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George Foreman Grilled
by Lee Michaels
You, the readers of the Cyber Boxing Zone, will soon be traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of one particularly strange mind. This will be a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries of stupidity are that of imagination. An imagination which can only come from the worst color commentator in boxing history: George Foreman.
Folks, welcome to the debut of a column whose goal is to answer one simple question everytime a broadcast of HBO's World Championship Boxing concludes: WHAT THE HELL WAS GEORGE FOREMAN TALKING ABOUT?
Before we break down HBO's February 2, 2002 broadcast of the Bernard Hopkins-Carl Daniels/Roy Jones Jr.-Glen Kelly doubleheader, one must be reminded of the oddity known as George Foreman. On his website, www.biggeorge.com, Foreman invites us into his mangled brain by stating the following:
"Spending time with the family is always a treat. My dear wife Mary, whom I affectionately call Joan, and I are never lonely!"
Gang, the keywords here to focus on are "My dear wife Mary, whom I affectionately call Joan..." Mary-Joan? Joan-Mary? Oh yes, I see the connection.
Also on his website, George speaks of his children, saying, "...the boys are all named George. There is: George Jr., George III, George IV, George V, George VI. I was really close to naming all the girls George as well, but I decided that might have been overkill."
One single keyword here: "might"
Can't you just feel the weirdness? Good. Let's go to the broadcast.
(NOTE: Although the broadcast was a doubleheader, both bouts took place in seperate venues. Jones-Kelly, called by Jim Lampley and Emmanuel Steward, followed Hopkins-Daniels, which was called by Fran Charles, Larry Merchant and our focus of the column, George Foreman in Reading, PA. Big ups to HBO for not allowing George to do color commentary on both bouts.)
The following quotes are real and can cause bodily harm. This boxing drama also contains partial nudity and violence. Reader discretion is advised.
9:45 p.m. HBO's World Championship Boxing telecast begins
9:54 p.m. Pre-fight
Charles intros Big George. George greets viewers with his customary blank, smiling stare. I wonder, "What is he thinking? What is going through his mind?" Oh I know, it's "Man, I wonder how many of you suckas out there have bought my grill...which, by the way, couldn't drain the fat from a baby pig's ass." I raise my hand before realizing that I am by alone, except for the company of my cat, who then enters his liter box in pure disgust.
9:55 p.m. More Pre-Fight
Hopkins, who can break Carlos Monzon's record with his 15th consecutive title defense tonight, is the subject of Fran's first question to George: Is the record is too much for Hopkins to be thinking about before his fight tonight?
George's response: "Let me tell you. (DO WE HAVE A CHOICE?) He needs something like a record to chase to keep motivating him. Maybe this motivation - um - motivational position will keep him high. That's what he needs tonight - to be high." Fran gives him one of those "whachutalkinboutwillis?" looks before turning to Larry Merchant, whose antics, may I add, deserve a column of its own.
Camera then slowly pans left to Merchant as George gives us mind-altering, horrifying stare #2.
ANALYSIS: While the motivation point was well taken, why add the weed reference? Oh I see....high=weed=munchies=george foreman grill=cook food=eat food. Right on, dude.
Realizing that I've made a connection, I celebrate by turning on my stereo and playing the Cypress Hill classic "Hits From The Bong."
9:56 p.m. I call up my local New York City deli for delivery.
9:57 p.m. The amazing, 367 year old Arthur Mercante Sr. is announcing the unified rules to viewers at home. And I'm thinking, "Isn't it sad that at 367 years old he's in 200 times better shape than George? And me?"
9:58 p.m. I do a situp. My cat finally leaves the liter box. Whew...
10:03 p.m. Referee Frank Cappuccino is introduced as being in his 86th world title bout and "on his 36th consecutive bad hairpiece." Yo, Frankie Coffeebeans, bald is beautiful!"
