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franklin county times

Tyson, Lewis may not live up to hype

By By Stan Torgerson / guest columnist
June 6, 2002
Forgive me but I need a few minutes to plan my upcoming Saturday.
Sleep late, have a good breakfast and go to the grocery store for my wife. There must be a golf tournament on television in the afternoon. Even with Ken Venturi retired, I'll watch it.
The Belmont is Saturday. War Emblem has a chance to be a triple crown winner. Can't miss that.
What to do in the evening? Rent a movie? Go out for dinner? Read a book? Watch Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis? Lewis and Tyson. You've got to be kidding.
Yes, I know. The Silver Star is showing the fight on a big screen. I'm sorry but I go to the casino for entertainment, not to be bored to death.
Somebody in town is probably squandering $54.95 to pipe it into their home for himself and a group of nothing-else-to-do buddies. Don't call me. This is the greatest con job since Robert Redford and Paul Newman did The Sting.
You have Lennox Lewis, an Englishman who dances around the ring like a cha-cha dancer reacts to Latin music. A guy who is so popular and beloved in his own country that the promoters had to take back the 3,500 tickets they sent to England because only a few of his alleged admirers were willing to travel to barbecue heaven to sample the product of a couple of hams.
On the other side is Mike Tyson, a sociopath whose elevator doesn't go to the top floor, who twice played Dracula and bit an opponent, tried to break another one's arm, banged another after the bell, popped still another after the fight, hit a referee and beat up a promoter.
And Memphis thinks it is making history and giving fans what they want by issuing Tyson and Lewis a license to make $40 or $50 million between them. Oh well, at least it will keep them off welfare. Come to think about, it at these prices it may put you on it.
You've got to admire the staging. Hollywood couldn't do it better. Lewis and Tyson will be weighed in separately. That's necessary to keep them out of harms way of each other, of course, because you don't get paid for fighting at weigh ins and they are just dying to get at each other. Cute, huh?
Then there's the well-publicized contract clause that if either one is disqualified on an extraordinary foul he will forfeit $3 million. Don't be naughty Mike, or it will cost you.
Let's not forget the entrance grande. The Memphis police plan to have them enter from opposite directions as the bluecoats form a file down the middle of the ring which, of course, is designed to keep these two animals apart until the cage is unlocked. What a touch. Does Star Wars or Spiderman have anything that's more exciting than that? Even the referee was selected for his stage presence. Eddie Cotton is 6-foot-5, because big lion tamers are better than small lion tamers. Eddie, don't forget your whip.
They will glare, grunt, threaten and the crowd will buy it all because fight crowds always do. No group of sports fans have been had more often than those who for some strange reason love boxing and believe that wrestling is a fake, but every fight is on the up and up.
Do you find all of this scary? Let me tell you the scariest part. There are two, actually. First, the lesser of the twin evils. One or the other will knock the other man out in the first, second or third round and the people who succumbed to the hype and paid the big bucks will find they have been had by a couple of flim-flam boxers once again.
But even worse, the fight will end as a result of a foul, or perhaps Tyson's teeth, rather than his fists, will decide the outcome or they will lumber through a dull boring evening that will end with a disputed verdict to be followed by calls for "Rematch, Rematch, Rematch." Whereupon the promoters will agree that they can fool the people one more time, leading to an announcement that the public has demanded a rematch and we'll have to go through boxing's version of Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey all over again.
What's the old saying, "Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." I wonder what's on the Cartoon Network Saturday night?

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