Hamed (29-0) recently signed a six-fight, $12 million deal with HBO, and with his snarling mug plastered on promotional billboards from Times Square to Sunset Boulevard, the Prince did the States right. In the days before the fight he held a series of celebrity-laden parties at his New York Palace hotel suite, appeared on Conan O'Brien's show (where he proclaimed that he will soon "be bigger than Michael Jordan") and hung out with another self-pronounced monarch, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. "I came to introduce myself to the United States," said Hamed. "I knew Americans would like me because they appreciate the difference between arrogant and superconfident."
It's a fine line. The much-hyped ring entrance for the 5'3", 126-pound Prince included blaring rap music, disco lights, fog-pumping machines and $900 worth of confetti. In a 10-minute scene that was bizarre even by boxing standards, Hamed gave new meaning to the term shadowboxing, his silhouette visible as he danced and jabbed behind a curtain. Kelley, meanwhile, seethed in the ring and stood on a turnbuckle beckoning his opponent to "come on, already."
The knockout artist currently known as Prince finally somersaulted his way into the ring. Then he nearly saw his American unveiling vanish in the haze. In a wildly entertaining bout that featured six knockdowns, Hamed's faux leopard-skin trunks touched the canvas three times. He exhibited an unorthodox southpaw style, unloading crisp punches from the most improbable angles—even occasionally when airborne—while maintaining a steady stream of rubbish talk. By the time Hamed knocked out Kelley with a straight left at 2:27 of the fourth round, no one seemed to mind that the frenetic action in the ring had lasted scarcely longer than Hamed's entrance.
Profile in Courage
In his first eight seasons as Colgate basketball coach. Jack Bruen staged a manic one-man show during games. By the end of the first quarter his coat and tie were usually off, his face was ruddier than the Red Raiders' uniforms, and he was lobbying the referees with Pagliaccian passion. This season the sideline histrionics gave way mostly to a quiet demonstration of courage. And now they have ceased altogether.
Last Friday morning Bruen, 48, died of pancreatic cancer, two months after he was discovered to have the disease. To no one's surprise, Bruen had continued coaching. His final game on the bench was just six days before he died, when he directed the Red Raiders to an 80-69 win over Marist.
Under doctor's orders Bruen had tried to maintain his calm during games this year. His jacket stayed on, his hollow-cheeked face didn't change color as much as it used to, and his restrained lobbying made him a self-proclaimed "ref pleaser." Bruen himself was an everybody-pleaser. Until recently he still held postgame court at the Hour Glass, an off-campus bar in downtown Hamilton, N.Y., where he would chow down on wings, his hearty belly shaking with laughter. Former Colgate players and coaches from all levels made pilgrimages to Hamilton to see him. All knew they were visiting with Bruen for the last time, but Bruen stayed positive and rarely talked about himself. As Marc Criqui, captain of the 1989-90 Red Raiders team, put it, "Jack makes everyone who's ever played for him feel as if they're part of the program."
It was the same with this year's team, which rarely talked about Bruen's cancer or the special circumstances of the season. "This win was for the coach," senior guard and captain Seth Schaeffer said after an early-season victory over Dartmouth, "but we've been coming to play for the coach ever since we got here."
A Dunk of Their Own
Less than a week after the NBA threw out its slam-dunk contest in favor of a coed shooting match also involving WNBA players, the latter league's rival, the ABL, announced that it would hold a dunking contest for a half dozen of its most vertically gifted women at its All-Star Game. On Jan. 17 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., competitors will attempt to jam on a regular 10-foot-high rim using a regulation ABL ball, which is the size of a men's college ball. Considering that no woman has slammed in a pro game, there will certainly be no skying from the foul line, no blindfolded whirly-birds and no flying over relatives sitting in chairs en route to the hoop. But the ABL will score a publicity coup if any of the contestants perform more than a bare-bones slam.