Quick Take

    SURPRISE, SPORTS FANS!! Sunday, February 6th, will feature the Super Bowl. On 3-18-04, I wrote an article on Super Bowls containing lots of history, info and stats that you might find interesting as you anticipate the game. You can find it on "Access The Articles."

    Iíve received lots of e-mails asking me for my Super Bowl pick against the spread. I typically donít give my vast sports knowledge away; I prefer to think of myself as a high-class sports prostitute rather than a low-class hooker. But you talked me into it. The line is holding at seven right now. At seven or under, take New England and lay the points. Thereís no comparison between the two head coaches. The Eagles have two major injuries in the receiving corps; Terrell Owens and Chad Lewis. And Corey Dillon can and probably will be the "cover" factor for N.E. that they didnít have in prior Super Bowls. If the line goes over seven, lay off of it; I wonít lay more than seven points in any Super Bowl. Conversely, I feel taking Philly and seven-plus points is a sucker bet. And I surely donít see the Eagles winning this thing outright, so forget their lopsided money-line as it, too, is a sucker bet. Thatís it! And if I'm wrong, I hereby officially deny and disclaim any responsibility for your losses; that, boys and girls, is your problem.

Story of the Week


    There is no sure thing in sports. We can all rattle off stunning upsets, outcomes that defy logic and certainly the betting odds. And as we peruse the list of upsets in each individual sport, we could certainly debate which outcome was the most unexpected. Itís fun to debate sports (if itís with someone who knows sports as opposed to someone who thinks he does.) The subject of heavyweight championship fights is no exception. More on this subject at the conclusion of this article.

    By age 29, James "Buster" Douglas had a respectable record as a heavyweight fighter, 29-4-1. But he wasnít considered to be in the same class as heavyweight champ, Mike Tyson. In 1986 at age 20, Tyson became the youngest fighter ever to win the heavyweight title. Over the next four years, he absolutely dominated the division; he was 37-0 with 33 KOís.

    On February 11, 1990, their fight was held in Tokyo, and broadcast live to the rest of the world. Douglas came out strong the first two rounds. He was taller than Tyson, 6-4 to 5-11, and his longer reach worked to his advantage. But more important, Douglas didnít seem to fear Tyson, and as the fight progressed, the underdogís confidence grew. In the fifth round, Douglasí heavy blows took their toll; no one had ever injured Tyson to this extent before.

    Douglas continued to dominate the fight, but late in the eighth round, Tyson connected with a right uppercut that sent Douglas to the canvas. The knockdown timekeeper at ringside started his count a full two seconds before the referee started his. As he should, Douglas watched only the refereeís hands for the count. He got up as the referee counted nine, but by then, the timekeeper actually had Douglas out. As it should, the refereeís count prevailed and the fight continued.

    In the ninth round, Douglas hammered Tyson, and closed the champís left eye completely. His vision impaired, the 10th. round was it for "Iron Mike." Douglas sent Tysonís mouthpiece flying as the champion went down. Although Tyson rose on the nine-count, the ref held Tyson back and stopped the contest at 1:23 of the round.

    Douglasí first title defense came against Evander Holyfield eight months later. Holyfield knocked the champion out in the third round, and turned out the boxing spotlight on "Buster" Douglas. But for that one night in February, 1990, Douglas reached the pinnacle of his profession.

    Jim Lampley is a boxing commentator for whom I have great respect. (I wish I could say the same for his HBO sidekick, Larry Merchant, who bores the living hell out of me.) He calls Douglasí win over Tyson the biggest upset in the history of heavyweight championship fights. I agree, but only if we add the qualification "modern-day" as the heavyweight division produced other major championship fight upsets many decades ago.

    Letís not forget another "modern-day" major heavyweight title upset, namely loquacious Cassius Clayís KO of "Sonny" Liston in 1964. The outcome of that fight absolutely shocked the boxing world. Few boxing experts gave Clay any chance whatsoever to win that fight. It was totally unexpected.

    But, yes, I do agree with Jim Lampley; Tysonís loss to Douglas was a greater upset. The oddsmakers/sports books certainly thought so. Liston went off at 8:1 against Clay; Tyson went off in some circles at 40:1 and higher against Douglas.

    To reiterate, there is no sure bet in sports period. And that certainly includes the forthcoming Super Bowl.

Last Weekís Trivia

    Charley "Red" Barrett of the Boston Braves threw only 58 pitches during a nine-inning complete game against the Cincinnati Reds in 1944. Think about it; thatís just 6+ pitches an inning. Thatís incredible!

Trivia Question of the Week

    The legendary Jim Brown led the NFL in rushing every year from 1957 to 1965 with the exception of one season. What player broke Brownís great streak? See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.