Round two of fight game's reprieve

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 February, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 February, 1997, 12:00am

The last time Wharf Cable Cineplex offered a live pay-per-view boxing match it was the Holyfield-Tyson classic.

While hardly the redemption of the fight game, it went some small way to quelling a groundswell of cynicism following a trio of Tyson mismatches which the movie channel had aired previously.

Now Wharf are back with a new offering, the Lennox Lewis v Oliver McCall clash in Las Vegas for the vacant WBC heavyweight title on February 8.

This should be a proper contest, unlike Tyson's pattycake knockouts of Peter McNeeley and Bruce Seldon.

Lewis and McCall have built up a healthy grudgery following their earlier meeting. It was Lewis' first mandatory defence of the WBC title after he became the first British champion in more than 100 years.

But his reign was shortlived, as the fight was stopped in the second round when Lewis was knocked down. He complained that he could have continued.

That kind of history makes for potential fireworks - appropriate enough at the Lunar New Year weekend. On the other hand it could be a damp squib - don't forget that feeling of being swindled after the Tyson-Seldon fiasco.

Wharf's on-screen advertising is operating on the principle that you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time.

One of the lines in the ad refers, in as many words, to Tyson ducking a challenge by Lewis for one of his belts. The clear implication is that Tyson was scared of losing.

Only a few months ago, the previews to Tyson's pay-per-views (Bruno, McNeeley, Buster Mathis Jnr, Seldon and Holyfield) portrayed Iron Mike as the meanest, toughest dude on the planet. Strange how they never mentioned his yellow streak.There's a rare opportunity to see a Spanish Primera Liga soccer match live this weekend (Sunday, February 9, 3.15am) on Wharf Sports.

With England's and Italy's domestic leagues both suspended in advance of those countries' World Cup qualifier, a hole was left in the Sunday night slot where usually one finds a Serie A match and a Premier League game.

So Wharf are opting for Real Sociedad v Valencia.

Incidentally, the aforementioned England v Italy World Cup game will be live on ESPN on February 13 (3.30 am).The Super Bowl on STAR Sports was another huge production, but once again the third period marked the effective end of the contest.

It was worth watching for Antonio Freeman's 81-yard touchdown catch, and MVP Desmond Howard's record 99-yard, kick-off return touchdown which broke the Pats' backs. The only drawback was that the half-time studio analysis was in Chinese only. Perhaps STAR could investigate the technical feasibility of running a completely separate English-language studio analysis team on a separate channel?