Which heavyweight packs a punch like no other? Klitschko's The Man

December 19, 2004|By PETER SCHMUCK

HERE WE GO again.

Remember how hard we worked to settle the "Who's The Man?" controversy in the Ravens' organization in August? Now, the same argument is bubbling up in boxing's heavyweight division.

No. 1 contender Hasim Rahman brought up the subject in an interview recently about a pending mandatory title shot against reigning WBC champion Vitali Klitschko this spring.

"I think that a fight between us can be a sort of truth serum for me and for him to find out who The Man is," Rahman said.

Frankly, I thought Rahman found out who The Man was after he publicly questioned the manliness of Lennox Lewis going into their title rematch a few years ago in Las Vegas - a fight that featured the scariest head shot I've ever seen in person (unless you count the 8-by-10 in Bruce Cunningham's press packet).

Lewis, however, retired and no longer lays claim to being The Man, so it pretty much comes down to Klitschko, Rahman or Chris Byrd. I was hoping that Mike Tyson would come back to enliven the heavyweight ranks, but he's too busy fighting his personal demons - and the occasional Chrysler - to re-emerge as a serious contender.

I suppose someone also could throw in plodding WBA champ John Ruiz, who is owed a huge debt of gratitude by the newly democratized heavyweight division for proving that anyone, regardless of boxing skill, can grow up to be heavyweight champion if he's affiliated with Don King.

OK, OK, everybody knows that King is really The Man, and he gave me a gym bag full of cash to say so, but Rock was talking about the guys who actually put on the gloves.

In that case, I've got to go with Klitschko, but I'm willing to travel anywhere to watch Rahman prove me wrong ... as long as it's Vegas.

Sun boxing writer Lem Satterfield wrote in yesterday's paper that Rock leveled an "icy glare" at Lewis when the two ran into each other at a Las Vegas radio studio on Dec. 10.

Icy glare? I'm surprised that Rock can still focus his eyes after Rahman-Lewis II, but the two warmed up to each other when Lewis went on the radio and wished Rock luck in his quest to regain the title.

Pedro Martinez made nearly $90 million over seven years from the Red Sox and basically got the run of the clubhouse. Some teammates even grumbled about "special" treatment, and now he has the nerve to say that he got no respect in Boston?

"After giving seven great years, Jason Varitek, Derek Lowe and I weren't signed," Martinez said.

Hey, beanball breath, the Red Sox gave you the biggest annual salary in baseball history (at the time) after they rescued you from Expos exile. You're SUPPOSED to have great years when you're the highest-paid pitcher in the game, so maybe that respect thing ought to go both ways.

WBAL talk-show host Chip Franklin has invited me to play on his team in the station's charity dodgeball tournament, which will take place in February and March and benefit WBAL's "Kids Campaign." That means there is an extra incentive for readers to put together their own teams for the 32-team tournament.

You get to throw stuff at me, and - provided I don't go on a Doritos hunger strike between now and then - I shouldn't be hard to miss.

We're also thinking of recruiting that John Green guy who touched off the NBA brawl in Detroit. Hey, he may be a total idiot, but if he can hit Ron Artest with a beer from that distance, he might also be some kind of dodgeball prodigy.

Some friends of mine who grew up around here told me it was a lot of fun watching the Bullets play the Lakers on television Friday night.

No, it wasn't on ESPN Classic. The Wizards played the Lakers in throwback Bullets uniforms at the Staples Center and delivered a terrific overtime win. The nostalgia was a bonus.

This not really just in: I heard the Lakers almost canceled the "Turn Back The Clock" promotion, fearing that Jerry West might show up and hit on Kobe Bryant's wife.

Contact Peter Schmuck at peter.schmuck- @baltsun.com.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.