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Bruno on Boxing
News Item: HBO feeds Felix Trinidad a French pastry and its
Right before HBO’s Saturday night telecast of
the Felix Trinidad-Mamadou Thiam junior middleweight title fight,
HBO showcased a movie called “Chain of Command.” Roy Scheider
played the President of the United States and his favorite line,
which he used twice in the movie, once right before he croaked,
was “I may be a lot of things, but I’m not stupid.”
Well HBO, your viewing audience may be a lot of
things too, but for the most part, stupid isn’t one of them
After years of skirmishes reminiscent of the
Hatfield’s and the McCoys, HBO and Don King have again entered
into an unholy marriage made in hell. A decade ago, HBO’s head
honcho Seth “The Shrimp” Abraham and King were all lovey dovey
until King took Abraham to the cleaners for a dry clean and burn
of Abraham’s cash. Lou DiBella took over HBO’s boxing
department, and Lou immediately put King in his place, which
was far outside HBO’s viewing domain. DiBella was so disdainful
of King and his tactics, he put a prison picture of King on his
office wall, the kind you see in most post offices, to remind him
and King of King’s past behavioral patterns. Imagine trying to
do business with a man who has your picture on his office wall
with you holding little numbers across your chest,
identifying you during your all-expenses paid vacation at
the government’s expense. This might tend to make your
bargaining posture a little bent-over forwards, head facing the
other way, don’t you think?.
Last month DiBella resigned, and Kery Davis is
now in charge of HBO boxing. Suddenly King, who is the
promoter/manager of WBA junior middleweight champ Felix Trinidad,
is back in the HBO picture. So much so, the entire Saturday night
HBO boxing telecast was dedicated to making Trinidad look like the
best fighter since Sugar Ray, and I don’t mean Leonard.
The pre-fight hype on the tube showed repeated
clips of Trinidad chasing Oscar De la Hoya across the ring. A
person who didn’t see the Trinidad-De la Hoya fight would never
imagine that Oscar won eight and maybe nine rounds of that fight.
In fact, Oscar won every round against Trinidad that Oscar was
trying to win. Only in the past three rounds when Oscar was so far
ahead only a knockout by Trinidad, or a fixing of the judges by
King, would give Trinidad the fight, did Oscar start backpedaling
and stop punching.
Then we were fed a WBA title fight of Trinidad
versus Frenchman Thiam that so one-sided, the fight, for all
practical purposes, was over the first time Trinidad landed a
punch. That punch was a first round left uppercut that blew up
Thiam’s right eye the size of the Eiffel Tower. After that it
was target practice for Trinidad until Thiam wisely turned his
back on Trinidad, allowing referee Jorge Alonso to stop the fight
at 2:48 of the third round.
The question that begs to be asked is how an
incompetent like Thiam got a tight fight on American TV in the
first place. His 34-1 record was built up almost entirely in
France, a country not known for it’s warlike inclinations,
against names like Robert Muhammad, Orhan Delibas and
Valentino Manca. Rudolph Valentino, and even the designer
Valentino probably fought better fighters.
So after the fight we saw Larry Merchant
interviewing Trinidad in center ring, with Don King in the
background, smiling like a German cat who just ate a French
canary, yelling over Merchant’s voice “Viva La Puerto Rico.”
Just makes you want to puke.
The same picture of prison-dog King that
DiBella had on his office wall was on my office wall in New York
City twenty years ago. I lost the picture in transit when I moved
to Florida five years ago. Anyone that has this picture,
please make me a copy. I’d pay big bucks for the pleasure of
again seeing King the way he really is, and the way he always will
be, with numbers across his chest not indicating the winner of the
local state lottery.
That would be truth in advertising indeed.