The weigh-in for a heavyweight championship fight was upstaged today by a 4-month-old baby, three feminists no one dared call "Babe," and Muhammad Ali leading cheers for himself.
For the record Larry Holmes, the World Boxing Council titleholder, scaled 214 1/4 to 226 for Scott LeDoux.
The undefeated champion is a 5-to-1 favorite to make the seventh successful defense of his title Monday night in the Met Center. Promoter Don King acknowledged ticket sales have not been as good as he expected. Top-priced tickets are $200. The indoor arena seats 16,800.
The bout will be televised by the ABC network (WJLA-TV-7) at 10:05 p.m. An hour earlier, Saoul Mamby will be shown defending his WBC super lightweight championship against Estaban de Jesus of Puerto Rico, distinguished as the only opponent to beat Roberto Duran.
Despite chants from home state fans of "LeDoux . . . LeDoux . . . LeDoux," as the challenger approached the scale, Holmes was the model of self-confidence as he brought off a first in the sport, carrying his infant daughter Kandy Larie to the ceremony.
The champion executed a handoff to wife Diane before stepping on the scale. His weight announced, Holmes retrieved his diapered darling and both looked over LeDoux's shoulder at the indicator as the challenger shed his jacket, emblazoned with "The French Connection," and grimly approved his 11 3-4-pound advantage.
Kandy Larie Holmes' place in boxing's pictorial history assured, Holmes and LeDoux were about to depart without playing any "psych" games when shouts of "Ali . . . Ali . . . Ali" ended the decorum. Spectators turned and saw Ali signaling for the demonstration.
Holmes forced a graceful smile and answered as he thrust his index finger overhead, "One at a time . . . one at a time: LeDoux first."
All the while, several women were seen depositing their own bathroom-type scales near the official one.They wanted a ceremony of their own, according to Judy Klammer, member of the Minnesota State Athletic Commission. She said she is a feminist.
Klammer identified three women boxers, Irish Ginger Kaufman, Sue Carlson, and Laurie Harmon, who want to fight woman opponents on Monday's show. Klammer buttonholed promoter King with their grievances and he told them that he sympathied with them and would try to match them on the next card here.
Ali has been giving "magic shows" in the lobby for the last two days and called a news conference an hour before the weigh-in, at which he promised to perform a bit of levitation. He got up on a table, raised one foot an inch off the surface and, after some suspense, raised the sole of the other foot about an inch before breaking into a laugh.
The former champion insisted he is going to fight Holmes, presuming he is the winner Monday, and said it was to be known as "The Peace Fight" on behalf of "Sadat, Begin, and Mr. Carter," for whom Ali has campaigned. "Gold coins are going to be struck for the event," Ali said.
When a date was demanded of him, Ali said, "When Don King here comes up with the money."
Ali said of his trip here from his training camp in Deer Lake, Pa., where he has worked out intermittently since April, "I'm here to check Larry Holmes out . . . to see how much he has progressed since he was my hired hand (former sparring partner). Now he's got a title and he talks to me like a dog.
"You know I tricked Holmes into a fight by getting up to 250 pounds." Ali went on, and Richie Giachetti, Holmes' trainer, shouted from the audience, "We're so happy you tricked us."
What if LeDoux beats Holmes for the title.
"LeDoux and Ali -- Oh, God, that'll be big. LeDoux, with his blond curls and curly head," Ali said.
In his rambling remarks, Ali observed, "Sugar Ray Leonard is going to come back and be greater than ever. He's got to stick and move, dance like Ali. You can't change your style."
Asked to pick a winner of Monday's heavyweight bout, Ali said, "No, it could go either way. LeDoux is hungry: it takes only one punch."
An outsider shouted to Ali, "If you fight Larry Holmes he'll be arrested for attempted murder," and Ali finessed the fellow by saying. "If Holmes looks too good on Monday night, I'll retire again."
Ali, who is 38, said Holmes is too old (30), is to slow and tires after seven or eight rounds. But the champion has accounted for 25 of his 34 victories by knockouts. He won the title by decisioning Ken Norton in June 1978, and in his defenses defeated Mike Weaver, now the World Boxing Association champion, Ernie Shavers twice, Alfred Evangelista, Osie Ocasio, Lorenzo Zanon, and Leroy Jones.
LeDoux, 31, won 26 of 38 bouts by knockouts, lost eight and fought four draws. He has been beaten twice by Duane Bobick, and once by Weaver.