BLIND TO THE DANGER
The brutality of boxing was brought home in one frightening moment Sunday in ABC's telecast of the title bout between Bobby Czyz and IBF light heavyweight champion Prince Charles Williams. Czyz began taking a heavy beating in the eighth round of the scheduled 12-rounder, and by the 10th round his left eye was almost completely closed. After the 10th, Czyz stumbled back to his corner and said, "That's it. It's my eye."
But his cornermen ignored him. They went to work, trying to reduce the swelling. One of his handlers. Tommy Parks, urged him on, saying. "You're gonna knock him out this round.... One more round. You gotta try here." Czyz knew better, though. "I can't see anything," he said. "That's it. It's over."
Rather than accede to his fighter's request, Parks said, "No. You've got this eye here." And he tapped Czyz on the right side of his head. Fortunately, referee Rudy Battle came over to the corner to check on Czyz, who told him, "That's it, ref. It's over."
Parks, rather disgustedly, then said, "Wave Bobby bye-bye."
Even with two good eyes, Parks couldn't see what he was doing.
BLOTTING OUT THE SUN
A certain financial services company has decided to put its John Hancock on one of the nation's oldest college football postseason games. Henceforth, the Sun Bowl, held in El Paso since 1935, will be called the John Hancock Bowl after its corporate sponsor. According to Marc Boehm, a Sun Bowl—make that a John Hancock Bowl—official, "Almost everybody has a corporate sponsor now. John Hancock became our sponsor in 1986 and saved our bowl in many ways, and if we want a bowl game in El Paso...we had to do what we had to do."
The eclipse of the Sun has darkened the mood in El Paso. The El Paso Times ran a strong editorial opposing the change. And William Kaigh, a UTEP math professor, conducted a poll of 200 El Pasoans and found that 166 were against renaming the bowl. "I object to it," said Leon Metz, an El Paso historian. "I admire John Hancock very much. In fact, I have a policy with them, and I'm not going to cancel it. But they came in here and wanted to be part of an established, reputable bowl. Now they don't want to be part of it. They want to be all of it."
The irony here is that the signature of John Hancock is the most conspicuous one on the Declaration of Independence. Now, 213 years later, the company named after him has taken away the Sun Bowl's independence.
In yet another display of his graciousness, John McEnroe had this to say about the chances of French Open champion Michael Chang on the grass of Wimbledon: "If he gets to the final at Wimbledon, I will drop my pants on Centre Court."
That's one reason to root for Chang. But, come to think of it, it may also be a reason to root against him.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
Gary Gibbs, who last week became the football coach at Oklahoma in the wake of Barry Switzer's resignation, played linebacker for the Sooners from 1972 through '74 and was an assistant under Switzer from 1975 until his promotion. Even though one reporter called Gibbs "Barry" at the press conference announcing his appointment, people familiar with the Oklahoma program point out that Gibbs is not at all like Switzer. Gibbs has a reputation for being a straight arrow and disciplinarian, while Switzer was known as a party lover who ran a loose ship.
Gibbs, who remains loyal to his mentor, also differs from Switzer in his perception of the NCAA. Switzer lay part of the blame for his resignation on the NCAA's rules. "We're part of the NCAA," said Gibbs. "We legislate ourselves. Everybody plays on the same field. It's a level field, and we all follow the same rules. Nobody should have an advantage." As for the question of discipline, Gibbs said, "It's an easy question. You do what's right; you don't do what's wrong."
Last week the Dallas Times Herald reported that former Oklahoma assistant coach Scott Hill was being investigated by federal drug authorities. Hill resigned under pressure in March for, among other things, having caused a ruckus at a country club in Orlando, Fla., where the Sooners played in last January's Citrus Bowl. Meanwhile, Charles Thompson, the quarterback who pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to distribute cocaine in April but has not yet been sentenced, is believed to be cooperating with federal authorities, leading to speculation that the Oklahoma football program may be in for even further embarrassment.
After announcing his departure, Switzer retreated to a small Oklahoma town to fish with friends. "I am so tired," he told SI's Rick Telander. "I was thinking about this [resigning] even during last season, before the trouble. I didn't enjoy the job like I used to. The thrill wasn't there; the concentration wasn't there; the fun wasn't there. I fought through all the recent stuff, and I thought I handled it well. But it took its toll."
Switzer said he stuck around to preserve his staff. If he had quit earlier, he said, Oklahoma might have brought in an outside coach who would have replaced Switzer's assistants. Now one of those assistants has been entrusted with getting the Sooners' program back on its feet.
IT'S JUST A BAD SPELL
Jose Oferman, a shortstop in the Los Angeles Dodgers' organization, is now spelling his name Offerman. In reporting this, Greg Larson, a Jacksonville free-lance writer, pointed out that Offerman now has 2 F's and 30 E's—the number of errors he had committed for Class A Bakersfield this season.
HE'S BULLISH ON BOXING
The Madison Square Garden publicity department calls him "probably the most educated boxer in the world." He's certainly one of the only stockbrokers in the world known as Sugarman. He's also an actor who is fluent in four languages, including Chinese. And he's 4-2-1 with three KOs.
He's Leland Hardy, a 27-year-old aspiring heavyweight and an account executive with the Manhattan investment firm of Bear Stearns. Hardy grew up in Philadelphia and attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in business administration, minored in chemistry and took up boxing. He won the 1983 Pennsylvania Golden Gloves heavyweight championship. He has studied in China, and in May 1986 he received two master's degrees, one in business administration from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, the other in international studies from Penn's School of Arts and Sciences.
Hardy, who went to work at Bear Stearns in January, has a heavyweight bout against Tony Hayes scheduled for June 29 at Madison Square Garden's Felt Forum. Win or lose, though, Hardy will continue to maintain his knockout schedule. One day in April, for instance, he got up at 5:50 a.m. to do roadwork with his Staffordshire terrier, Binky; at 8:00 he was at his desk at Bear Stearns; at noon he auditioned for a Miller beer TV commercial; at 2:00 p.m. he returned to his office; at 5:00 he was on his way to Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn; at 8:30 he finished his workout; and at 10:00 he was back home, walking Binky. "If you work hard, live clean and do good things, then good things will happen to you," says Hardy. Indeed, he got the part in the Miller ad, in which he portrays a baseball fan who gives a ball he caught at a game to a senior citizen.
In the introduction to his rèsumè, Hardy writes, "I regard myself as the most interesting young man in the country today." That may be no idle boast.
Hardy is probably the only broker-actor-boxer in the U.S. who can speak Chinese.
THEY SAID IT
•Ralph Kiner, Hall of Famer and New York Mets broadcaster, on relief pitcher Steve Bedrosian, who was recently traded from the Philadelphia Phillies to the San Francisco Giants: "All of his saves have come during relief appearances."
•Heather Ryun, daughter of the former world-record holder in the mile, Jim Ryun, on why she will concentrate on shorter distances at her father's alma mater, Kansas: "I like sprints because they're over fast. I ran two laps once and knew that wasn't for me."