Life is so bad for the New York Knicks these days it looks like death to some observers. When Boston whipped New York 131-99 last week, handing the Knicks their ninth defeat in 11 games, The New York Times erroneously indexed its account of the loss as the second item under "Obituaries."
Middleweight champion Marvin Hagler was warned last week by the World Boxing Association that he had 15 days "to come to terms on your mandatory fight with the leading available contender Fulgencio Obelmejias." For years while he was the best—or just about the best—middleweight around, Hagler was repeatedly ignored when big fights were being arranged. He was so tough and so little known—and lefthanded—that nobody with aspirations of his own wanted to get in the ring with him. Now he seems to be doing the same thing to Obelmejias. Or is he?
"He'd fight Fully Obel tomorrow," says Hagler's lawyer, Steve Wainwright. "Look, that's not the problem. Marvin knocked him out a year ago, and you won't find anybody who wants to promote the fight. Why would anybody pay to see Marvin knock out Obel again?"
Hagler doesn't want to fight Obelmejias because he has an attractive array of moneymaking bouts lined up for March, April and June, the last against Thomas Hearns, a far worthier opponent than Obelmejias. Still, Obelmejias has fought his way back up to No. 1 on the WBA's list of contenders since the Hagler beating and under WBA rules must be given the next shot at the title.
"It's politics," a bitter Hagler insists. "This is the only way they're going to get the title away from me, trying to strip me of it.
"Politics. I thought that was all over."
When several players on the same basketball team foul out, it often means defeat. Seldom, however, does a team get into as deep a hole as the West Coast Christian College Knights did a few weeks ago against the University of California-Santa Cruz Sea Lions.
The usually well-disciplined Knights had committed an average of only 17 team fouls a game, so Coach Jerry Turner wasn't concerned when injuries left him with only eight men to play Cal-Santa Cruz. Wouldn't you know? That night his players kept getting whistled, whistled and whistled. Said Sea Lion Coach Joe Richardson, "There were some strange calls. The officiating was consistently poor." Whatever the reason, the Knights got into bad foul trouble. One player fouled out, then another, then a third. The Knights kept on fouling out until only one man, 6-foot Guard Mike Lockhart, was left. "We had started in a tandem zone," Lockhart explained afterward. "Then we went to a straight 2-3 zone. After we were down to four guys we used a 2-2 box. Then a 1-2 diamond. Then a 1-1 zone. Finally a 1."