Shikat Victory Worth $50,000

Detroit Free Press – April 19, 1936

Adam Weissmuller, promoter of the heavyweight championship match Friday night at Olympia between the titleholder, Dick Shikat, and the challenger, sensational Ali Baba, was handed a new nickname by his friends Saturday. From now on he will be addressed as “$50,000 Weissmuller.”

It appears that Herr Weissmuller stands an excellent chance of dropping “fifty grand” Friday night, for the simple reason that he has entered into an agreement with Shikat that, should the champion be defeated by Ali Baba here, Mr. Weissmuller must fork over to him $50,000 of his hard-earned savings.

And while $50,000 is a lot of money in Tasmania or Clawson, Mich., Herr Weissmuller has gone on record as prepared to pay off.

The first intimation that Detroit’s veteran mat promoter would be forced to pay Shikat $50,000 in lieu of a defeat occurred Wednesday when Weissmuller was called to Columbus to discuss with Shikat and his manager, Al Haft, some changes in the original contract signed by the giant German to risk his crown here against Ali Baba.

With Haft acting as spokesman, it was pointed out that Shikat and Haft had become convinced, after seeing Ali Baba in action, that he is quite some “chicks” as a wrestler, and that he had an excellent chance of winning. And should this come about, what about the $50,000 in purses Shikat would lose when he was no longer champion?

Haft produced contracts for Weissmuller’s scrutiny that showed a match for Shikat with Everett Marshall in May at Denver, for which Shikat will receive $25,000, win, lose or draw. Another contract called for Shikat to meet an unnamed challenge in June in New York City, with the champion’s end amounting to $15,000. And there were additional contracts that would give Shikat $10,000 hither and yon between the two title shots.

Haft demanded of Herr Weissmuller that the latter make some provisions and changes in the original contract to protect his charge against losing $50,000. After hours of wrangling, it was agreed that if Shikat is successful in pinning the shoulders of the powerful Ali Baba to the mat, he will receive 30 per cent of the net gate Friday night. Should the much-feared Turk wind up victorious, promoter Weissmuller must hand over the $50,000 to Shikat.

Thus, Weissmuller joined hands Saturday with Rube Marquard, former New York Giants southpaw pitcher. Both have become 20th Century $50,000 “beauties.” And Mr. Weissmuller will be called, henceforth, by his close friends “$50,000 Weissmuller.”

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