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Larry Holmes is the guy who fragmented the heavyweight division in the first place, his flight to the IBF leading to three title claimants, and now, after wrestling with five nobodies during 1991, he thinks he deserves a shot at Evander Holyfield's heavyweight title.
Accompanying the Holmes-Ray Mercer pay-per-view bout in Atlantic City Friday are a couple of matches that will probably carry the show: Doug DeWitt vs. Tyrone Frazier and Todd Foster vs. Jimmy Paul.
* Easy to figure. Not only has Cal Ripken played a zillion straight baseball games (actually, 1,573), he also leads all major leaguers in number of Pepsi All-Star Softball Games played (nine). Don't look for the NBC show locally, though, because Channel 2 will be hooping them up. Washington's Channel 4 will carry the benefit show at 4 p.m. Saturday.
* They asked the ladies playing the Australian Open to name the top movie of 1991 and two selected "Naked Gun 2-1/2." . . . A win over Lori McNeil (21) and a few others Down Under should elevate Pam Shriver into the top 35 on the Virginia Slims computer.
While on tennis, and doesn't it seem empty with no indoor tourney in Washington anymore, Michael Stich is the latest name into the U.S. Pro Indoor in Philadelphia going Feb. 17-23. The German won four titles last year, ironically, on four different surfaces: clay, carpet, cement and hallowed (Wimbledon). He joins Pete Sampras, Michael Chang and David Wheaton. Tickets for the Spectrum event can be had by calling Ticketmaster or (215) 922-0197.
* Naturally, there's talk of a dynasty abuild down the road at RFK Stadium, which prompts recall of Paul Hornung's reply when he was asked if the Giants had the makings of a dynasty some time back. "When they win five championships in seven years, then come talk to me," the former Packers halfback instructed.
* If Australians aren't the best when it comes to sportsmanship, they're an awfully close second. Which makes it very tough to explain how Kerry Packer can show up at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am as Greg Norman's partner and, with a 16-handicap, register net birdies on more than half the holes of the 72-hole tourney.
* Signing autographs at a big baseball card show in Greenbelt the other day was that legendary keystone combination of Dimitri Khristich and Peter Bondra (wingers for the Washington Capitals).
* Don't forget, it's mayhem, chaos and all that other good stuff at the Wrestling Independent Network show at Martin's North Point Friday night. A co-feature on the card is Misty Blue and Linda Dallas going at it for the NWA women's title. The ticket number is 732-0440.
Add rassling: Larry Katz's "Pro Wrestling Talk" returns to WITH Sunday evenings at 7 and already the lines are lighting up over there.
* The $150,000 Fair Lanes Open, second oldest stop on the PBA Tour, gets under way Feb. 16 in Woodlawn with youth and adult pro-ams. Back to compete are the defending champ, Pete Weber, and the gent who tossed the infamous gutter ball (on national TV, no less), Del Ballard.
* Considering how things have gone on the academy hardwood the last few seasons, it's invigorating to remember Navy had the winningest team (109-9) in the first full decade of college hoops (1910-19).
* Who does Calvin Murphy think he is, saying he no longer wants to be considered for the Basketball Hall of Fame, Bobby Knight? Remember, the Indiana coach pulled the same thing when he wasn't swept in by acclimation when first considered . . . %J Meanwhile, Al McGuire gets elected when he frankly admits (to USA Today) he wasn't "dedicated to day-to-day coaching," leaving such trivialities to his assistants.
* Superior efforts in Stuttgart, Germany, last weekend suggest the Millrose Games Friday and the Mobil 1 Meet at George Mason Sunday should produce some hellacious performances. Andre Cason ran one-tenth of a second off his world mark of 6.46 in the 60 meters, Danny Everett had a best-ever in the 400 (45.02) and Johnny Gray did an American record 800 in 1:45.08.
Still tracking: Mike Powell, entered in the Millrose and looking to jump 28 feet through the Madison Square Garden cigar smoke, saying he won't be satisfied with anything less than a gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics is patently ridiculous. He's the reigning world champ and now has the top mark of all time, sure, but still he's only 1-15 lifetime vs. Carl Lewis.
* The organizer of Gay Games IV, set for New York City in 1994, predicts it will be the biggest event of the year, larger than the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.
* Poor Pittsburgh. It wept as Bobby Bonilla took off for New York to accept $30 million from the Mets, is paying Barry Bonds $4.7 million for this season and may have to fork over $16 million more to players if things go unfavorably in the upcoming arbitrary hearings.