Look out, Lennox: Tony's now a tiger

Phil Jackman

April 22, 1993|By Phil Jackman

Reading Time: Two Minutes.

Tony Tucker, the talented but seemingly unmotivated challenger for Lennox Lewis' WBC heavyweight title May 8, says he's confident he'll prevail because for the first time in years his life is in order: "I've got no injuries, I'm good financially and me and my wife are about to have a baby."

Tucker has always had skill, but co-trainer Stacy McKinley says the key to his man these days is "Tony's a lot more aggressive. Lewis is a very good fighter, but he makes a lot of amateurish mistakes. He has very bad balance, he reaches with too many of his punches and he hasn't learned how to fight defensively while attacking at the same time."

Speaking of boxing, the Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y., is expecting Artie Donovan to be on hand in June to take part in his late father's induction into the hall. Arthur Donovan Sr. is the first referee to gain induction. If Artie gets rolling with the stories, upstate New York may never be the same.

* Teams in the NHL battle all season to gain home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Thing is, it's not that big a deal as proven (somewhat) by the visitors making off with a half-dozen victories in the first 16 games played. The home win percentage in the league, excluding expansion teams for obvious reason, is only .539 and 11 of the 16 teams involved in postseason play had winning road records.

Meanwhile, in the NBA, homecourt is far more important since it's a 60-40 proposition as far as the home team is concerned.

* According to its name, "The Wit and Wisdom of George Steinbrenner," it should be one of the shortest books ever written. Still, author Frank Coffey has filled more than 200 pages with classic utterances by The Boss, including George telling union leaders during negotiations with his ship-building company, "I don't know about you boys, but I'll be eating three meals a day."

* On Boston Marathon Day Monday, Ron Hill checked in from England with an update. The father of the late Maryland Marathon reports he recently had a foot operation, but he's jogging a mile a day in a soft cast and just passed 125,000 miles and 200,000 kilometers while getting a daily run for 10,000 straight days (29 years). "I figured out I've run halfway to the moon," said the wee Brit, "but I don't think I'm going to make it all the way."

* The fight game lost a great one the other day when Harry Blaustein checked out at age 92. "Heinie" had a unique approach while training boxers over six decades: He leveled with them, often in brutally frank language. Besides a half-dozen champs, he worked with kids short on talent and never gave it anything but his best.

* Please, Association of Tennis Professionals, don't go around acting as if tennis started with the introduction of your computer-generated tour rankings in 1973. During the last 20 years, 11 players have made it to the No. 1 spot, including the latest, Pete Sampras, but to brush aside the exploits of giants like Rod Laver, Pancho Gonzales, Jack Kramer, Lew Hoad, Don Budge, etc. does the game a disservice.

* For close to 20 years, he was the Boston Marathon, the blond wearing the white gloves ready to take on all challengers, foreign and domestic. That's why it was strange (unforgiveable?) the other day that more wasn't made of the recent retirement from marathoning by Bill Rodgers, local boy who made good. Four victories "Boston Billy" rang up between 1975 and 1980 and they were against the best the world had to offer.

* Golfers are beginning to pile in for the Kemper Open at TPC Avenel May 17-23 with perhaps no name being bigger these days than John Daly's. Last year, Daly was second behind Bill Glasson, who returns.

* On the same day it was revealed Mike Krzyzewski was taking his Duke basketball players out of adidas shoes and putting them into Nikes (at a personal benefit of millions), a picture in the newspapers showed a woman hot-footing it through "Sniper Alley" in the city of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. She was wearing adidas, which has to be the greatest endorsement for a running shoe never thought up.

* Considering someone can pick up a cash cow like the Orioles for about $140 million and lay claim to the greatest stadium lease arrangement ever, why would scores of people be interested in an NFL expansion franchise going for $175 million (minimum), plus start-up costs, plus an annual payroll in the $30 million range, even when the salary cap arrives?

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