How in the world can NBC presume to have revived the "Friday Night Fights" of the 1950s without the bouncy musical theme of "To look sharp (da-da-da-da-da) . . . to feel sharp . . . to be sharp . . .?"

Dick Enberg, the latter-day Don Dunphy, evoked wistful grins among the elder statesmen in the fight mob here for the Pipino Cuevas-Tommy Hearns bout when he said, "Oh, what memories! . . the 12- and 14-inch television screens . . . the two Rockys, Marciano and Graziano; Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Kid Gavilan . . ."

Barney Nagler, who has been writing boxing since John L. Sullivan trumpeted: "I am the heavyweight champion of the world and I can lick any man in the house," counted a small blessing for the new generation:

They finally got Tiger Jones and Orlando Zulueta off the TV screen," he said in an allusion that was not, lost on his contemporaries.

Those two fighters always seemed to be on the tube in the 1950s because they had managers who were tight with the "torpedoes" who were tight pretty much in control of the sport then.

Friday night's cameras for the Wildred Benitez-Tony Chiaverini fight set the modern scene with overhead shots and a variety of closeups that were light years beyond the inagination of the technicians and directors of the '50s.

One could almost feel the nervousness of the boxers as the referee's instructions hyped the drama.

There was an almost painfully poignant inset of spectator Louis, showing the ravages of the years.

There was unplanned comic relief that might have caused a network vice president to pop an ulcer pill when Enberg, true to the enterprising reporting these days of the blow-by-blow announcers, said, "Let's listen to Angelo Dundee in Chiaverini's corner."

What Dundee was heard to say to try to motivate the floundering left-hander from Kansas City qualified for n "R" rating.

The camera's probing for emotions on the face of Chiaverini's wife, Debbie, was overreaching a bit.

If the announcers of the bygone age were less aggressive in trying for intimate revelations during a bout, at least they went at it pretty much alone. Three on a boxing match -- Enberg, Dr. Ferdie Pacheco and Sugar Ray Leonard -- were too many for a two-man sport.

There was also a kiss-off explanation of a push-button device by which unspecified "ringsiders" could register their scoring of the fight after every round.

Not having to face a possibly hostile crowd if the bout had gone to a controversial decision, the "unofficial" voters showed guts that would have shamed the officials who collectively scored so many rounds even in the recent Roberto Duran-Leonard bout in Montreal. The amateur, anonymous scorers had Benitez leading four rounds to none at one point.

Commentator Leonard, who has parlayed television into a fortune ever since the 1970 Olympics, regained his amateur status at the microphone Friday night.

Perhaps because he was nervous or tring to show restraint, or possibly because of a ready voice that couldn't compete with those of Enberg and Dundee asked the referee to stop the bout after the eighth round, with Chiaverini hopelessly beaten, and Leonard sampled a new experience, of being an interviewer.

Not at all inhabited by his halting English, Puerto Rican Benitez unstaged Leonard at the microphone. "I'm the dragon," Benitez said, beaming at the attention of the camera. "It was like a training session. I looked strong, didn't I ?"

Leonard was at a rare loss for words. "I want Duran. He's scared of me," Benitez went on. "Now you scared of me?" he jested to Leonard and Leonard avoided a direct response by advising the fellow he knocked out last November: "You get Duran first."

Enberg reflected on the Puerto Rican taking over the program: "Benitez has had more air time than the three of us (announcers) put together."

This never happened in the 1950s. It was not until Muhammad Ali made the scene in the '60s that a boxer included the microphone among the tools of his trade.

Benitez's early dispatch of Chiaverini left air time to fill and the director apted for unnecessarily long replays of the onesided bout.

It would have been wonderfully schmaltzy to have been prepared to show instead flashbacks of Marciano, Graziano, Louis, Robinson, Gavilan and even Zulueta and Jones -- to the catchy strains of the safety razor ditty.