- Lifestyle & Sports
- 19 Apr 01
I suppose that Foul Play could have called Sky Sports and paid to view the Mike Tyson v Evander Holyfield fight.
I suppose that Foul Play could have called Sky Sports and paid to view the Mike Tyson v Evander Holyfield fight. He could have watched the whole of the serf-styled Judgement Night, to check on the progress of Henry Akinwande, a subject that is rarely far from his thoughts. But he didn’t.
And you know why?
Because Eric Hall, the flamboyant soccer agent, would almost certainly have made that call as well. And Foul Play is obliged not to do anything that Eric Hall, or the mates of Eric Hall, might do.
The fact that Tyson fights have a tendency to last for 18 seconds was but a minor consideration. It was more important to draw a line in the sand and decline to further enrich men such as Don King.
Because he’s a sick motherfucker, that’s why.
Mind you, Don King is not a very happy camper in the wake of Tyson’s collapse against the aged Holyfield.
He no longer owns the rights to everything that moves in the murky world of pugilism, and that must be a good thing.
Holyfield won for the simple reason that he was not afraid of The Ogre. He is not afraid of anything – and what’s more, drives everyone mad by attributing every aspect of his success to God.
He was almost beaten up by reporters who tried for ages to get him to talk about boxing, when all he wanted to talk about was God.
Tyson’s previous opponent had been Bruce Seldon, apparently a liberal humanist, who did himself the favour of taking a dive with the opening bell still echoing around the auditorium.
He was severely criticised for nothing more than the entirely rational decision to get the fuck out of there before Tyson beat him senseless. Terror in the face of Mike Tyson is a wholly understandable emotion, but the sleazeballs gathered ringside gave Seldon a bollocking anyway.
Foul Play was at least comforted by the fact that he did not have to pay extra to Don King and to Rupert Murdoch to witness this debacle.
Little did we know that the boy Evander had been driven so crazy by God, he knew no fear. And that still in this parlous condition, he will probably continue until his elderly constitution is ruined by a fresh challenger – by which time Don King will have conned his way back to the summit.
The first part of Judgement Night, the part enacted at the Nynex Arena in Manchester, was available to Foul Play on the regular Sky Sports service, hyped for weeks as though we were about to witness a mixture of the Big Bang and Armageddon.
Steve Collins and Nigel “Dark Destroyer” Benn, set about one another once more, until Benn had had enough and wisely so. Come in Dark Destroyer, your time is up.
For the first time, Foul Play was genuinely impressed by Collins, perhaps because he had ignored the build-up to the fight, and thus missed Steve talking shite at Press Conferences, wearing tweed suits, or brandishing a shillelagh.
Collins is in some ways similar to Eamonn Coughlan. He has missed out on the everlasting love we harbour on our sporting greats, for reasons which can probably be encapsulated in one word: America.
Both Collins and Coughlan imbibed a bit too heavily of the American way, with all that stuff about being “focused”, and a certain stony-faced resolve which translates as Ego. It is necessary for people in their position to have Ego, and lots of it, but if they want to be loved, they are better off being discreet about it.
Collins, stripped of the cosmic bolloxology represented by Tony Quinn, is actually a remarkable fighter.
At the Nynex Arena, he looked indestructible. It was clear to Benn, and particularly to Benn’s corner, that they would be getting no joy out of Collins on this night.
They faced another six rounds of Benn getting weaker, frustrated by his utter inability to wear Collins down.
And Collins, ironically, does not possess a big punch.
The diminutive Prince Nasseem Hamed, who has bundles of Ego but who also has charisma, probably has a better punch than the Celtic Warrior – as he’s a whole lot lighter and smaller.
But the Naz Fella’s defences are vulnerable in a way that Collins is not. Just before the fight, the cameras stayed on Collins for a few revealing seconds, as he squared up to Benn. He looked very, very, mean, extremely crude, like a navvy about to exact some terrible revenge.
He got where he is today, not through the dubious hype of transcendental meditation or the like, but through an awesome ability to take whatever violence is coming his way, and to stay standing, coming forward again whenever his opponent is sure that he’s nailed him.
He is the ultimate Bruiser, not a Buddha – whatever he and Tony Quinn might have said and done along the way.
The fact remains that he is still semi-detached from the public affections. His style is not pretty, nor is his ill-conceived persona.
But there’s hardly anyone out there who is confident of beating him. Only the likes of Don King can take it away from him now.
- Lifestyle & Sports
- 11 Jan 18