Someone asked Cosell about the worst fight he had ever witnessed.
"The Fullmer-Benvenuti fight on Dec. 14, 1968 in a San Remo theater. I said at the time, and over the air, that what the fight fan was watching was a silent Italian movie."
He leaned out of his chair. "You're staying at the Sheraton? Look at this," he said, sweeping a hand at the opulent setting—wicker birdcages hanging among the palm fronds, gaunt wooden carvings standing in the shadows, everywhere the plash of fountains. "How inelegant and pedestrian to be staying elsewhere. Emi and I are living in the Errol Flynn suite where, I have been told by the proprietor of this hostelry, Flynn watched Beverly Aadland dance in the nude. We have a pet lizard that comes in from time to time. I have named him Roscoe."
"Because he is Roscoe," Cosell said, rearing out of his chair. "What other name is possible?"
Ken Norton, the seventh-ranked heavyweight, was talking about Foreman. "He stinks. He's going to need a bunch of luck. He's got a hard jab, but he misses it and goes off balance. And it's so hard that he can't do anything off it, like hook. And as for his big punches, you can pack a lunch before they get there. He'll last five rounds."
"If you're wrong," a Frazier supporter said, "I'm eating beans."
Over in the Skyline Hotel is a fighter who has been in a bout with George Foreman. He is a Jamaican heavyweight who fights out of Miami and is known as the Big Bamboo, a sobriquet invented by the group of stockbrokers from Toronto who discovered him. His real name is Stamford Antonarias, and everyone calls him Harris, or Two-O-Two, which is his weight. He is very popular among the cab drivers who stand in front of the hotels because he is a local fighter and has been in there with George, and what was that like? He has a round face, the size of a small pumpkin, with a few of his front teeth missing, and he has obviously suffered in the boxing wars, though he remains cheerful and honest about his record.
"I fought George Chuvalo in a main event up in Alberta and got stopped in two. I fought Jerry Quarry and got cut in six. I went against George Foreman and got knocked out in the first."
"It was the second," a bystander said.