Sport: Virginia Boxers

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Undergraduates at the University of Virginia are enthusiastic boxers. The heavyweight champion at Virginia enjoys the social prestige which at comparable institutions goes to the football captain. The boxing team, has won 23 dual meets in a row, four consecutive Southern Conference championships. Its bouts attract crowds of 5,000, many of them female relatives and friends. Last week, the Virginia boxing team journeyed to Annapolis for the big meet of the year against Navy. Six thousand tickets, priced at 75¢ each and allotted to undergraduates and alumni, were sold on issue. A few were resold for as much as $20 each. In the Naval Academy's McDonough Hall the crowd sat in nervous silence, because intercollegiate rules do not permit cheering when bouts are in progress. Once, when spectators broke the rule, the referee stopped the bout.

The famed right tackle on Navy's football team, Slade Cutter, fighting as a heavyweight, knocked out Virginia's Fred Cramer in half a minute. Another Navy footballer, George Lambert, outpointed his opponent in three rounds but when the evening was over Virginia's record was intact. Co-captains Bantamweight Archie Hahn and Featherweight Gordon Rainey had beaten Navy men with ease and the final score — after a draw in the 155-lb. class—was 4½-to-3½. For the third consecutive year Virginia had beaten Navy.

The social prestige of boxing at Virginia can be traced directly to the long-time proprietor of Charlottesville's most celebrated poolroom, who is the university's boxing coach. Grizzled little Johnny La Rowe boxed in the Marine Corps in 1890. A weak heart ended his military and athletic ambitions at the same time, but he discovered satisfactory compensations. At Virginia Military Institute, where he had been a drummer & bugler, he instituted boxing classes, taught them for 13 years. Twenty years ago he opened his poolroom near the university campus and began to lecture all his patrons on the satisfactions of his favorite sport. Undergraduates whose only thoughts of recreation had been inseparably associated with the whiskey jug found themselves being wheedled into the belief that boxing was a pastime fit for gentlemen and sportsmen. By 1922 Johnny La Rowe was assistant to the boxing coach. Before he became head coach in 1925, he also helped defray the expenses of the team. Last year, somewhat unwillingly, Coach La Rowe consented to accept a salary commensurate with his services. Now 67, confined to crutches, he has begun to learn the patois of his job. Last week he urged his team to "win for the old man."