Sugar Ray and College Super Bowls

Mark My Words

Sugar Ray Leonard is the last of boxing's class acts.

His sport has succumbed to greed and gluttony. Promoters are as well known as the boxers they represent. Boxing has become a sick side-show. Heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, whose out-of-ring problems have earned more press than his in-ring triumphs, is a pitiful heir to the throne Muhammed Ali sat in for so long.

In the days of Muhammed, boxing was the greatest of sports and Ali was the king. He brought to the sport his arrogance and his wit, his showmanship and his deadly punches. He brought to it controversy (his refusal to participate in the Vietnam War) and poetry ("float like a butterfly, sting like a bee").

He did not bring to it hundreds of headlines in the National Enquirer.

The Greatest


When Muhammed Ali fought, people watched, cared. When Mike Tyson fights again--against Frank Bruno or whoever shows up to take a fall--will people watch and care? Or will they simply wait for Tyson's next exploit outside the ring?

Sugar Ray Leonard is a remnant of the old school, a showman and a gentleman. Leonard is smart and savvy. And people care about the outcome of his fights. Leonard versus Marvelous Marvin Hagler two years ago was a showdown worthy of the legacy left by the 'Thrilla fights of Ali and Joe Frazier.

On November 7, Leonard will take on Don Lalonde, the second in line to the title, "The Great White Dope" (Gerry Cooney was the first). The sooner Leonard puts Lalonde on his behind the better.

After Lalonde, rumor has it Leonard will give a rematch to Hagler, who has been "Mr. Right Guard" ever since his loss to Leonard.

It's time college football chose its national champion the way the NFL chooses its Super Bowl winner-on the field.

Bowl games are nice. They have flavor and festivity. They also have great names, if you're a fruit lover. But they leave too many questions unanswered, the principle one being-which is the best college foot-ball team?

This year's season may offer a classic case of what is wrong with college bowl games. Suppose Notre Dame and USC finish with undefeated records and the number-one and number-two positions, respectively, in the college polls. The two squads won't get the chance to face each other.

USC, per tradition, will face the bimbo from the Big Ten, some hulking squad without a quarterback that will get run over on Rodney Peete street, in the Rose Bowl. And Notre Dame will go elsewhere to defend its top ranking.

Wouldn't it make more sense for the Trojans and Fighting Irish to go head-to-head in a bowl?

I propose scrapping the bowl games in favor of an eight-team post-season tournament. The top eight teams in the national rankings would square at sites around the country (these games could even be called bowl games with the original fruit flavors preserved).