The, Er, Fight's Over, Thank God 

It was blessedly brief. It was bizarre. It was for a good cause.

But is it a good cause when a proud man, Joe Frazier, former heavyweight champion of the world, a boxer of unbelievable courage, plays the fool? When he staggers across a ring on crippled knees, crippled back, and with a mind that was thinking who knows what to trade three minutes of pulled love taps with the mayor of Memphis?

Sorry, it was like watching Johnny Unitas at 62 trying to throw a 60-yard spiral or Larry Finch in his later years trying to hit a three-pointer. It was borderline indecent, especially in the third "round" when Frazier stumbled, tumbled, and nearly fell through the ropes and out of the ring. Herenton, as gentlemanly as he is athletic, immediately grasped the situation and barely laid a glove on the former champ. It was like watching a grandfather playing with his infant grandchildren.

The mayor, aka "The Duke," wearing electric blue trunks with a white stripe, white shoes, and high white socks, looked fit, rangy, and ready for some actual sparring. He danced backwards, ducked in, and generally looked like a boxer. Frazier, wearing green and yellow, looked ready for a bed at the Campbell Clinic.

The money raised from the event at The Peabody will go to benefit the drug court. It should not be repeated.

John Branston

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