WHERE WERE THEY?
Do trainers really train fighters anymore? Lost in all the furor over Roberto Duran's famous bellyache (page 24) are the performances of Ray Arcel and Freddie Brown, whose job it was to get Duran ready for the biggest fight of his career. Where were they when Duran reached for that extra steak, when he gulped his orange juice? How could they have let him go through such a severe weight-reduction regimen so close to fight time and then blow himself up hours before the bell sounded? Where was that steady hand on the wrist...? "No, Roberto, no more...." Once upon a time trainers used to lock themselves in with their warriors for days before a big fight. They'd monitor every morsel of food that crossed the table, every whiff of cigarette smoke that entered the room.
Where was the famous Angelo Dundee when Muhammad Ali was popping all those thyroid pills and burning the weight off so drastically before he went into the Larry Holmes fight a zombie? And how about the first Leon Spinks fight in 1978? Ali admitted he hadn't trained for that one, but you wouldn't have known it from his trainer. At Ali's workout two days before the bout, Dundee could be heard telling a few skeptical writers, " Ali's sharp as a razor for this one. I've never seen him so sharp."
Are the superstars of the ring above training? Or is it just a dying art?
It's official: the controversial $54 million Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome will open in downtown Minneapolis in time for the 1982 baseball season. But debate over the stadium continues. Will there be enough parking? Will traffic generated by events at the dome overload city streets and prevent emergency vehicles from reaching two nearby medical centers? Will stadium-related development increase land values and run off residents of several nearby low-income neighborhoods? City officials and their critics will have many an inning over the dome before the Minnesota Twins ever come to bat there.
Lately even the stadium's putative beneficiaries, the Twins and Vikings, have been drawn into the fray. One reason the Vikings said they needed a dome was for practice. But this season they unveiled a $6 million complex in suburban Eden Prairie featuring a practice field covered by an inflatable bubble. "We never said we'd have all our practices in the downtown stadium," said Viking publicist Jeff Diamond. "There will be too many other events there to allow that, and we don't want to practice all the time on the Metrodome's artificial turf. But we do expect to be there the day before home games."
That the Vikes will play those home games at the Metrodome is the source of an annoyance to Twins President Calvin Griffith. Because 10,000 movable seats for football (the stadium will seat 65,000 for football and 55,000 for baseball) will be stored under the rightfield stands, a 41-foot fence must be erected in right, where the measurement down the line is 330 feet. Calculating that only a prodigious swat would clear the wall, which will be even higher than Boston's famed Green Monster, Griffith is unhappily downplaying Minnesota's lefthanded power and scouring his farm system for fast feet and strong arms.
Recently, KTCA-TV's Jim Klobuchar asked Griffith if he was excited about moving into the dome. "To tell you the truth, I'm not too thrilled," said Griffith, "because I'm an outdoor man for baseball. I like the natural turf; I like to see the sun out; I like to see the moon coming over the leftfield stands [at soon-to-be-abandoned Metropolitan Stadium, which will net close to $1 million in 1980].... There's just atmosphere out there."
"Are you saying that you were persuaded against your better judgment to go into the dome?" Klobuchar asked.