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The Giant&quot

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The Giant&quot
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Joined: 13 Aug 2014
Posts: 1
Location: England

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shocker in boxing history) against the undefeated challenger with a will of steel.

Once upon a time, when virtue was celebrated and the anticipation of a good performance was reason enough for Americans to take in a sporting event, glitter didn't count for nearly so much as it does today. Joe DiMaggio never hot-dogged on the baseball field, Hugh McIlhenny never spiked the ball after scoring a touchdown, Rocky Marciano never showed up in the ring wearing sequined shorts and tasseled shoes.

You couldn't place a legal bet at Madison Square Garden, but crowds came for top boxing shows because they loved the sport. Being regarded as colorful might have been a plus for a fighter, but it was not always essential, not if he was good at what he did. Substance was more important than style.

Today? Preening egomaniacs such as Hector "Macho" Camacho and Jorge Paez are as notorious for the fashion statements they make as for their proficiency inside the ropes, and Tyson's love life and inability to handle an automobile without mishap have made him as familiar to readers of supermarket tabloids as to readers of the sports section.

Television probably shares responsibility for the increasing sense of pandering to the lowest elements in boxing. The wonderful world of video almost dictates that each new fighter who comes along must be more outrageous than his predecessors, possessed of some new shtick capable of holding the public's interest when his left hook doesn't.

Douglas and Holyfield are ill-suited for some of the demands of modern professional boxing. It is axiomatic that styles make fights, and Douglas's advantages in size and reach make for an interesting contrast to Holyfield's presumably superior work ethic and level of conditioning. But neither has learned to play the game by the rules currently in effect, which stipulate that a main event can have one good guy, but not two. For every hero there must be a villain, for every dull interviewee there must be a fount of outrageous quotes. Otherwise, where would the conflict lie?

Douglas, virtually unnoticed before he debunked the myth of Tyson's invincibility, has not been turned into a punk rocker by his ascent to wealth and fame. He maintained a low profile during the months after his colossal victory in Tokyo, and neither sought nor accepted the promotional opportunities usually available to the heavyweight champion of the world.

"What James Douglas is," said John Johnson, his manager, "is a super nice young man who beat the big, bad bully."

He also is a super nice young man whose checkered career includes losses to David Bey, Jesse Ferguson and Mike "The Giant" White, a 6-10 sideshow attraction who once went to Brazil for a fight and stayed as a basketball player.

While Douglas's bandwagon gained a lot of riders after his dispatching of Tyson, doubters noted that the new champion had run out

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