Here we are, desperately trying to convince the rest of the planet that we are not the most violent people on earth, and there they were in Chicago, little red-headed Danny Bonaduce, the former Partridge family imp, and toothy Donny Osmond, who with sister Marie spread more mush on TV than Quaker Oats, in a fistfight. What's next? Winona Ryder mud-wrestling Drew Barrymore? Lassie and Benji in a pit-bull ring?
The impetus for the bout was some health club lip-flapping that went on between the protagonists, neither of whom has spent much time studying the sweet science. They said it was for charity, but nobody rabbit-punches, hits on the break, sticks a thumb in an eye (shame on you, Donny), curses, backhands, elbows or does any of the other nasty things Fritzie Zivic did on the way to the welterweight championship, for charity. We should just be thankful that when it came to the boxers' skills, this bout looked like a three-round punch-out between Marie Osmond and Susan Dey.
At least the proceedings resembled real boxing in one respect: The judges screwed up. They gave a split decision to the 34-year-old Bonaduce, who, when not doing an imitation of the Australian crawl, set a world record for losing his headgear. He and his bonnet parted company three times in the second round alone, so confusing the timekeeper that the round lasted only 49 seconds, a charitable act much appreciated by the onlookers. For his part Osmond, 36, was no Ali, but he did land more scoring blows than Bonaduce.
Bonaduce attempted to go out a gracious winner, but Osmond would have none of that. Suggesting angrily that he had been robbed, which proves he does know something about the sport, he offered to go another round. "Go fight your sister," snarled Bonaduce, a radio personality for Chicago's WLUP-FM, the sponsor of the event. "Take off your —- gloves. Bare knuckles."
Cooler heads said knock it off. As the winner, Bonaduce gave his share of the gate, $8,400, to the—don't laugh—Tom and Roseanne Arnold Foundation, while Osmond's share, $2,100, went to the Children's Miracle Network.
Sitting at ringside, former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks, one of the few bona fide boxing figures at the bout, weighed in with his opinion: "They shouldn't have given it to the guy who kept losing his headgear."
"What did Leon say?" asked one ringside commentator, the one who announced to the crowd at the China Club that Osmond was trying to jab his way out of a clinch.
"I don't know," said the other, the one who, after watching Bonaduce warm up violently before the fight, had said in amazement, "He looks like he's shadow-boxing with himself."
Maybe that would have been a better idea.
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