Michael Marley's Top 10 Things I Learned On The Mothership

22.01.07 - By Michael Marley, The Mothership? That's what this randy burg is to boxing. What happens here does not always stay here, Here's some things I learned or relearned at the Punchfest at The Paris Hotel & Casino.

1. His rabid Mancunian (that means people from Manchester, UK) followers love to sing about "There Is Only One Ricky Hatton" in a weird chant/song that then becomes "Winter Wonderland." The 2500 or so Hattonmaniacs who were here were strictly blue-collar types who believe that "beer is good food" and that good nutrition starts with a beer breakfast. I didn't see any lager louts but one waiter at the Strip view Mon Ami Gabi told me he could not understand "a fookin' word" the Mancunians were saying so he had them point to what they wanted on the "fookin'" menus. Promoter Artie Pelullo, a South Philly cat, is starting to have a combo Philly/Mancunian accent..

2. Hatton lead promoter Dennis Hobson, he of Fight Academy and Clinton Woods fame, is a Sheffield man (Prince Naseem's hometown). Hobson replaced promoter Frank Warren for several reasons but my favorite is that he became Ricky's fookin' drinking buddy. When he was growing up, Ricky's parents were pub owners so Ricky as, shall we say, comfortable in a boozer and around boozers.

3. Night after the fight, Ricky and pals did put on their drinking shoes and sat in the front to see crooner Tom Jones over at the MGM, I believe. Expect the Hatton fans to now come up with Hatton tunes which segue into "It's Not Unusual" and "What's New, Pussycat." Imagine Ricky singing to Jose Luis Castillo in the buildup to their June 2 fight about his "pussycat eyes and pussycat nose." Castillo plans to tune up Ricky's belly with the vicious body-punching skills he learned while in the employ of a Mr. JC Chavez. That's when I first saw Fernando Beltran's pride and joy, when JL was a teenaged sparmate for the national idol of all Mexico.

4. Good to see troubled Jim Lampley back in his natural habitat, ringside. I did not hear one boo, jeer or catcall directed at Lamps. I'm not saying there weren't any but I didn't hear one.
Lampley's domestic abuse charges weren't exactly front page news in the Manchester Evening News or in the papers down in Mexicali either. Anyway, word in Los Angeles legal circles is that accuser/former beauty pageant winner Candice Summers is hiring mouthpiece Gloria Allred to help her get a ka-ching, ka-ching, civil case settlement. She signs on the dotted line, gets her cash and new hot wheels, whatever, then the criminal case may be tossed into File 13.

5. The One And Only Ricky Hatton was pretty fookin' good for the first five or six rounds before he started hugging on mechanical man Juan Urango. I was told that trainer Billy Graham pugilistic preaching in Hatton's corner was to clinch whenever necessary. I'd like to think Graham gives better advice....but I will say this about Graham, his face has that I lived 150 years and drank every day and night look. His skin has more leathery wrinkles than a bunco artist. Keith Richards say hello to your "Iron Twin," Billy Graham. Two fookin Rolling Stones from the UK, eh?...

6. I see that Prince is bunking in at the Rio with his very own nightclub. I hear he actually performs there every Arbor Day or something. If Greg Page lookalike Morris Day is over there with his hand mirror, his manservant "Jerome," and flapping his arms to do "The Bird,"
I will be there on my next trip to The Mothership. Btw, years ago ex-fighter turned promoter Sterling McPherson and I were walking into Stringfellow's disco in London. We spotted Prince, who looks like a bantamweight at best, sliding through the door. On one side of his face Prince has the letters "SL" and on the cheek he had "AVE." McPherson and I had a good fookin' laugh at that. McPherson, who is black, said, "If he's a slave, I'm going to ask him where I can sign up." I've always got "The Time" to see my man Mo Day...

7. I believe that HBO's Unofficial Official, pal Harold Lederman, has an undercover financial interest in rising heavyweight contender and "White Tyson," Ruslan Chagaev. Just jiving but Hal Pal does go on and on about the southpaw slinger will win a world title. Of course, Hal Pal can also name and describe the top 30 mini-flyweights in Thailand...

8. Keith Kizer seems to have now settled in comfortably into his job as Marc Ratner's replacement on the Nevada commission. As for UFC Commissioner Ratner, he was all over the fight scene just as a fan. Ratner has a neat goatee, making him hip enough for his younger UFC colleagues I suppose, and said he is "still learning" about MMA. He does not believe that MMA puts boxing out of business but that both will be successful going forward...

9. Live wire Mike Martino, a commission inspector, was down from his Reno stomping grounds and talking about the revved-up college boxing program he oversees. Martino has been a one-man dynamo in keeping University Of Nevada, Reno (Marley's alma mater, no Harvard for me) boxing alive and well. Martino reports that ailing referee Mills Lane's two sons have started their own boxing promotional company. I wish the Lane boys well in the snake pit...

10. Johnny Tocco. Irving "Ash" Resnick. Mel "Red" Greb. Tony "Mister T" Trudnich. Ref Mitch Halpern. Charles "Sonny" Liston....those are some the Boxing Ghosts Of Las Vegas I thought about over the weekend. Tocco, who had the fabled gym down near Glitter Gulch, had a personal motto that lives on. "It Takes Balls To Conquer The World" was Tocco's watchword...

Bonus Round: I had the pleasure of meeting "Pocket Rocket" and now thriving trainer Wayne McCullough and his unbeaten super middle Librado Andrade briefly. Andrade has an upcoming ring date in Denmark against also undefeated Mikkel Kessler. If you put reluctant Welsh Dragon Joe Calzaghe aside, is there any doubt Andrade and Kessler are the world's two best at 168 pounds? Andrade looks as tall as light heavy king Woods, btw. Finally, McCullough gives high marks to fellow Irishman and prospect John Duddy. McCullough said the victory over Yory Boy Campas was a fair measure of Duddy's pugilistic progress...

Didn't have time on this trip to take colleagues Ric Lois and John Chavez to the Liberace Museum but both of them love to watch tapes of how the flamboyant one used to tickle the ivories. And, as Don King likes to say, you can't play the white keys without the black keys...whatever that means.

Article posted on 22.01.2007

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