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Big East Hoping for Better Days in Future

December 22, 1990|JOE GERGEN | NEWSDAY

An extraordinary gathering of boxers took place Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, which used to be synonymous with the sport but lately has been inactive as a fight club. Alas, heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, former titleholder Mike Tyson and the ever-popular Sugar Ray Leonard were attending a basketball game between the Knicks and Lakers. Of the three, only Leonard has the Garden in his plans, another comeback bout in February. He underscored his lack of familiarity with basketball by clanking three free throws off the front rim in a shoot for charity during an early timeout.

Holyfield and Tyson both were in town to promote the agreements signed by their promoters with cable outfits planning to establish rival pay-per-view networks. Holyfield will lead off with George Foreman in April in what shapes up as a fine example of mass entertainment. Tyson will have a go with Razor Ruddock, whom he previously avoided under mysterious circumstances, in March.

The latter is a curious choice for a man in position to challenge the winner of Holyfield-Foreman for mega-millions. Apparently, Tyson has convinced himself he is once again invincible after dismantling Alex Stewart two weeks ago. And Don King has not been moved to dissuade him, even if there is no title at stake and the payoff will be what the promoter calls "chump change." Either way, King stays in the game.

Tying up loose ends -- For what it's worth, New York Jets' kicker Pat Leahy deserves a place in the Pro Bowl before he's done, Ernie Harwell can broadcast baseball to me as long as he has a pulse and the Boston Red Sox must be using the same printing plant as the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs for their free-agent money. Also, it's nice to know the World League of American Football is going to be so innovative in its first season next spring, but does anyone out out there remember the World Football League's major contribution to the 1970s, the Dicker Ro, which was used to measure first downs?

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