* A fight that probably shouldn't be -- actually, there's no probably about it -- is being served up on TVKO (pay-per-view) tonight at 10. Iran Barkley is seeking Darrin Van Horn's IBF 168-pound title and, in the last couple of years, Iran has had two operations to reattach his left retina, plus cataract surgery. With 20/400 vision in his left eye, he was getting bombed by right
hands he couldn't see. His vision is still only 20/100 and he's taken far too many whacks from strong punches lately, but still got the OK from the New York Athletic Commission.
* You think you got problems? Consider CBS, which doled out nearly $250 million for broadcast rights to the Winter Olympics in France next month. The net doesn't have much time to get the viewing audience involved with the athletes competing in less than showcase sports. Much of the country never really gets around to thinking about winter sports, and people who do are also wrapped up in all the professional sports that seem to run year 'round.
* Tomorrow, at 3 p.m., CBS has women's skiing and the U.S. biathlon trials. Quick, what's the biathlon entail? Both are taped and going against bowling (ABC), college hoops (both network and syndicate) and, at 3:30, NBC sends along Hula Bowl all-star football.
* Quickie Hula Bowl yarn: Former Oklahoma quarterback and Baltimore Colts defensive back Jack Mildren tells of the time he played in Hawaii in 1972. It was halftime and there was no water in the locker room, so the lads broke open bottles of the sponsor's brew, Primo Beer. "We had a beer or two apiece and the second half turned into the most fun I've ever had on a football field."
* In the spirit of ecumenism, no doubt, ABC does CBS a huge favor by blanketing the U.S. Figure Skating Championships with two shows tomorrow, 4:30 p.m. and the women's singles final in prime time at 9, then the men's final at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
* NBC is nothing is it's not super loyal -- to Notre Dame at least. The net will be on hand tomorrow (1:30 p.m.) when North `D Carolina puts the crunch on a weak Irish team at Madison Square Garden. CBS has the Georgetown-Seton Hall game at 1 if you're interested in the roughhouse Big Ugly (East) Conference while Channels 45 and 7 check in with a goodie, Georgia Tech vs. Duke, at 1:30.
* If there's a more resilient and resourceful announcer in the TV business than Jay Randolph, a guy who will go anywhere and broadcast anything, it's probably Jim Simpson. TNT just latched onto the ex-Orioles TV voice, to join Peter Carruthers in the booth for figure skating at the Winter Olympics next month.
* Boxing fans, take note! The only good fight Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran had against each other, the first in Montreal in 1980, plays ESPN Sunday at 4 p.m. Score it and see if you agree with the close decision handed to Duran.
* The Skipjacks get a look playing Rochester on Home Team Sports Sunday night (8) going opposite the parent Washington Capitals game in Chicago on Channel 20, beginning at 8:30. Wild horses couldn't drag the outcome of the Jacks-Amerks game Jan. 3 out of me.
* Kids taking Spanish in school, here's your chance to see how well you're doing. The CBS Hispanic Radio Network, which encompasses 20 stations and hits 70 percent of the nation, will be doing both NFL conference title games Sunday. It's a "primero aterrizaje" when a team moves the chains.
* Channel 13 to the rescue of area bowling fans. WJZ will send along all 16 stops on the Pro Bowlers tour, beginning with the lid-lifter in California tomorrow at 3 p.m., Chris Schenkel beginning his 31st year telling us about all the nice folks in Skunk Hollow, Neb. Fear and frustration has swept Washington all week because Channel 7 carries an ACC hoops package Saturdays.
* The ESPN Radio Network is off and whacking out sports talk and news Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Sundays from 7-9 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. No Baltimore station has signed on yet, but three Washington stations are aboard: WMAL, WPTX and WCBL.
* Now that ABC is done doing games, Dan Dierdorf gets forthright, saying, "I don't see compelling games this weekend," referring to the Redskins-Lions and Bills-Broncos matchups on CBS and NBC, respectively. We all know there's no such thing as a compelling game unless Dan's there philosophizing.
* What next, a visit with the boys down at the local pool hall? An all-sports station in Oklahoma City does a show from a gym with the host grunting through a workout simultaneously: "We'll be back after this series of 250-pound squats."
* You know it's time to take a break away from the 2 1/2 hours Coach's Corner shows HTS runs weekday afternoons (4-6:30) when you begin mixing up the words of Lefty Driesell and Dean Smith: "Wellllll, you know I know. . ."
* Recently, I suggested that if a $1 million tennis tournament in Philadelphia next month didn't do well at the gate, subscribers of the sponsoring Comcast Cable System might eventually have to pick up the tab in their monthly bills. It should have been made clear that it was Philadelphia Comcast sponsoring the event, not all Comcast systems, like the one serving Baltimore County.
* That "Inside Edition" scoop on what steroidal evil lurks in the Mary Poppins world of the World Wrestling Federation last week was weak. I mean, come on, guys, did you think anybody past the age of reason didn't at least suspect that Hulk Hogan and his fellow behemoths didn't get those muscles by wishing them there. Of course, the whole WWF thing is a scourge on mankind, especially kidkind.