|March 13, 1999 - New
York, New York, Madison Square Garden.
It was not the first time; it will not be the
last. The title read, (12-round heavyweight unification fight) Evander
Holyfield (WBA & IBF champ) vs. Lennox Lewis (WBC champ). Muhammad Ali one
of the greatest fighters in modern day boxing history summed it up this way,
"The biggest fix in fight history." The former three-time heavyweight boxing
champion of the world added more. "What occurred once the 12-round event
concluded will surely go down in boxing annals as the biggest fix in fight
history." Okay champ, Lewis got hit with the "Doublecross" but he is simply
one member or victim that has become all too common over many decades.
Professional boxing has enjoyed worldwide
popularity in spite of, dives, tanks, butting and biting, blows below the
belt, mismatches, gloves loaded with lead, and 3 blind mice. On the evening
of the fight I received a call from a longtime friend who knows the racket
inside and out. "Which way you heading Frank?"
"Sideways, Lewis has a good shot, but I’m not
sure what shape he’s in." "How are things in Sin City?" "Nothing has really
changed; lots more rooms, bright lights, and the suckers keep on coming."
"What’s your take on the fight?" "I agree with you, but Lewis does have a
good shot up against an undersized heavyweight." "Forget about their
conditioning -the right side is Holyfield!" "Don’t get trapped, there is a
good flow of unnatural money coming in on Holyfield that I would respect."
"Sounds to me like your down, or about to be." "Just thought I would say
hello and steer you clear of a possible trap." "Which way are the Wise Guys
going." "There was a good run on Lewis, but that money has dried up." Okay,
appreciate the tip, but I’m going to pass." "Good luck, hope you cash in;
stay in touch. I will be rooting for you.
"It is a draw. Judge Stanley Christoudoulou
scored the bout 116-113 for the WBC Champion Lennox Lewis, Eugenia Williams
scored 115-113 for the IBF and WBA titleholder EVANDER HOLYFIELD, and judge
Larry O’Connell Called it a draw. Now that takes BALLS, HUGE BALLS, BALLS OF
Pay Per View racked up 1.2 million hits at
$49.95 some paid more. Wonder if you can charge back?
Back to the scorecards, that was one hell of
"Coup." A New York grand jury is taking a closer look. Maybe Eugenia
Williams and Larry O’Connell should have been provided with INSTANT REPLAY.
I thought I had seen it all, but this one
heads to the top of my list, or at least very close. When Lewis raised
his gloves in victory style at the end of round 12, little did he know
that he was most fortunate to wind up with a draw? Had he not won round
12 on all three cards, he would have blown the fight and headed back to
the U.K. without much leverage.
They have scheduled a rematch to take place
around September; the site has not yet been determined. Looking down the
road, pay-per view will increase its audience and may even price the fight
higher. Holyfield will need to be in the best shape of his career to win
this one. If he is not, look for a knockout from the much younger and
stronger Brit. I tip my hat to the ringmasters; they call the shots, and if
you are foolish enough to wager on the outcome of boxing matches I would
invite you to bet the ranch on your weekly lottery.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been trapped several
times over the years and have been accused of setting a few traps. They
taught me never to holler "copper" when you’re locked into the "wrong side."
Gambling is not meant for the faint hearted or the idealist. Just look at
the marvelous new additions that have become Las Vegas. The public paves the
way, while the owners stash it away. Back to Holyfield, Lewis match. I have
not read or spoken to anyone that scored the fight who did not believe that
Lewis won handily in a breeze.
When seldom heard MUHAMMAD ALI lashes out in
the manner mentioned above, one would be inclined to take special notice.
Boxing promoter tycoon Don King is a prince of a fellow who knows the fight
game quite well. He too should be looking into a decision that appalled the
entire sporting world. The game has been good to him, very good. They train
fighters to defend against a right cross and a left cross. Nobody can defend
or neutralize the doublecross.
It has been said that you can buy or sell
just about anything you’re looking for in the big apple. If you had any
doubts prior to now it would be time to come to grips that maybe their
right. Some might say, no harm, no foul. Lewis is primed for the biggest
payday of his career. It should be interesting, I will be looking forward to
hearing from my good boxing buddy, and this time I’m going to take his
advice. Sorry about not having delivered a "special look" at one of Las
Vegas well-known shakers and movers, the publisher requested that we put
that one on the back burner until May.