Gotham May Glorify Grapplers

United Press – December 28, 1938
By Jack Cuddy

NEW YORK – Big, cauliflower-eared Toots Mondt is in town now, preaching the gospel of grapple. He carries an olive branch in his huge hand. He is trying to elevate wrestling to the froglegs and beefsteaks to which it was accustomed – in the late Jack Curley’s day.

Toots, who used to wrap a mean headlock himself, insists that the wrestlers and promoters are their own worst enemies in not having a “big showcase” for their alleged sport. He believes that the mat industry should reach its peak in New York – and there in the city of 7,000,000, be glorified to such an extent that virtually all other cities in the country would respond to the mauling cry of the behemoths.

Mondt is negotiating with the 20th Century Club to stage topflight wrestling bouts at the Hippodrome, Madison Square Garden, and the various ball parks – just like Promoter Mike Jacobs offers his boxing extravaganzas.

Toots said that he wanted to bring back big-name wrestling to New York City as it was from 1929 to 1931. He wanted big name matches to attract national attention, thereby stimulating the sport on all fronts.

“Jim Londos is champion now,” he said, “the return of this great Greek wrestler to the throne is much the same as if Jack Dempsey could come back to the heavyweight boxing title. Dempsey was the man who drew the million-dollar gates in the prize ring. Londos is the man who drew the hundred-thousand dollar gates in wrestling.

“With Houlihan he drew $60,000; with Steele he drew $70,000; with Strangler Lewis he drew $100,000; with Sonnenberg he drew $74,000.

“Londos is still the greatest gate attraction in wrestling and still the best wrestler. If I can get the wrestling rights for the Hippodrome, Garden and Stadium, I’ll match Londos with any claimant for the title – regardless of what camp you mayk believe that claimant belongs to. And when Londos disposes of the various claimants, I’ll match him with the youngsters who are coming up in the game – just like Lou Nova in boxing. I mean youngsters like Ruffy Silverstein of Chicago, Terry McGinnis of Los Angeles and Vic Christy of Sundale, Cal. I’ll welcome someone who can beat Londos on the up and up.”

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