Odds and Ends

By Thomas Hauser
Shane Mosley's victory over Oscar De La Hoya has led to a new round of the increasingly tedious phenomenon known as "calling out."

In days of old, when there were eight weight divisions and one champion in each, worthy fighters were often denied the opportunity to fight for a title. Archie Moore was almost forty when, finally, he got his chance. Charlie Burley and Sam Langford were among the many who never got that far.

Things are different now. Most of today's championship-caliber fighters have had one or more title opportunities. But today's titles are so diluted that many of them don't translate into big money. Thus, the phenomenon of "calling out."

Calling out occurs when a fighter goes public with the demand that another fighter meet him in the ring. This is done by issuing a statement that Fighter X is afraid to meet Fighter Y because he knows that Fighter Y will kick his butt. Usually, the demand is made of a reigning champion. Always, it's made of a fighter who generates a lot of money. Frequently, it's accompanied by enough Fred Sternburg press releases to shut down a major internet service provider.

Countless fighters between 147 and 160 pounds have been calling out De La Hoya for years. Most of them will continue to do so. Half of the world's heavyweights are calling out Mike Tyson. One half-expects that, should Hasim Rahman beat David Tua for the interim WBA crown, Cedric Kushner will issue the following press release:

"Now that I'm getting in shape again, I'd like to settle my differences with Hasim Rahman the old fashioned way; with my fists. I challenge Mr. Rahman to appear in the ring with me on my next Heavyweight Explosion card, which will be held shortly in Las Vegas. Winner take all; twelve rounds of boxing or less."

* * *

And speaking of Cedric --

True story.

This past April, as recounted in //www.secondsout.com/usa/column_51841.asp">Cedric Kushner: Saving A Life, Dr. Frank Borao performed gastric bypass surgery on Kushner. Since then, Cedric has lost 108 pounds. He now weighs 277 and expects to reach 235 early next year.

"Something wonderful happened to me today," Kushner recently reported. "I dropped my pen under my desk."


"Six months ago, I would have had to call someone into my office to crawl under the desk and get it for me. But today, I simply said 'Oh, fuck,' bent over, and picked it up myself."

* * *

It took nineteen years, but HBO has finally given production coordinator Tami Cotel the credit she deserves.

This past June, an article entitled //www.secondsout.com/usa/column_52375.asp">Tami Cotel quoted virtually every major player on the HBO Boxing production team as singing her praises. Yet as the article noted, when Jim Lampley read the primary production credits at the close of each telecast, Tami's name was conspicuously absent.

"I would love it," said Lampley, "if some day in the very near future, the powers-that-be at HBO instructed me to read Tami's credit out loud. She deserves it."

The issue was presented to HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg shortly after the article appeared on Secondsout.com. Greenburg acknowledged that Tami deserved a spoken credit, but said that he didn't want to give the impression that he was responding favorably to something that yours truly had written. Thus, it was decided in mid-June that HBO would wait three months and then give Tami her credit. She got it, finally, on the September 13th telecast of Oscar De La Hoya versus Shane Mosley and will continue to be appropriately acknowledged hereafter.

* * *

Lou DiBella has a notoriously short attention span. Legend has it that, one evening, he found himself sitting next to Murad Muhammad at the dais for an awards dinner in New York. True to form, Murad droned on and on and on. Finally, DiBella summoned a waiter and said, "I can't stand this anymore. Could you listen to the rest of Mr. Muhammad's story for me?"

* * *

And one for the road --

A priest, a rabbi, and an Islamic cleric decided to sit down with Mike Tyson and see if they could do something to improve his behavior. They got together in a small room, and the priest began the conversation on a philosophical note.

"Mike; I want to ask you something. Where is God?"

Iron Mike just sat there and didn't say a word, so the rabbi figured he'd give it a try.

"Mike; this is important. Where is God?"

There was still no answer, which made the Islamic cleric a bit angry. "Mike," he demanded, "Answer us. Where is God?"

At that point, Tyson stood up, walked out of the room, picked up his cell phone, called Shelly Finkel, and moaned, "Shelly; I'm in trouble again. God is missing, and everyone thinks I did it."
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