NY Post – The greatest woman-beats-man match in sports history could have been an elaborate, mob-set fraud, according to jaw-dropping ESPN report. Retired tennis champ Bobby Riggs lost to Billie Jean King on Sept. 20, 1973, in a remarkably hyped event that’s still revered in the annals of the women’s liberation movement. Artfully playing the brash male chauvinist pig, the 55-year-old Riggs lost in three straight sets to the world’s No. 2 female player of the time, King. Four months earlier, Riggs had easily dispatched then-No. 1 Margaret Court, making the King victory all the more stunning to 30,472 fans at the Houston Astrodome and millions more watching on TV. A country club co-worker of Riggs believes the tennis champ threw that match under mob pressure. Hal Shaw, fixing golf clubs after midnight 40 years ago at the Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club in Tampa, Fla., said Riggs was visited by an infamous group of organized crime figures. Shaw insists he saw mob attorney Frank Ragano, Florida mob boss Santo Trafficante Jr. and New Orleans crime boss Carlos Marcello enter the club for a meeting with the tennis pro, according to the report. Ragano told the men that Riggs was going to “set up two matches … against the two best women players in the world,” Shaw told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.” “He mentioned Margaret Court — and it's easy for me to remember that because one of my aunt's names was Margaret so that, you know, wasn't hard to remember — and the second lady was Billie Jean King,” the 79-year-old Shaw told “OTL.” “Mr. Ragano was emphatic … Riggs had assured him that the fix would be in — he would beat Margaret Court and then he would go in the tank” against King, but Riggs pledged he'd 'make it appear that it was on the up and up.'” But, Riggs' best friend, Lornie Kuhle, said he'll go to the grave insisting his pal didn't throw the match. Bookies would have noticed any huge money going on King, he argued. “It [a fix to rip off bookies] just makes no sense,” said Kuhle, founder and owner of the Bobby Riggs Tennis Center & Museum in California. Riggs was an overwhelming pick in Las Vegas and bookies could barely entice any action on King, despite long odds. “King money is scarce,” famed handicapper Jimmy the Greek said at the time. “King money is scarce. It's hard to find a bet on the girl.”
Well I hope that son of a bitch Bobby Riggs is happy with himself. I hope his mob money was worth it. Because every fucking WNBA highlight that takes up time on Sportscenter started with him. Every single Nine for IX documentary ESPN tries to shove down our throats was because of that match. Every second you waste debating “Who would win – the UConn Womens Team or the worst Mens team?” was because some broad beat some asshole on the tennis court.
Some things are more important than money, man. Fuck, somethings are more important than your knee caps. And keeping the Pandoras Box of women's sports closed is one of them. I don't care how much money they offered you or how much they threatened you, throwing that match was the most irresponsible thing any male athlete has ever done. You gave an inch and these broads took a fucking mile. Who knows, man – maybe chicks would have just given up on sports all together if you massacred the number 1 and number 2 tennis chicks back to back. Maybe they would have finally realized they were wasting their time. Maybe chicks were on the verge of just being like “Fuck it, lets just blow dudes the rest of our lives since thats what we're good at” and your little Billie Jean King stunt inspired them to keep playing. Butterfly effect, dude. Butterfly effect.
PS – No wonder the mob is dead now. They started worry about shit like exhibition co-ed tennis matches.