The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire (1-30-00)

Bruno on Boxing

By Joe Bruno, Former vice president of the Boxing Writers Association and the International Boxing Writers Association
News Item: Shamtime Boxing strikes again! There may have been worse fight cards presented on pay television in the past 20 years, but frankly Scarlet, I can’t think of any.

Saturday night, January 29th. From the MEN Arena in Manchester England. Shamtime Television. Promoter--American Presents. 10 PM EST.

First act: Unbeaten Welshman Joe was jeered out of the ring after plodding through an unimpressive 12-round unanimous decision over local Englishman David to hold on to his WBO super-middleweight title. I have to call the old bloke Stogie, because David sure did stink out the joint.

As fans booed and slow-clapped throughout 12 excruciatingly boring rounds, inside the ring both fighters seemed content to passionately hug each other as if they were on their third date. The only punches of consequence fired throughout the borefest were illegal punches thrown inside, up and over the top. More rabbit punches haven’t been launched in a fight since Peter Cottontail battled Bugs Bunny to a draw. Although Calzaghe didn’t do much, he basically won every round because Starie repeatedly did less.

Judge Roberto Ramirez of Puerto Rico scored the waltz 120-108. Bill Learch of Chicago had it 118-110, and England’s Mickey Vann, obviously rooting for the homeboy Starie, made it 116-113. The CBZ scored it 119-109, for Calzaghe, giving Starie one round, just for showing up.

After the fight, the "Foaming Fright Doctor" Ferdie Pacheco mentioned Calzaghe as a possible future opponent for undisputed light heavyweight champion Roy Jones. If that fight would ever take place, be assured Calzone’’s face would wind up looking like a pepperoni pizza, heavy on the sauce.

Act Two: Mike “Now Out Of Irons” Tyson against Francis “Orange” Julius Francis. All you need to know about this fight was that Francis had the gall to sell advertisement space on the bottom of his shoes to the London Daily Mirror for fifty thousand American dollars. And boy, did the London Daily Mirror sure get its money’s worth.

It’s really hard to describe this non-competitive contest, but I’ll try.

While bobbing and weaving at half speed, Tyson repeated threw loaded punches at Francis’ wide body. Francis’ fat fanny hit the canvas, bottom of his feet up of course, five times in four minutes and three seconds. There wasn’t any one punch that looked hard enough to knock over Pee Wee Herman, but there was Francis bobbing up and down like a yo yo, until referee Mike Francis, no relative, or friend to Orange Julius, stopped the slapstick contest a 1:03 of round two.

The post-fight interview between Jim Gray and Tyson produced one of the most memorable moments in the history of live television. As Gray looked like he was going to lose his lunch, he stammered at Tyson, "Mike.... er.. your nose Mike....You might want to take care of that.....Something is coming out right now."

Tyson snorted back at Gray: ``I'm a big enough man to squash you and be your friend. And I'm a fan of Pete Rose.'' Gray’s eyes seemed to plead, "No Mike.... Not ROSE... NOSE!!!... For Pete’s sake!!!....NO....Not PETE ROSE!!!...YOUR NOSE!!!...It’s leaking white lava!!!"

Thankfully, before Jim Gray fainted out of the ring, someone handed Tyson a towel. Tyson wiped his nose like a good little boy, and the color returned to Jim Gray’s face.

What did the world learn about Mike Tyson Saturday night in England? Absolutely nothing we already didn’t know.

Sure, Tyson can punch, but Francis acted more like a heavy bag, only not quite as quick. What would Tyson do against a live opponent, capable of moving and punching back? Probably not much, but we’ll never know if America Presents continues with Tyson on his world tour of fighting every European country’s heavyweight champion.

Who’s next for Tyson? Max Schmeling? Nah Max hits too hard with the right hand. Ditto Ingemar Johansson. Henry Copper’s left hook planted Ali on his rump. He’s out for Mike Tyson too. Bob Fitzsimmons? He’s dead. America Presents will probably keep Fitzsimmons in mind for Tyson’s next fight, but only as the last resort.

So we’re sentenced to being subjected to more fights with Tyson battling bums like Julius Francis, next time most likely on Pay-Per-View, rather than on Shamtime. That is, until Lennox Lewis gets in the ring with the multi-time former felon. Then maybe we’ll fight out if Mike Tyson can still really fight. The answer will probably be, “not much any more.”

The problem is, for America Presents and Tyson’s new advisor, the formerly respectable Shelly Finkel, only the fans outside the United States, frankly Scarlet, still give a damn anyway.


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