Magazine article The Spectator

Shame Is the Name

Magazine article The Spectator

Shame Is the Name

Article excerpt

I PICKED up the papers on Monday morning to learn that boxing had been 'shamed'. This was not the first time I had read such a thing. Perhaps, I mused, the words 'Boxing's night of shame' should be set up as a ,stock block'. But you would have needed to use it twice on Monday morning. Boxing had a night of shame on Saturday and then it got up, dusted itself down and had another night of shame on Sunday.

The first involved that objectionable little eejit, 'Prince' Naseem. In a bout against Cesar Soto, Naseem changed disciplines and performed a wrestling throw, body-slamming his opponent to the canvas, winding him and leaving him disorientated by the fall and the unorthodox nature of the assault.

In my view, Naseem violated the rules of boxing. If a tougher referee had been in charge, he would have been disqualified. However, the matter was glossed over and the big money circus rolls on. Next big boxoffice event scheduled for February.

The following night Mike Tyson was at it again. It was a surprisingly commonplace infringement this time; Tyson seems to have lost something of his gift for originality. His most famous crime committed in the boxing ring was, of course, his double biting of the ears of Evander Holyfield. In his previous fight he had seized his opponent in an arm-lock and, according to the aggrieved Franqois Botha, attempted to break his arm.

This time Tyson fell back on clich6 for once and whacked his opponent, Orlin Norris, after the bell had gone. The punch was a beauty, one that recalled the young Tyson at his most ferocious. But it was late and deliberate and, some said, looked like the action of a man beyond his own control. …

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