WRITERS HAVE long been entranced by boxing, what Joyce
Carol Oates once called " America's tragic theater." So entranced that
many have gone from writing about it to slipping on a pair of gloves and
entering the squared circle. Hemingway taught—or at least tried to teach—Ezra
Pound to box. George Plimpton fought Archie Moore. Norman Mailer gave light
heavyweight champ Jose Torres writing lessons in exchange for boxing lessons.
And now Jose Canseco, author of two steroid expos�s, will become the latest
scribe to climb into the ring. He recently issued a challenge: $5,000 to any
comer, and he got a taker in Vai Sikahema (right).
The retired NFL return man is now a Philadelphia
sportscaster. At 5'9" and 190 pounds, Sikahema, 45, will be at a distinct
size disadvantage against the 6'4", 240-ish Canseco, but Sikahema has
experience on his side. A former Golden Gloves boxer, he decisioned a local
deejay in a bout in January on the undercard of a Danny Bonaduce fight. And
judging by his NFL TD celebration—in which he shadowboxed the goalpost—he has
no problem roughing up an immobile object. His fight against the 43-year-old
Canseco (who's hoping the purse will help him get out of debt) will take place
at a minor league baseball stadium in Atlantic City on July 12. The prebout
hype was to begin on Tuesday with a press conference at a Philly Chrysler
Sikahema isn't the only one eager to fight Canseco.
"I figured, What the heck, I'll pound his face for five G's," former
Bruins enforcer Lyndon Byers told the Boston Herald. But the 6'1"
200-pounder was passed over. "[ Canseco] makes me puke," Byers said.
"The guy single-handedly ruined baseball, now he won't even fight someone
his own size."