Ever applauded a grown man wearing only his undies? Me neither. Until yesterday, that is. Of course, I'd never been to a boxing weigh-in until Thursday either.
I spent half my summer chasing Terrell Owens all around California, but the preamble to tonight's Evander Holyfield-Jeremy Bates heavyweight fight was an unprecedented circus. In this corner of the American Airlines Center's Platinum Level was former champ Roberto Duran, who, in black shades and green fatigues, looked like a cross between Jose Feliciano and Fidel Castro. And in this corner was Bates, a guy who looked as though any minute he might walk out of the proceedings and back to his job unloading beer kegs from a Miller Lite truck.
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Before stepping on the scales, Bates stripped out of his pastel orange T-shirt, camo shorts and generic sandals and--oh, yeah--even took off his gold necklace. Even if it was real gold, come on! Dressed in only his skivvies and tribal arm tattoo, he weighed in at 225� pounds. As he stepped off, the crowd of about 150 media clapped. Call me old-fashioned, but when Bill Parcells waddles off the podium, all we do is politely hiss.
Holyfield, who tonight, at the age of 43, begins his quest to become boxing's only five-time heavyweight champ, tipped the scales at 220. More awkward applause. While eerily resembling Emerald City bassist Dwayne Heggar, Holyfield tells the fully dressed media that he picked Dallas to launch his latest comeback because "I wanted a new city, a fresh start." The fight will be on Fox Sports Net, because, at this point, the fighter famous for having his ear gnawed on by Mike Tyson isn't pay-per-view-worthy.
"But I will be," he said. "Get a good look now, 'cuz the rest of my fights you'll have to pay to see."