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Irish Lines Can Cause Smiling

Morning Briefing

June 29, 1988

Lou Holtz, speaking at the convention of Associated Press Sports Editors in St. Louis, said: "I can guarantee you that Notre Dame will win the national championship. I can't guarantee you when or who will be coaching at the time."

Of the Heisman Trophy, he said: "I always dreamed of winning one. And if I had, it would have been something really out of the ordinary, since I would have been the only winner ever from Kent State and the only second stringer."

Add Holtz: Speaking of one-liners, he said: "One of my all-time favorites was when I was an assistant under Woody Hayes at Ohio State and we went to the West Coast for the Rose Bowl and Woody didn't trust the West Coast press, so he wouldn't talk to West Coast writers. Jim Murray wrote that it didn't matter, anyway, because Woody was probably too busy out walking his pet rat."

Said a Times sports department staffer when Michael Spinks was counted out at 1:31 Monday night: "Leon could have done better."

Not really. A month ago in Trumbull, Conn., somebody named Tony Morrison turned out Leon's lights in 33 seconds of the first round.

The worst prediction on the fight? Former middleweight Rocky Graziano said: "I can see a big upset. Spinks can stick and move and take a hell of a punch. He'll psych out Tyson, then knock the hell out of him."

Billy Crystal also picked Spinks but added, "I also voted for McGovern and Mondale."

In case you wondered, Floyd Patterson was counted out at 2:06 and 2:10 in his first-round losses to Sonny Liston.

When they asked USC Coach John McKay what he'd thought of the first one, he said: "I thought it would never end."

Promoter Don King, on manager Bill Cayton, whom he has accused of victimizing Mike Tyson: "He has 17 variations of a deathbed confession to Cus D'Amato. You're dealing with the cult of the dead when you deal with Bill. Know what you need here? You need Ghostbusters."

Trivia Time: Before Mike Tyson, who was the last undisputed heavyweight champion? (Answer below.)

HBO producer Ross Greenburg, discussing Sugar Ray Leonard's role before the fight, said: "Ray will get in some quick flurries and then get out. People stop listening to Ray if he doesn't pick his spots."

Tyson solved that problem.

Dan Hampton, after a tour of Sweden where the Chicago Bears will play the Minnesota Vikings in an exhibition game in August, said he was captivated by the country but not the cuisine.

His wife Terry told the Chicago Tribune: "No way he could eat all that fish. He finally said, 'I need something that moos or oinks.' "

From Cleveland Indians reliever Doug Jones, not noted for his velocity: "My father once told me the harder you throw it, the less time you have to duck."

NBC boxing analyst Ferdie Pacheco, on the difference between professional and amateur cornermen: "Amateur cornermen speak quietly and more grammatically correct."

Trivia Answer: Leon Spinks.

Quotebook

Mike Littwin of the Baltimore Sun, dismissing Frank Bruno, Carl (the Truth) Williams and Henry Tillman as credible challengers to Mike Tyson: "Sly Stallone's the only one I can figure, and only if he gets script rights."

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