Essett gets close, but still falls to 0-2 in championship bouts


Reading time, two minutes: Ron Essett, the Baltimore/Tampa super-middleweight (168), is now 0-for-2 in title bouts after losing to WBC champ Mauro Galvano last weekend in Capo d'Orlando, Sicily. "It was close but I can't say we got robbed because Ron didn't do enough to take the title away," said manager Tom Rothe. Essett ran into a weight problem at the end of training and was actually out running when he was scheduled to be at the pre-fight weigh-in.

* Pam Shriver, Kathy Jordan and Donna Faber constitute thU.S. women's tennis team competing at the Pan-American Games beginning in Havana, Cuba, this weekend.

* Similar to the "Curse of the Bambino," which has beset the Red Sox for the last 73 years, the "Curse of Len Bias" apparently is still hanging over the Boston Celtics. They had high hopes that Stojko Vrankovic would step forward and alleviate some of their aging frontcourt problems, but he showed up late to rookie camp in woeful shape and, what with all the unrest in his native Yugoslavia, a psychological mess.

Interesting tidbit concerning baseball's All-Star Game you might not have been aware of: Comiskey Park hosted the initial game back in '33, winning the distinction via a simple coin flip over Wrigley Field.

* A total of 27 African nations boycotted the 1976 Olympics iMontreal because a New Zealand rugby team competed in South Africa and the IOC didn't expel N.Z. from the Games. Yet for years athletes have said they don't want to see athletes penalized for the sins of governments.

* The reason Larry Holmes wanted to unload a nightclubrestaurant and other properties in his native Easton, Pa., is because he's "tired of owning things that put me to work." The former heavyweight champ hoped to realize $1 million at auction, but had to pull his wares when the top bid was about 20 percent of that.

* With just three career tournament victories, including two in the last month counting Wimbledon, Michael Stich is already up to No. 3 in the ATP Tour computer rankings. Which seems a tad premature. Whatever happened to all that depth the men talk about?

* Don't you just love it when ballclubs describe seating as lower boxes, upper boxes, terrace boxes, mezzanine boxes and club level so they can tack an extra $5 on your ticket? A guess is the new joint at Camden Yards will contain no more than a half-dozen bleacher and general admission seats (distributed by lottery).

* Considering all the road racers there are in the world, hocome the Olympics and World Championships haven't included a couple of events on their programs?

* A ballplayer who has played in both leagues, Ivan Calderon, explained the difference between the American and National thusly: "You play games in 2:15 here [National] and over there [American] it takes three or four hours. They're still playing and we're in the clubhouse eating." A check of last Sunday's games found the Montreal outfielder to be right on the mark. Six NL games averaged 2:37 while the same number in the AL averaged out to 3:16.

* I don't care what you say, "A Match Made in Heaven" (the nuptials of Macho Man Savage and Miss Elizabeth) will elevate the WWF SummerSlam pay-per-view show Aug. 26 and will go a long way toward matching the worldwide telecast of the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Di a decade ago.

* Easily the most interesting and unexpected moonlighting job of a professional athlete has to be Buffalo Bills linebacker Ray Bennett's "Darby the Dinosaur" series of books for kids.

* It's still a go for Steffi Graf to compete in the Virginia Slims of Washington tourney Aug. 19-25. Recall, the Wimbledon champ had to disengage from the Federation Cup competition with a sore right shoulder, but therapy is on schedule, according to her agent. By the way, why are agents such a large part of communication these days?

* It turns out that the World University Games in Sheffield, England (5,500 athletes from 112 countries) came up an $8 million loser, making the arrearage ($1 million?) of the U.S. Olympic Festival in Los Angeles look like chicken feed.

* Doesn't it say something about the current state of the heavyweight division when a big middleweight like Michael Moorer can put on 40 pounds and begin starching full-fledged and highly regarded heavies like Alex Stewart instantly?

* Example of the rich getting richer: While national champion Duke players Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner, Thomas and Grant Hill all are gallivanting around picking up invaluable

experience playing in the Pan American and World University Games, thousands of collegiate hoopsters don't have access to a decent summer league.

* The best distance swimmers from 15 countries will be on hand in Atlantic City, N.J., this weekend to compete in the 12th World Championship Ocean Marathon Swim around Absecon Island. Many consider this 22.5-mile test as a bigger challenge than the English Channel swim because of winds, tides, currents and temperatures, not to mention the debris twins, flotsam and jetsam.

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