Never underestimate the power of women. After centuries of men cheapening, exploiting and bloodying the nose of boxing, women are making it even worse.
Take this Friday night, when Muhammad Ali's daughter Laila will fight Joe Frazier's daughter Jacqui in Verona, N.Y., in a bout billed as Ali-Frazier IV. The IV doesn't refer to intravenous drip, which is what both will probably need after the fight because they come at an opponent, eyes closed, as your little sister did when you made fun of her braces. No, the IV refers to this being the fourth time an Ali has fought a Frazier, the first three having been more than 26 years ago, when their fathers were building a historic rivalry welt-by-welt, a legacy their spoiled-brat daughters are spending now like an allowance.
Hey, I know! Next, let's have Bjorn Borg's daughter play John McEnroe's daughter, best of three sets! Let's have Larry Bird's daughter go one-on-one with Magic's daughter! Let's have Khrushchev's daughter bang her shoe on Caroline Kennedy's desk!
Methinks the billing for this Ali-Frazier bout is all wrong. The promoters should have called it Dames with Names, because that's all we're talking about, two cash-grubbing neofights who in no way deserve to headline a card, much less get a hefty pay-per-view paycheck—or their mugs on the cover of this week's TV Guide.
"Who have they fought?" asks bona fide junior welterweight Kathy (Wildcat) Collins, who could whip them both and balance her checkbook at the same time. "Prostitutes and cocktail waitresses!"
She's right. Two bouts back, Ali (9-0) KO'd purple-haired former hooker Marjorie Jones, 48, who filled in at the last minute when her son's girlfriend backed out. Jones, who swung as if cops were trying to toss her in the vice wagon, lost in 1:08. Slam, bam, thank you, ma'am!
In her debut fight Ali needed only 31 seconds to tip over waitress April Fowler, who'd never fought before and is presumably back slinging hash, not uppercuts. Customer complaints are down, though.
Not that Frazier's opponents have been anything but blowup dolls. In her first bout she took on 19-year-old Teela Reese, who turned her back when she saw Frazier coming. Frazier has built a 7-0 record against opponents with a grand total of two victories.
No wonder these two phonies are cashing in now. If they wait much longer, one of them might lose to a woman swinging her purse as she settles into the first row.
It's not as if they need the money. The 23-year-old Ali owns a successful nail salon and, from the tape I've seen, could fight without breaking one. Frazier is a 39-year-old personal-injury lawyer (motto: We break jaws, not laws!), though none of her opponents would have a need for her legal services. She didn't start boxing until last year, after she saw Ali doing it and a great big dollar sign flashed before her eyes.