Pray tell, how did HBO come up with those awful Tyson promos?


The TV repairman:

CAN YOU BELIEVE the advertisements Home Box Office has been running to hype tomorrow's fight (10 p.m.) between Mike Tyson and Alex Stewart? The premium cable usually takes the high road, but this time HBO is pushing Tyson as some sort of Predator III, ending the spot with the suggestion, "Pray for Alex Stewart." Better we should pray for HBO, so sick is the approach.

Going along with the theme obviously stolen from pro wrassling, Tyson's contribution to the bloodlust is the decree, "If I don't kill Stewart, it doesn't count." Guys, this is the Christmas season, not Halloween.

Besides, Stewart is not just another one of those half-frightened stiffs they used to line up in front of the ex-champ before his comeuppance against Buster Douglas in Tokyo last February. Stewart gained credibility not for his two dozen straight wins (all knockouts) at the start of his pro career, but for the fight he put up against Evander Holyfield last year.

It was an even fight, Stewart having slightly the better of it, before Holyfield surged late and prevailed when a cut eye stopped the Englishman.

"I was overconfident," Alex admits now. "I figured there was no way I could lose. I hope Tyson feels the same way toward me now."

The undercard at the Convention Center in Atlantic City features junior welterweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez, called the best in the business today, in a 12-round bout against Ahn Kyung-Duk of South Korea. Razor Ruddock, one of the few valid heavyweight challengers out there, fights Mike Rouse in a 10-round bout. The Tyson-Stewart fight also is scheduled for 10 rounds.

Simon Brown, the IBF welterweight champion, will appear in a 10-round non-title fight against Ozzie O'Neil.

* Anyone having trouble getting up for tomorrow's Army-Navy game (CBS, 2:35 p.m.) obviously hasn't seen "Field of Honor," a commemorative of 100 years of Army football by NFL Films. Magnifico!

Hopefully, commentator Tim Brant will cool it with his Rambo approach to game analysis. Everything is "smash-mouth" football with the guy. Last week, he rambled on about "how everybody should finish the [Auburn-Alabama] game with a bloody nose because that's the kind of rivalry it is." Not only dumb, tedious.

* Be advised (and warned), the bowl season is upon us, and not a minute too soon, considering the games that will glut the airwaves the next few weeks: Central Michigan and San Jose State collide in the California Bowl at 4 p.m. tomorrow (on Home Team Sports).

* The line of the year belongs to CBS play-by-play man Verne Lundquist, who, upon seeing a portly female Minnesota Vikings fan on his monitor during a rout of the Bears, said, "If she starts singing, the game is over."

* Television insists it doesn't exert excessive influence on college sports, but sometimes you have to wonder. ABC wanted to pit UNLV with Temple in Las Vegas in February but the Owls have a game scheduled with South Carolina that day. So the net offered to buy Temple out of the game and said it would provide a team for the Gamecocks to play, Old Dominion. Since when did ABC take over the ODU athletic department?

* Example No. 5,000 of where pro football's instant replay rule has gone wrong. There's no doubt Green Bay quarterback Anthony Dilweg's arm is going forward when he is hammered and the bouncing ball is recovered in the Packers' end zone for a Vikings' touchdown. The wimpy replay official, noting the game is in Minneapolis, reviews the play and lets it stand. Brutal.

* Tim McCarver is going to co-host the 1992 Winter Olympics on CBS with Paula Zahn? Has baseball been tossed out of the Summer Games?

* Good workout for couchies on Sunday: The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon on Channel 4 at 3 p.m., followed immediately by the Ironman Triathlon on ABC at 4. Most will be too tired to drag to the supper table.

* Yes, Channel 45 will carry Maryland playing Louisiana Tech in the Poulan-Weed Eater Independence Bowl a week from tomorrow. Maybe the Terps can arrange for an accompanying telethon since they're going to lose money taking the grossly ill-advised trip to Shreveport.

* Isn't it always the way? ABC is having a bad year with the Monday Night Football" series when, finally, it gets a blockbuster game: Giants vs. 49ers. A huge audience (estimated at 41 million) tunes in and the game is terrible. And the announcers are worse.

Contrary to the norm, with each passing game Dan Dierdorf regresses. He's not only a distraction and annoying, he's a front-runner and he hogs the microphone.

Earlier this year, Dierdorf nominated Andre Waters of Philadelphia for the gallows after questionable tactics by the defensive back. The other night, Ronnie Lott was head-hunting all over the place and Dan nominated him for the Hall of Fame. Look up the term double standard, fella.

* Hurricane Dick, as in Vitale, says he's going to tone down his act commentating on college hoops for ESPN and ABC. Strange time for the Count de Cuckoo to start worrying about his image.

* ESPN has the NCAA Division III title game between Lycoming (12-0) and Allegheny (11-1) tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. . . . Hope some enterprising sports show will dig up tape of the legendary Silky Sullivan staging his first come-from-behind victory (from 27 lengths back) just 33 years ago today . . . Anyone still interested can catch Buster Douglas and his weak explanation for his pitiful effort against Evander Holyfield while losing the heavyweight title in October on BET next Tuesday (8:30 p.m.).

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