LISTEN UP, fight fans, the news today is that L there is a new fight promoter out there. His name is Marion (Kid) Barry, promoter of many a fight in his day and, in his spare time, mayor of the District of Colombia. Come on kids take a bow. Way to go.
Kid Barry, as you might know by now, went out to Las Vegas to help promote a title fight in Washington and, incidentally, take in the Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas (Hit Man) Hearns match. The purpose of this trip, you should understand, was not really to see what turned out to be one hell of a fight. The purpose was to circulate with boxing types and bring a really big fight to Washington. The mayor covered his eyes for much of the fight.
Kid Barry, the famous fight promoter, had the city's Armory Board pay for his roundtrip flight to Vegas. It also gave him a $45 per day stipend toward the cost of his hotel room and food. The whole thing seemed like a wonderful idea to both Kid Barry and a certain Stuart J. Long, a member of the Armory Board appointed by none other than Kid Barry in his part-time capacity as mayor. The mayor and Long see eye to eye on certain matters.
Now you may wonder if this is the proper time for the mayor, in his capacity as fight promoter, to be taking trips to Vegas on what amounts to the city's money. The city, after all, is broke. Schools are being closed. The city is going to have to pick up the costs of a whole lot of social service programs that the federal government is no longer willing to pay.
Relax. The mayor is going to write a report: "What I did in Vegas." He is going to tell the city how he spent his time in the gambling capital of the entire world. He is going to tell us all -- you, me and the City Council -- if he saw any naked ladies in the lounge shows and if he dared venture near the gaming tables to throw a quarter, a half dollar or -- God forbid -- a silver dollar into one of those one-armed bandits that can be seen occasionally in Vegas. I hope for the sake of Walter Fauntroy's heart that the mayor of the same city Fauntroy represents in the Congress of the United States did not gamble and -- horrors of all horrors -- did not gamble with the city's money. Talk about the impossible dream.
In his report, which the mayor has not yet turned in, he will undoubtedly explain why he thought the Vegas fight was the opportune time for him to try to bring a fight to Washington. He will probably refer to his success at bringing African industry to Washington, which was one of the side benefits of his trip to that continent. The mayor will undoubtedly explain how even though Bob Arum, one of the fight promoters he wanted to see, has an office in New York, it is cheaper and more efficient to see him when he is in Vegas.
The mayor's What-I-Did-In-Vegas report, copies of which I know will be given to the press and maybe even the Guinness Book of World Records for consideration in its chutzpah category, will explain why he thought that the time before, during and after a fight was the best time to corner the world's busiest fight promoters and remind them of the wonders of Washington. He will explain why he could not have lifted the phone and called Arum in New York or Don King in Vegas and why he simply got on a plane a flew to Vegas, hoping, it seems, to bump into them.
Some people, of course, will snicker. They will say that the worst time to arrange a fight is the week of a really big one. People are busy. They are partying. They are present company excluded drunk. It is very hard to do business in noisy hotel suites where booze is being served and persons with lots of cleavage I know all I know about fights from the movies are saying, "You mean a hunk like you is the mayor of Washington?"
People who suggest such things are cynical ingrates. They don't understand that only the mayor can really arrange a fight. Why most of the fights brought to New York were personally arranged by Ed (The Mouth) Koch. In Chicago, Jane (The Project) Bryne does all the fights and in Boston -- you guessed it, you clever devils -- it's Kevin (The Reformer) White.
So it is in Washington. The whole thing has worked. The mayor went to Vegas looking for a fight. And if I know the City Council, he's going to get one.