And that's boxing, Ray Mancini said in effect in telling a news conference in Youngstown, Ohio, he will fight on -- unless saddled with safety reforms -- after his fatal knockout of Duk Koo Kim. The WBA lightweight champion said, "If they put in headgear, I'll get out. If they pad the gloves, shorten the number of rounds, I might as well be an amateur.

"Boxing . . . at times is very brutal. But that doesn't take away from the essence of the sport. As I see it, there's an art in it. I have no doubt that I will fight with the same strength and intensity."

Mike Baker, the Arlington middleweight, termed inaccurate the report in Saturday's paper of his suspension for withdrawing from the main event on promoter Ed Guido's Crystal City card Friday night. "I'm requesting a hearing with (Virginia commissioner) Doug Beavers," Baker said. "It's the commission that imposes suspensions, not the promoter." As for the food poisoning cited for Baker's bow-out, he says it happened a few days before the fight and although he felt poorly at Friday afternoon weigh-in -- "There was no doctor there, a violation" -- he intended to go ahead. Then, Baker says, he found the man at the scales with him not the one advertised but an inexperienced, over-the-weight boxer, "not a proper opponent."

Muhammad Ali in Abu Dhabi: puts on the gloves, against Jimmy Ellis and "rising West German boxer" Reiner Hartner. Never fear. Asked if three exhibitions (proceeds toward building mosques in the U.S.) on visit to United Arab Emirates presage another comeback, Ali says no, "I can't box in a real fight any more."