10:05 p.m. Hopkins is introduced wearing a "Golden Palace.Com" advertisement inked on his back. I counterattack by disappearing in the bathroom for a minute with a blank ink marker. When I come out, my cat meows in horror as he reads the "George Sucks" advertisement on my ass. Seeing that Hopkins is not planning on getting knocked flat on his commercially endorsed back tonight, I counter attack by deciding not to sit down while watching the fight. Instead, I watch the fight upside down with my head inbetween my legs, constantly mooning my television. Soon, I feel a vibe coming from my "George Sucks" advertisment, as if other HBO viewers are receiving my message.
I then see my cat sniffing too close for comfort. Wrong message.
10:06 p.m. I'm getting dizzy.
10:07 p.m. Seconds before Round 1, George mumbles, "This Daniels got not any sweat on his body whatsoevah."
As if in cue with George, HBO's director cuts to a close up of Daniels in his corner with what else? A sweaty face. Then, as the director cuts to a shot of Hopkins, who looks just as sweaty as Daniels, George describes him as "juicy" and "wet" as if he were a turkey burger on one his grills.
Then George, who could sweat bullets in an ice cream parlor, predicts: "It's possible, a quick knockout."
ANALYSIS: George's comments need a bit of clarification, so here's a translation: "Pre-fight sweat is a clue that a fighter is warmed up. Lack of sweat is sometimes a sign that a boxer may not have his juices flowing. Therefore, because I see no sweat on Daniels, but lots of sweat on Hopkins, there may be a quick KO. However, I have not a clue as to what I am saying anyways, so let me add that "Ladies and Gentlemen, we now have the large sized George Foreman Grill in hot pink! Thank the Lord, hallelujah!"
10:09 p.m. 1:05 left in Round 1
George, referring to Hopkins' last bout, his destruction of Felix Trinidad, gives Daniels some monumental advice by saying "Don't make him (Hopkins) look good this time."
ANALYSIS: Thanks, genius. How about adding, "And also, don't do that trick where you, you know, put your gloves down and let your opponent hit you hard in the head, forcing you to take a nap."
10:10 p.m. End of Round 1
My food arrives: grilled cheese, 32 ounce raspberry Snapple iced tea and a giant chocolate chip cookie. Deeeeelicious.
10:11 p.m. 2:39 left in Round 2
George points out that Daniels should continue to fight an unorthodox style - a point well taken. However, George again shows why he has a stellar future as a trainer by stating, "Don't let him hit you with anything...make him miss a lot."
ANALYSIS: "Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of The No-Sh*t Comment Of The Year, Geeeooooorge Fooooore-man!
10:11 p.m. 2:14 left in Round 2
George mumbles something about how Hopkins should start fouling in order to show Daniels "who he is." Charles, probably realizing that George just told Hopkins, who has a prestigious streak and reputation on the line, to start fouling, says to George, "And you say show exactly who he is George...what exactly does that mean?"
George explains his theory. And to be totally honest with you, in order to translate it, you'd need a degree in SayWhatBigGeorge? from Ha-Vud.
ANALYSIS: Hey Fran, never thought you'd miss Ed Lover huh?
10:13 p.m. :20 left in Round 2
George says: "Daniels has GOT to hit him (Hopkins) with something hard."
ANALYSIS: Hey big fella, is there any other way to throw a punch in boxing? Ever hear the phrase "to throw a punch with bad intentions?" I'm waiting for George to explain his theory on how Daniels should hit Hopkins softly. (Fast forward to George, the trainer, telling his fighter, "Son, this a big ra-ound! Now is the time to give him a nice, romantic soft shot to the chin, as if to say 'Hey, I love you man.'And then, BAAAMM! Hit him hard and knock him out! Works with my wife all the time!")
10:14 p.m. Inbetween rounds, I have given up on the sitting upside down idea. Do you know how hard it is to watch a fight, listen to George Foreman and eat a grilled cheese sandwich all at the same time?
10:16 p.m. 1:19 left in Round 3
Man, I love Snapple. It's made from the best stuff on earth.
10:17 p.m. End of Round 3
I give this round to George, 10-9. He must have been eating because he barely spoke a word. I'm lonely.
