Must be nice being Larry Holmes these days. Sure is special up there on the sporting summit, as heavyweight fistfighting champ of creation. Means it's almost impossible to lose.
The champ pretty much gets to choose which chump will fatten his record -- and his wallet, although NBC apparently helped select the most recent sucker.
Poor Carl Williams. For a tough guy who seems quite well spoken, he cannot be especially bright. How can anyone who calls himself The Truth not recognize the truth when it all but jabs him in the eye?
You can't win against the heavyweight champ without all but knocking him into the next county, Carl. You can't waltz for a few minutes, let alone a few rounds. You can't beat Holmes without beating him to a pulp.
Even with one eye slammed shut by Williams, Holmes was able to wink at the world Monday night. The second best fighter in the ring, he was the unanimous winner -- by an absurd seven points on two scorecards.
Holmes might as well order the next two stiffs directly from 84 Lumber, or somebody else who deals in objects meant to be pounded. That will be necessary for him to stagger into -- and beyond -- Rocky Marciano's record of 49 victories in 49 pro fights.
Other chasing, or who have chased, athletic ghosts must be grateful boxing is as silly as it is senseless. Walter Payton leaps quickly to mind.
If the NFL were boxing, Payton never would have dashed past Jim Brown's 12,312 career rushing yards. At about 11,987, and Brown looking on in regal satisfaction, the league would have announced:
"Forevermore, Walter Payton will be required to wear concrete cleats. And if they happen to chip away, like driveways, after limited use, the Bears will not be permitted to pass.
"What's that? The Bears can't pass, anyway! In that case, their remaining games will be played in the swampland we were going to sell fans who bought the line about roster reductions making our product better."
Pete Rose should sail past one of the most sacrosanct records in sport, Ty Cobb's 4,191 hits, sometime in early August.
If boxing's tradition prevailed, the gods of baseball about now would be shouting: "Get Walter Johnson warming up in the bullpen. And Lefty Grove, too.
"We know Rose is a switch-hitter, but from now on he's gotta declare his intentions before stepping into the box. If he decides to bat right-handed, he faces Johnson; lefty, we go with Grove."
I know that once in a while a Leon Spinks gets the sort of justice a challenger deserves. But Muhammad Ali also won a few fights without actually winning. If pro boxing is our most subjective sport, can't anyone be objective about this Holmes nonsense?
Marciano retired at 32, saying he didn't want to embarrass himself the way Joe Louis had.
No telling how long Holmes could stay unbeaten by staying creative. Who's to say what makes a heavyweight, anyway. With that in mind, Holmes might announce that he will give the winner of a boxoff among Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings a shot at the title.
"Another knockout for NBC," Holmes cooed.
Make it a decision, Larry, and in ways that had little to do with your bout. The enchanting part of NBC's prime-time package was the intimate look at Marvis Frazier in his corner between rounds of his fight on the undercard.
"How'm I doin', pop?" Frazier kept asking, earnestly, of his father, the former Smokin' Joe. In looks and words, Marvis was pleading for encouragement. And pop kept saying he was doin' fine.
Holmes was doin' what comes naturally these days: performing just well enough to earn a champ's verdict. Who among us would do otherwise?
Until he beat a 15th-round retreat, NBC's alleged expert, Ferdie Pacheco, had Williams clearly superior. Some of us peacock watchers assumed the challenger was far enough ahead to actually win.
In the ring, however, A Boxing Truth was smacking The Truth more frequently than Frazier. We forgot that. Jerks.