Quick Takes


          As I wrote a few weeks ago, I bet Seattle to win the Super Bowl this season. For me to win my bet, Seattle must win the Super Bowl. Needless to state, I absolutely love the Seahawks getting Deion Branch this week from the Patriots. Look for the Seahawks to move a wide receiver soon to bolster other needs; they now have five on the roster.


Incredible reprint:

Per CBS Sportsline: A Detroit Lions assistant coach was arrested twice in the past two weeks -- once while police say he was driving nude and a week later on suspicion of drunken driving.

Police in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn said Joe Cullen, who coaches the team's defensive line, was pulled over Aug. 24 and ticketed on suspicion of indecent and obscene conduct. The ticket does not provide any other information why Cullen allegedly was nude. The Lions said alcohol was involved. Then, on Sept. 1, police stopped his 2006 Ford Explorer and determined he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.12 percent, court records show. The legal limit for drivers in Michigan in 0.08 percent.

OK, now permit me to relate the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say. On August 24, Cullen drove through a Wendy’s drive-thru, ordered whatever, and then showed up at the window to pay and pick up his food…………….totally nude! Matt Millen, the worst GM in the NFL, hasn’t canned the guy; Cullen is still coaching the Lions. I have one question; I wonder what he left the Wendy’s attendant…………for a tip!


Per Jay Leno: ‘Lance Armstrong was seen recently at dinner with Paris Hilton. I guess that means he wants to ride through Paris at least one more time.’


          Another Jay Leno: ‘Rumor has it that Matt Leinart is the father of a love child with a USC co-ed. It’s living proof that a Trojan should always use a Trojan with another Trojan.’


I received this great e-mail from A.F. of the Bronx: ‘I’m in my 60’s and was a Yankee fan all my life until a few years ago. I agree with your ongoing assault on major league baseball for not having a salary cap. You have maintained that it’s not a level playing field and you’re absolutely right. The Yankees buy whatever talent they need or think they need. My favorite teams now are the ones that make it to the playoffs with the lowest payroll. That automatically eliminates the Yankees. You’re right when you state that the system stinks! What possible pleasure can Yankee fans take if and when they ever win a World Series again in the present lopsided system?!’

Thanks A.F. A New Yorker, and a Bronx resident at that, with an open mind. How unique! A.F. prefers anonymity; I would, too, if I lived in the Bronx Zoo and felt like he does.


Story of the Week



In the world of boxing, fighters must be conscious of executing both victory in the ring and a performance that electrifies fans. Panamanian patriot and relentless boxing veteran Roberto Duran accomplished both effortlessly. Duran's rugged determination promised his opponents fierce physical battles, and guaranteed the audience a high energy, hard-hitting show.

          Born in Guarare, Panama on June 16, 1951, Duran's amateur career was brief but promising. Propelled by the income a successful boxing career offered, 16-year-old Duran made the decision to turn professional. After a short adjustment period, he turned the tables on his older and more experienced opponents. It didn't take long for audiences and the media to recognize that Duran's raw, explosive talent was the stuff legends are made of.

         Though he lacked a press agent and professional representation, the newcomer consistently brought in packed houses. He had fought and won a streak of 21 professional fights without any specialized instruction when wealthy landowner Carlos Eleta bought his contract for a mere $300. Eleta then hired renowned trainers Ray Arcel and Freddie Brown to streamline Duran's relentless style and teach him cunning defensive strategies.

          Roberto Duran was the quintessential warrior, a predatory fighter who epitomized the Spanish word “machismo,” meaning aggressiveness and courage. Fighting with a conscious will to destroy, this street kid from Panama City fought every fight with resentment, his cruel eyes burning brightly with contempt, his teeth biting into his mouthpiece in a sneer.

          Some of Duran’s opponents were also-rans who also ran, while others were up-and-coming fighters who gave flight even before being destroyed by Duran’s “hands of stone.” During a post-fight interview, while glancing at the mortal remains of Ray Lampkin being carted off to a hospital, Duran stated, “The next time, I will send him to the morgue.”

          Duran brought his street savvy and skills along with his inner fire to that mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden, fighting in the U.S. after 24 fights in Panama and Mexico. He knocked out Benny Huertas in one round in 1971. Within one year, he was lightweight champion of the world at age 21.

          On June 26, 1972, Duran's uninterrupted victories hit 30, 19 of which were KOs. That night, he defeated WBA Lightweight Champion Ken Buchanan in the 13th round at the Garden. It was the 21-year-old's first world title. And he was just getting started.
          In a career that spans five decades, Duran went on to be the WBC Lightweight Champion, WBC Welterweight Champion, WBA Light Middleweight Champion, WBC Middleweight Champion and WBA Junior Middleweight Champion. His lights-out right punch has stopped opponents from Esteban De Jesus to Davey Moore to Sugar Ray Leonard. Seemingly endless stamina and persistent ferocity have pitted him against many of the world's best lightweight and middleweight fighters.

          Duran’s lasting fame came in two bouts against Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980. In the first, Duran fought as if protected by diplomatic immunity, bullying his way inside on the faster, taller Leonard. At the final bell, Duran disdained Leonard’s extended handshake with a contemptuous “stick it” gesture. In the rematch five months later, the man all believed would be carried out on his shield before acknowledging defeat cried out “No Mas”, thus giving up his title.

          Roberto Duran is rated as one of the 10 greatest fighters of all time by boxing’s foremost historian Bert Sugar. His career record was 103-16, with 69 wins by knockout. Duran appeared in the 1979 sequel Rocky II as a sparring partner for Rocky Balboa. He could have been Rocky Balboa.


Last Week’s Trivia


          The first black QB in the NFL was Willie Thrower (an appropriate name for a quarterback). He played for only one season in the NFL with the Chicago Bears in 1953.


Trivia Question of the Week


          What star player preceded  Peyton Manning as QB at the U. of Tennessee? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.