It was billed as Ali versus Frazier. The Bulls against the Pistons. Top-ranked Miami against second-ranked Alabama.
It was the undefeated Harvard men's tennis team against undefeated Yale. The Rumble in the Jungle. The Thrilla in Manila.
It turned out to be the Dallas Cowboys against the Buffalo Bills, circa Super Bowl XXVII.
Buoyed by a strong home-court advantage, Harvard demolished the Elis, 7-0, at the Palmer-Dixon Indoor Courts yesterday.
"It was just a successful all-around day," junior Adam Meister said.
Harvard won the match without allowing Yale a point, winning the first four matches to clinch the seven-point affair.
Freshman Danny Chung, playing in the fifth position, clinched the win with a 7-5, 6-2, win over his opponent.
"We just came out strong," Chung said. "We jumped at them early. I guess I'm a little surprised, I expected it to be tougher."
Harvard's three doubles teams each won their matches to win the team's first point.
The top doubles team of sophomores Andrew Rueb and Umesha Walloopillai won 8-5. Freshman Todd Meringoff and Meister also won 8-5, and Captain Pete Stovell and junior Marshall Burroughs won 8-4.
In the first round of singles play, Rueb and Wallooppillai each defeated their Eli opponents 6-2, 6-4. Along with Chung's win, this gave Harvard four points--enough to clinch the team match without half the singles team taking the court.
But Meringoff, Burroughs, and freshman Howard Kim went ahead and played anyway. With absolutely nothing to play for, Meringoff and Burroughs won in straight sets while Kim took three but still won.
The previously undefeated Bulldogs had defeated tennis powers Princeton and West Virginia and were expected to be Harvard's primary competition in the Northeast.
Primary, it seems, is a relative thing.
"Yale seemed a little flat today," Meister said. "I don't know why. We were on a roll from last week, though [when Harvard defeated Princeton and West Virginia back-to-back on the road], and that really gave us some momentum today."