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September 22, 2000|LARRY STEWART

What: "The 12 Greatest Rounds of the 20th Century"

Where: Showtime, Sunday, 4:30 p.m.

In June, the "Fight Doctor," Ferdie Pacheco, announced during the Showtime telecast of the Andrew Golota-Orlin Norris fight that he was stepping down as a boxing analyst. "My life is getting complicated by upcoming projects that demand my time," Pacheco said, ending a career that began in 1977 with NBC after a 15-year stint as Muhammad Ali's doctor.

This 90-minute special, which first aired on Showtime on Sept. 10, is one of the projects Pacheco was talking about.

The concept is a good one. Pacheco picked his top 12 rounds in boxing history and each is examined in-depth. The problem is, there is too much of Pacheco and friends as talking heads. He teams with a number of guest commentators, beginning with author Roger Kahn, and including trainers Angelo Dundee, Emanuel Steward, Teddy Atlas and Lou Duva, two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee Tom Hauser and former referee Mills Lane. Not that each doesn't offer worthwhile comments, but time could have been better allotted by simply having a narrator describe the footage, which overall is very good. The rounds, in chronological order:

(1) "The Massacre," Jack Dempsey vs. Jess Willard, 1919, Round 1

(2) "The Long Count," Dempsey vs. Gene Tunney, 1927, Round 7

(3) "The Revenge," Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, 1938, Round 1

(4) "Conn's Gamble," Louis vs. Billy Conn, 1941, Round 13

(5) "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre," Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Jake LaMotta, 1951, Round 13

(6) "The Punch," Rocky Marciano vs. Jersey Joe Walcott, 1952, Round 13

(7) "The Blind Round," Cassius Clay vs. Sonny Liston, 1964, Round 4

(8) "The Phantom Punch," Muhammad Ali vs. Liston, 1965, Round 1

(9) "The Rumble in the Jungle," Ali vs. George Foreman, 1974, Round 8

(10) "The Thrilla in Manila," Ali vs. Joe Frazier, 1975, Round 14

(11) "The Comeback Kid," Thomas Hearns vs. Sugar Ray Leonard, 1981, Round 14

(12) "War," Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs. Hearns,

1985, Round 1

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