10:21 p.m. :39 seconds left in Round 4
Charles to George: "George, do you believe those body shots to Daniels by Hopkins are starting to have an effect on Daniels?" George: "No doubt about it....but you've been training for six weeks....nothing wrong with getting (hit with) SOME body shots. Hee Hee Hee."
ANALYSIS: Point well taken, George. Peeing blood is one of my favorite hobbies.
10:28 p.m. 1:25 left in Round 6
After Hopkins lands what appears to be a nice right-left-right combo, George gives one of his legendary "Whoooo!" shouts.
ANALYSIS: Not only did Daniels block all three punches, but later review of the videotape revealed that George was actually reacting to an uneaten cheeseburger that someone left in the row behind him.
10:28 p.m. 1:13 left in Round 6
George: "You don't want to follow a puncher around...and not move your head...or your feet!"
ANALYSIS: Folks, carefully re-read the above quote. How in the holy hell of a George Foreman medium-sized grill can you follow a puncher around WITHOUT moving your feet?" Anyone?
10:29 p.m. 1:07 left in Round 6
I'm as excited as a pig in s**t because George is on some roll, saying "This is where Hopkins is at his best, where you (the opponent) follow him a little bit, not doing anything."
ANALYSIS: Maybe it's the Cypress Hill, but further investigation into this comment becomes mind boggling.
So George, basically what you're saying is that Boxer A is at his best when Boxer B follows him around the ring, not actively throwing punches or doing anything? Why would that be George? MAYBE BECAUSE IF BOXER B ISN'T "DOING ANYTHING," IT ALSO MEANS HE IS NOT THROWING ANY PUNCHES, THEREFORE MAKING THE POSSIBLITY OF BOXER A GETTING HURT IN THE RING ZERO, ZILCH, NOTTA....
I'm out of breath.
10:31 p.m. Beginning of Round 7
Arthur Mercante Sr. says he has a shutout on his scorecard: 60-54 Hopkins through six rounds. George then adds, "Did someone say 60 cheeseburgers?"
Ladies and gentleman, I'll be playing The Flamingo every Friday for the next three months. Back to the program.
10:35 p.m. 2:03 left in Round 8
George: "That Daniels, he keeps his eyes, he keeps his eyes right on Hopkins, as though he's looking for SOMETHING."
ANALYSIS: Yes, good observation Georgie. That "something" is called a "knockout punch," an aggressive form of violence that most overmatched boxers look for from their superior opponents.
Someone get me a loaded gun and a Twinkie.
10:40 p.m. 1:54 left in Round 9
Hopkins stuns Daniels with several big lefts. Daniels is in deep trouble. The crowd goes wild. And for approximately one minute George doesn't say anything. Nothing. Not even a "Whoo!" While my ears are thrilled, the television critic in me is wondering if George even has a pulse right now.
10:46 p.m. Seconds before Round 10 begins
After an update from Jim Lampley in Miami, we come back to a shot of Daniels being consoled by his trainer, Tommy Brooks, who decided that Daniels could no longer continue. Twenty seconds later George says "It is a merciful decision."
ANALYSIS: Someone pass me the Kleenex...and puh-lease double check my gun to make sure it is indeed loaded.
10:56 p.m. Post-fight Wrap Up
After a great, yet comical 3-way interview between Merchant, Hopkins and Jones Jr. (via sattelite from Miami), Fran asks George if Hopkins is getting better with age. George, an expert on the matter, as is Michael Moorer, says, "Hopkins is getting better but you cannot compare Daniels with Roy Jones, Jr....or anyone else in the middleweight division right now...Oscar De la Hoya, Fernando Vargas...these guys, Daniels is not in the same class with them...not in the class ROOM at all. He (Hopkins) did a good job tonight. (Big smile) Hee hee hee."
ANALYSIS: I'm still trying to figure out what was so funny, as the camera slowly pans away from that freakish George smile and stare. Charles then turns to Merchant for his always entertaining end-of-fight comments - which, as usual, drag on longer than The Godfather I, II, and III...combined.
So, like sand through the hourglass, we are all simply little pieces of meat, getting the fat drained out of us, trying to survive until the next edition of "George Foreman Grilled."
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