Cesar Chavez bobs as NAFTA weaves

Phil Jackman

November 19, 1993|By Phil Jackman

The TV Repairman:

Flash! Julio Cesar Chavez's pay-per-view light-welterweight title defense against Andy Holligan Dec. 11 has been moved from Las Vegas to Pueblo, Mexico. See, Ross Perot was right.

* The wit and wisdom of Peter Vecsey, known far and wide as "The Insider" on NBC's telecasts of the NBA, has found new territory, the USA Today columnist picking up a show on ESPN Radio Sundays from 9-10 p.m. Just a couple more weekly assignments and he'll be close to matching Larry King's on-air hours.

* After all the toil and expense, it seems strange that ABC is dropping the New York City Marathon after a 13-year stand. It was extremely expensive covering the run through the five boroughs of the Big Apple, but no one ever insisted every nook and cranny of the race had to be recorded. Last Sunday's race did a 3.0 rating (2.9 million homes) and, with No. 25 coming up next year, race director Fred Lebow will be hustling to make sure it's on nationally.

* Notre Dame-Boston College on NBC (1:30 p.m.) and Michigan-Ohio State on ABC at noon and Miami-West Virginia at 3:30 p.m. Get the eyedrops ready and enjoy.

* The "Tuesday Night Fights" on USA next week has a goodie from the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia, where there's never a bad fight (the rabid fans won't allow it): Bernard Hopkins (23-2) vs. Wendall Hall (15-1).

Hopkins is the guy who came up just a little short in a bout against heralded Roy Jones on the Riddick Bowe-Jesse Ferguson title farce in Washington earlier this year.

Speaking of Ferguson, the fight no one is clamoring for, Jesse vs. Ray Mercer, is on pay-per-view tonight. The hook on this one is, when the two met last February, Mercer, in line for a lucrative fight against Bowe, allegedly offered Ferguson $100,000 to take a dive. Mercer was indicted and faces trial next month. Hey, that's the "sweet science," gang.

Incidentally, the fighters did all they could to sandbag the show, both failing to make an appearance at a final news conference Wednesday.

* It's quite obvious O.J. Simpson's reportorial skills are being wasted on NBC's Sunday pre-game pot-boiler "NFL Live." The Juice reminds many of a combination of Mike Wallace, Wolf Blitzer and Peter Arnett and here they've got him running around kissing up to quarterbacks hither and yon.

* Those streaking Washington Bullets, a .500 basketball team for the first time since Don Ohl and Kevin Loughery formed their backcourt, are on TNT tonight, taking on the Hornets in Charlotte at 8 p.m. Rex Chapman's the guy who looks like Humphrey Bogart's Earl "Mad Dog" Lloyd in the movie classic "High Sierra."

* Beginning with the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic tomorrow (Texas Tech vs. Vanderbilt, 12:30 p.m.) and Sunday (Tennessee vs. Ohio State, 1 p.m.), ESPN and ESPN2 will be doing 14 regular-season women's basketball games before March.

* ESPN2 is doing its version of last week's Notre Dame-Florida State colossus tomorrow, checking in at the Lafayette-Lehigh showdown at 1 p.m. A share of the Patriot League gonfalon goes to the victor and it doesn't get much better than that in Bethlehem, Pa.

. . . Unless it's the NCAA cross country championships on the campus next Monday at 11 a.m.

* Truthfully, hasn't the World Cup soccer tournament here next summer lost a lot of its zing now that the threat of the British hooliganism has passed with England already being eliminated from the competition? Maybe another country would be interested in these rent-a-thugs.

* Fight organizations and promoters everywhere breathed a deep sigh of relief the other day when Mike Tyson revealed from prison he'll return to the ring upon release in early 1995. "What else am I going to do, man, be a nuclear scientist?" he asked. Picture it, Don King lives his dream as Mike starts his comeback at halftime of the Super Bowl.

* What is it about guys who coach southern teams when they get in a big game, both college and pro? No sooner had a Florida State player launched a second field-width lateral on the same play and inside its own 10-yard line when thoughts of Jerry Glanville and the Houston Oilers sprang to mind.

Houston was visiting Denver in the opening round of the playoffs a few years ago when Glanville all but cemented defeat by having Warren Moon toss about a 20-yard lateral to Mike Rozier standing in his own end zone. The coach justified his play selection by pointing out, "We made 30 yards on that play in a game in September."

Understandably, Jerry's hanging on by his fingernails in Atlanta at the present time, a situation Bobby Bowden will never face despite the temporary lapse. Must be the water.

* It seems extremely unfair that the legendary Glenn "Pop" Warner isn't given credit for 22 college football coaching victories recorded by Iowa State in the 1890s due to the fact he wasn't at many of the games. If the same applied to all the wins the Orioles recorded after Earl Weaver had been thrown out of games, the fiery little field leader known as "Spunky" probably would have retired with a sub-.500 record.

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