Cash and Parry
Further proof that big-time boxing has slipped completely into the abyss of promoting, overpromoting, money and more money was evinced as much by a fight that was called off last week as by any of those pay-per-view charades that actually unfold. Promoters spent months blustering about a rematch between heavyweights George Foreman and Michael Moorer that was to be held on Feb. 29 at Madison Square Garden. The showdown was set up to honor the 25th anniversary of one of the most memorable bouts from the last golden age of heavyweights: Joe Frazier's stirring 15-round title defense against Muhammad Ali.
But after Foreman and his trumpeters—Bob Arum and HBO—jousted repeatedly over both how to promote the fight and how to divide the multimillion-dollar take, they spiked the bout, citing irreconcilable differences that came down to one thing: cash. Not that Foreman vs. Moorer II, which had none of today's contrived titles attached to it, was worthy of being linked to Ali-Frazier I. At the time of that classic bout, Foreman was a lean, very mean and extremely talented heavyweight readying himself to take the title from Frazier in '73. Today he's a big ox in a barren division, looking to trade in on his charisma for a few more paydays.
But then who in boxing isn't angling for a payday? Consider that Frazier, when he was asked earlier this month about the proposed tribute, referred inquiries to his son Marvis. "How can I have an opinion," asked Smokin' Joe, "if he's the man who writes the checks?" Marvis, meantime, hinted that his father would participate in any forthcoming promotions—if the price was right.
Bacon's Rebellion II?
Wild pigs have always inhabited parts of Berlin, where about one sixth of the city's 883 square kilometers are forested, but they've never gone as hog-wild as they've been going recently. Since the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989, the Wildschweine have had more room to roam, and they have been lumbering out of the woods and onto the streets, searching for food in ever larger, ever bolder groups. While many Berliners have taken a shine to the insurgent swine, city officials are going full bore trying to quell them—a record 936 wild pigs were killed during the 1994-95 hunting season, which ended March 31.
Yet it hasn't been easy. Traps often net domestic dogs and cats, and hunting rules are strict because the pigs live in areas frequented by walkers, joggers and homeless people. Hunters hide in trees and wait for pigs that are on their way to forage freshly watered gardens or to chew up a golf course or two. Some of the animals have moved into abandoned buildings, and others like to gather near restaurants, where employees and customers tend to treat them exceedingly well. "We urgently warn all citizens to refrain from feeding the pigs," says Berlin's senator of the environment, Volker Hassemer. "It is a misguided effort to show love for the animals."
The beloved boars have bitten people unwilling to share their fare, and last summer a group of pigs hammed it up during morning rush hour by ambling across a major thoroughfare and bringing traffic to a halt. "We feel our lives are endangered," says Lieselotte Pertek, 62, whose dog was bitten by a pig. "The pigs sit impudently in front of the door and won't even let us out. This can't go on."
But it will, says Elmar Lakenberg, head of Berlin's Grunewald forestry office. "These pigs have lost their natural fear," Lakenberg says. "And they will pass that along to their offspring."
For the record, mating season is well underway.