News Item: ESPN2 boxing show constantly outshines those on
Pay-Per-View. And itís free too (Iím a poet and donít know
The best boxing matches on television have
consistently been shown on
Friday nights on ESPN2. This past weekend was no different.
Friday nightís fight card from the Molson
Centre in Montreal featured
three of Canadaís favorite sons: middleweights Stephane Ouellet
Hilton and former International Boxing Federation
Arturo ďThunderĒ Gatti against American Joe Hutchinson.
Gatti, pouring blood from his left eye from
the second round on, won a
unanimous decision over Hutchinson, in a fight that, because on
of a cut over Gattiís left eye, should have been stopped in the
An obvious clash of heads in round two, gave
Gatti a two-inch gash under
the left eyebrow, big enough to stuff Prince Naseem Hamedís
mouth into it.
The referee amazingly ruled the cut was caused from a punch. If
the fight had
been stopped due to the cut, as it should have, Hutchinson
declared the winner, and over 18,000 Canadians wouldíve tore
down the Molson Centre, brew by bubbly brew.
Between rounds, the ring doctor, who was
dressed in a collarless solid
gray shirt, and had a beard as long as the Smith Brothers, looked
gigantic cut, told the ref it was merely a scratch, and
inexcusably waved the
fight to continue.
In round four, another clash of heads gave
Gatti a cut over his right eyebrow, to match the nasty over his
left. Enraged, Gatti, with both eyebrows bleeding, and both eyes
slowly closing, proceeded to chase Hutchinson all over the ring,
firing with both hands, more often than not below Hutchinsonís
The rest of the ten rounds proceeded in this
same manner. Gattiís eyes
swelled almost shut, and Hutchinsonís voice got higher and
higher with each
low blow, almost reaching soprano, and I donít mean Tony
All three judges scored the fight in favor
of Gatti. This reporter agreed, scoring it 8-2 in rounds,
97-91 in points, due to a flash knockdown by Gatti in round six.
"I didn't fight like I wanted to, but I
showed I'm a true warrior," Gatti said afterward.
"I fought with my heart and my guts. The ref missed a few
head butts. I tried to fight dirty too, but he caught me."
The ref did deduct one point from Gatti for
a low blow, or maybe a dozen.
Ouellet and Hilton, the Canadian
middleweight champ, were meeting for the
third time since November 1998. Hilton had won both fights - a
dramatic 12th-round technical knockout and a third-round TKO in
the rematch. Usually
when a fighter KOís another fighter, he KOís him quicker in
which was the case in the second Ouellet-Hilton fight. There is no
for a third fight after one fighter wins the first two by
frankly, this feebleminded reporter canít think of another
such an event has taken place. But Montreal is divided by fervent
Hilton supporters, so a third match was made so both fighters
could earn a
big payday, and 18,000 people could quaff down Molson beer. After
convincing 10-round near shutout of the 35-year old Hilton, look
for a fourth
installment to take place in the near future.
It was an exciting, action packed-fight with
the taller and quicker Ouellete repeatedly painting a nasty
picture on the pudgy Hiltonís face. But Hilton is a big banger,
as evidenced by his two earlier knockouts of Ouellete, so there
was never a time in this fight where it wasnít possible Hilton
could pull off this feat for a third time. But as the fight went
on, Ouellete got stronger and Hilton seemed to fade. Maybe Hilton
thought he would win easily and forgot to train properly. Or maybe
Hilton just has nothing left.
Ouellet improved to 29-4, while Hilton lost
for only the second time in 43 bouts (38-2-3). Ouellet received
$35,000 , $25,000 less than Hilton.
Thereís not a city in America in which these two mediocre, but
fighters, can make this kind of dough. Look for a fourth fight in
If Ouellete wins the fourth match, look for fight number five.
thing could happen to fight fans.
Like for instance, the junk HBO showed
itís fight fans on Saturday afternoon, in their third
installment of KO Nation, which is a part fight card, part rap
show, and part exotic dancing monstrosity, with three wiggly women
called the Knockouts, writhing their bodies in such a manner to
make eyeballs protrude and penises bulge.
The first fight was a 12-round bore, with
Winky Wright winning a dull 12-round decision over
Bronco McKart in an IBF jr middleweight eliminator
bout, whatever that means. Both fighters are southpaws and both
canít fight too much. But at least this was an evenly-matched
Still, this fight was infinitely
better than the garbage bout shown next between heavyweight
Clifford Etienne, who recently finished a ten-year stretch in the
pen for armed robbery, and Mike Tyson-lookalike Cliff Couser.
Couser, looks like Tysonís twin (he played Tyson in the HBO
movie ďTysonĒ), and he claims that he and Mike Tyson share the
same father. Which, if true, shows Tysonís boxing gene
definitely comes from his motherís side of the family.
Etienne (pronounced A-T-N) landed at will on
Couserís ugly mug for the entire three rounds, and was smacking
Couser around the ring like a rag doll, when the referee Davey
Johnson, not the Dodgerís manager, saved Couser and the
television viewers from further punishment at 2:13 of round
The biggest rip-off of the weekend was the
Roy Jones-Eric Harding light heavyweight title fight that was
inexplicably shown on pay-per-view at $34.95
a pop. After ten rounds of nothing,
Harding quit in his corner after round ten due to a torn left
bicep. Jones retained his WBC/WBA/IBF/IBO/NBA light heavyweight
crowns, and he also retained his unofficial crown of being the the
worldís best pound-for-pound fighter, who canít draw flies to
a week-old hamburger sitting in the sun.
Anyone who paid to watch this fight should
be subject to a lifetime of listening, in a soundproof room, to
the grating voice of TV boxing judge Harold Lederman, singing the
Star Spangled Banner in the key of freaking C.
P.T. Barnum said there is a sucker born
every minute. If you are one of
these suckers, do yourself a favor. Cancel your Showtime and HBO,
away the little box over your TV set that allows you to purchase
pay-per-view. You want a boxing fix? Watch ESPN2 on Friday nights.
Max Kellerman and Teddy Atlas will tell you all you need to know
about the world of boxing.
With the money you save, buy yourself a
book, go see a movie, or take your wife, or whomever, out for a
nice dinner. Don King, Bob Arum and other blood-sucking fight
promoters and pay -TV networks might lose a few rubles,
which to all you atheists and Martians, will prove God really does
our zany planet Earth.