Red Grange has no future after his college football days are over, unless some latent ability of his is still uncovered. His risk of injury is great, and he may lose his whole means of earning money within a few days. The greater a man is, the sooner he may fall. And great men, especially in athletics are just curiosities. The public wants to see them once, and that's usually all. We may take grange's recent visit to Boston as a good example of that. Bill Tilden and Jack Dempsey had no success in the movies, and neither will Grange, unless he should prove to be an exceptionally good actor.
Ring Game Now at its Peak
Mr. Corbett was asked about the position of his own former calling, the boxing game, at present. "It is better off now than it ever has been. Not only with respect to the gate receipts, but fights are on the gate receipts, but fight are on the level, despite many statements to the contrary.
"I remember one fight I took part in when we fought for four hours for a purse of $2.500, and the committee had stayed up all night arguing because they thought the sum was too great. Ten thousand dollars was the most I ever received, and today a man gets half a million for fighting two or three minutes. We used to fight to the finish."
"As to you college boys going into boxing," he said, in concluding, don't do it. Be ready to defend yourselves any time, but that's all that's necessary, Use that college education with a purpose in mind: capitalize it where it is needed."
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