McCall, 31, entered the ring carrying way too much baggage, even for a sport that historically has embraced the most troubled of athletes. He is currently serving 18 months probation for one count of possession of a controlled substance; in 1996 alone he was arrested twice for drug possession. He is being supervised by a drug counselor and, according to King, monitored by Nashville police because of his arrest there on Dec. 16 for a drunken outburst in a hotel, during which he attacked a Christmas tree. On Jan. 21 McCall was indicted on a cocaine charge by authorities in Henry County, Va., near one of his several residences. Police were prepared to serve an arrest warrant on that charge last Thursday, but McCall was already in Vegas. McCall did pass both pre-and postfight drug tests.
The next day, McCall, whose $3 million purse was being withheld at press time pending an investigation, pronounced himself fit. "I think I'm great, personally," he said. He fled Lewis, he explained, as part of a Muhammad Ali—style rope-a-dope tactic, and his tears, he said, were tears of anger. But even the lords of boxing can see that McCall's behavior in the ring revealed a tormented soul, and his post-match explanations were empty, delivered as they were in a disjointed press-conference soliloquy.
"I believe he had a nervous breakdown, and maybe a reaction to how he was living outside the ring," said WBC president Jose Sulaiman. Pity that the show-must-go-on mentality of Sulaiman and others caused them to overlook the fact that McCall's life outside the ring gave strong hints that he should not be climbing inside it.
Can He Roll Left?
Before their second son was born a couple of months ago, Mike and Heather Moyer of Pleasant Gap, Pa., would lie in bed musing about what to call their kid. They liked the names of states—folks seemed to applaud the handle they had given their first son, Dakota, 2. They also wanted to use Jo (Heather's middle name) or Joe (the first name of her brother, father and grandfather). "So when he was born, on December 17," says Mike, "it came together for us." Welcome to the world, Montana Joe Moyer.
The Moyers didn't choose the name to honor you-know-who, but, says Mike, "I did like him as a football player, and Dakota has a 49ers jersey." Mom and Dad have resigned themselves to one fact about their infant's future. "Instead of Montana Joe," says Heather, "everybody calls him Joe Montana."
No-Shows Hurt the Show
For years U.S. track and field athletes have pined for a vibrant U.S. circuit—and the media coverage and money that would go with it. For now that's a remote fantasy. The popularity of the sport in America has slumped, with meets dying and sponsorship drying up. Reviving it will require the initiative and cooperation of a lot of people. The question is, How much will the athletes be willing to sacrifice?
A discouraging answer was given last Wednesday when, two days before the Chase Millrose Games in New York, three-time Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee and her fellow Olympic champion Gail Devers, the meet's biggest stars, announced they would not compete. The decision, the result of a misunderstanding regarding appearance fees, was made by the athletes' coach and manager (and, in Joyner-Kersee's case, husband), Bobby Kersee, who said, "Gail and Jackie wanted to come. I prevented it. It wasn't about the money. I thought it was disrespectful of USA Track and Field [the sport's U.S. governing body] to treat Jackie and Gail the way they did." Kersee's allusion was to the fact that neither Joyner-Kersee nor Devers is among the five athletes getting paid to compete in the USATF's Indoor Series, a slate of three televised meets that kicked off with the Millrose Games.
By the time Millrose director Howard Schmertz learned that the money to pay Joyner-Kersee and Devers would have to come from his budget, not from the USATF's, he was strapped. He scrounged up $15,000 from a variety of sources and offered it for both Joyner-Kersee and Devers, but Kersee—asserting that his athletes had been promised significantly more than that by USATF for taking part in the Series—refused. "Does anyone ask Michael Jordan to play for less than he's been promised?" asked Kersee last Friday. No, but the NBA isn't limping the way track and field is. And when it was, in the early 1980s, commissioner Larry O'Brien asked the players to accept a salary cap and a lot of other concessions, pleading that it was in the long-range interest of the game to do so. The players acceded, and the NBA has flourished.