Monday, June 20, 2005

Soft trumpet and a bell

In1962, after he'd beaten his closest rival, Floyd Patterson, and become Heavyweight Champion of the World, Sonny Liston said, "Some day they're gonna write a blues song for fighters. It'll just be for slow guitar, soft trumpet and a bell."

I've been thinking about heavyweight careers since Mike Tyson retired on his stool at the end of the sixth round after a desperate performance against Kevin McBride last week. It just seems inevitable that Tyson is going to join the long list of former champions that end up with nothing to show for their careers. Tyson's tailpsin is pobably going to make Joe Louis' troubles after he retired look like a holiday.

At least world heavy weight champions do get to see some money even if it is only fleetingly. I was in university in Swansea in 1981 when a local fighter called Neville Meade - who worked as a waiter in a curry house near Singleton Park - won the British Heavyweight crown. I was astonished to find that the pugilist was still working there the next time that we bowled up for a chicken Madras "half and half" a few weeks later. So, I think it safe to assume that his purse for winning the title must have been less than spectacular.

He certainly, however, made you think twice before attempting to run out without settling the bill.
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