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Scorecard July 28, 1997
Edited by Hank Hersch and Alexander Wolff
July 28, 1997
Ex-Cal Coach Sanctioned...Father Holyfield...Who Will Own the Islanders?...First Boxing Nationals for Women...The Creatine Craze...Lee Smith Retires
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July 28, 1997

Scorecard July 28, 1997

Ex-Cal Coach Sanctioned...Father Holyfield...Who Will Own the Islanders?...First Boxing Nationals for Women...The Creatine Craze...Lee Smith Retires

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Spano has said in a deposition that he built a fortune out of an inheritance from a grandfather named Angelo. But questions about the source of his wealth, which he recently claimed to be $207 million, surfaced publicly this month when Newsday reported that Spano's grandfathers were named Antonio and Charles, and that neither died with an estate worth more than $246,000. Last week Spano would not tell SI the amount willed to him or its source, but did say he has documentation to substantiate his fortune. He also said that, just as critical payments on the Islanders deal came due, he went through "somewhat of a reversal-of-cash-flow condition that happened to one of my businesses."

While Spano has questions to answer, so does Bettman, who recommended Spano to Pickett as a possible buyer and in April called Spano "the type of person we want as an owner." Apparently the bankers' confidence in Spano contributed to the league's gullibility. "Our guidelines were not applied negligently," says Bill Daly, the NHL's senior vice president for legal affairs. "But we have to go back and assess the procedures so it never happens again."

Distaff Dukes

On July 16, several hours before her quarterfinal bout in the first USA Boxing Women's National Championships in Augusta, Ga., LaKiea Coffen left her hotel room for a nearby Taco Bell, where she vaporized much of the menu. Coffen, a 165-pound amateur from Washington, D.C., soon paid the price. Following her three-round thumping of Heather Dunn she came face to face with the toughest foe of 'em all, Kid Porcelain. "LaKiea's got a lot of skills and talents," said Barry Hunter, Coffen's coach, after his fighter threw up. "But sometimes you have to learn to be serious."

That's a lesson most of those in the distaff fight game have already learned. The women's nationals, with smooth footwork, purposeful jabs and more-Etonian-than-you'd-expect sportsmanship on display, was far removed from the grotesque blood-a-thons marking the sport's professional version and associated with current pro champ Christy Martin. "And the discipline!" said Sandy Martinez-PiƱo, a member of the board of directors for USA Boxing, amateur boxing's domestic governing body. "Ask the trainers who the first boxers are to show up at the gym each morning. It's the women. They could be the future of the sport."

Or the present. Along with Coffen, 19, who won her weight class, several others in the field of 67, spread out over 12 divisions, could become crowd-pleasing pros. The best was 132-pound champ Melissa (Honeygirl) Salamone, a blur from Miami who, picking up on the braggadocio expected of sweet scientists, all but guaranteed a future win over Martin. "She punches," said Salamone. "I box."

By last Saturday night's finals the talk at ring side was already about a world amateur championship, a spot on the Olympic program, ever respect. "I swore I'd never, ever, ever work with a girl," said Johnny Duke, who has been a trainer for 54 years and has worked with Mike Tyson "I said if women got hit in the boobies it would cause cancer. But I gave it a chance, and I've changed. There's something special about women's boxing and about this event. By being here, we're making history."

The Carbohydrate of the '90s

The Portland (Maine) Sea Dogs are on a pace to become the first team in the history of the Double A Eastern League to hit 200 home runs. While some attribute their power surge to juiced-up baseballs and weaker pitching, many Sea Dogs instead give credit to an over-the-counter nutritional supplement: creatine monohydrate. "It's definitely made me stronger," says designated hitter John Roskos, whose 23 dingers through Sunday are more than twice his total for all last season with Portland.

Creatine is an amino acid synthesized in the liver and pancreas and present in meat and fish. Stored in the muscles, it helps regenerate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), one of the body's sources of quick energy. According to a study in July's Journal of the American Dietetic Association, weightlifters who took supplementary creatine could do more powerful jump squats and more bench-press repetitions because their ATP was replenished faster. "It's no different from the discovery in the 1970s that carbo loading could help marathon runners," says one of the study's authors, William Kraemer, a professor of applied physiology at Penn State. "Creatine is like a carbohydrate for the anaerobic system."

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