Jim Norris

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President Jim Norris in his IBC office.

Jim Norris was a partner with ex-champion Joe Louis and Arthur Wirtz in the formation of the International Boxing Club, with Norris taking 80% of the stock. He also served as the IBC's President. The IBC was set up in direct opposition to Mike Jacobs' Twentieth Century Sporting Club. [1]

Norris was a very wealthy and an extremely powerful man in the mid 20th century. He owned many companies and was heavily involved in the sports world: he owned the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League, a major stake in Madison Square Garden, and champion racehorses. Jim Norris was also a very unsavory individual and was widely known to associate with criminals. As president of the International Boxing Club, Norris had a virtual monopoly on championship fights due to a lucrative contract the IBC had to broadcast fights on national television.

Norris was personally responsible for fixing numerous bouts--including Max Schmeling vs. Harry Thomas in 1937, and Jake LaMotta vs. Billy Fox in 1946. Besides match fixing, he was also unofficially managing many boxers (usually against their will) and persuading them to hire his associates as advisers. Norris’s actions perpetuated a chain of farces, which were passed off as competitive bouts to an unsuspecting public, helping to erode boxing’s integrity. [2] His corruption and infamous business practices were not limited to boxing. When Red Wings star Ted Lindsay attempted to form a player's union in the NHL, Norris stripped him of the club captaincy and traded him to Chicago, which was owned by his IBC partner Arthur Wirtz. Lindsay would eventually file an anti-trust lawsuit against Norris and the NHL: the league was forced to submit to many of the union's demands as part of a settlement, and Lindsay was later recognised for his activism by having the NHLPA's player of the year award named after him.

Norris died in 1966 at the age of 59. [3]