Bowe-Holyfield bout is not to be missed


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Home Box Office runs the terrific battle between Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield for the heavyweight championship tonight (10), so cancel plans or find a friend wired for HBO and be tubeside.

Rare is it when heavyweights go toe-to-toe for three minutes, much less three minutes for 12 straight rounds. The constant action is reminiscent of the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier series, topped by the "Thrilla in Manila."

With the Bowe camp threatening to dip into the legends (George Foreman) for an opponent and fighting in faraway places (China), it's not likely we'll have a title bout pitting two evenly matched fighters (Bowe vs. Lennox Lewis) for a spell. So enjoy.

* This weekend is the biggie as far as collegiate football rivalries are concerned, which means coaches are at their absolute best at avoiding saying anything that might serve as a motivating factor for their rivals.

The award for guarded statements has been determined and it came out a tie between Temple's soon-to-be-fired mentor Jerry Berndt and Doug Graber of Rutgers. The Owls (1-9) and Scarlet Knights (6-4) collide in Philadelphia Saturday and no more than a minute into news conferences yesterday, the coaches parroted, "You can throw the record books out in this one."

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech's Frank Beimer, whose Hokies take on Virginia, says, "This is the biggest game in this state," obviously forgetting that William & Mary will be getting it on against Richmond and Hampden-Sydney and Randolph-Macon played last weekend.

Up in Pennsylvania, Pitt (3-7) limps into Penn State (6-4) to end their long and storied series (for a while) and with Joe Paterno of the Nittany Lions warning, "It's not what Pitt has done that's important now, it's what they can do."

Up in Cambridge, Mass., where Harvard (2-7) and Yale (4-6) get together in The Game for the thousandth time, the teams prepped smartly last Saturday, losing to Penn and Princeton, respectively.

The Big Game, Stanford vs. Cal, is in Berkeley, and you can bet the Golden Bears will invite both bands to be on the field if it's close at the end.

All games are not traditional rivalries on college football's last big weekend, of course, and Don Nehlen of West Virginia knows all about that.

"I think our fans have no idea how good Louisiana Tech is," the coach said of Saturday's visitor to Mountaineer Stadium. "I think people in the administration thought they were scheduling a team that's not very good and are they going to be surprised. I can't believe Tech's size. Alabama had all it could do to score on them, they beat Baylor, lost to South Carolina by a point and lost to Mississippi on a late touchdown."

* The names aren't those of fighters usually found competing in main events, but the boxing card at Martin's West Tuesday should be as action-packed as any found around here in quite a spell. In the 10-rounder, Les Johnson (16-1) and Demetrius Davis (9-2) collide in a neighborhood showdown, and the co-featured eights have Chuckie Sturm (25-3) taking on New York's Genero Anjular and Jason Waller (14-4) checking out Scott Jones (5-1). Most of these ringmen are types who figure they'll be penalized a point if they take a backward step.

* The Washington Capitals, the "Three Faces of Eve" squad of the NHL, have the Minnesota North Stars (8-8-2) at Capital Centre tonight (7:35) and coach Terry Murray hopes the heart-to-heart he had with the players yesterday has the desired effect.

Murray gave the boys a day off Sunday but made up for it the next day with a double session. The message was loud and clear: The pressure is not off. This is not last year, when the Caps were a free-wheeling, high-scoring team.

"We're not paying the price," said Murray. "We're not going to the net and taking the pounding you have to take in there to be successful. We can't be losing two-goal leads at home as happened against New Jersey [Saturday night]."

* Draft story: Every time I see the name Hobie Landrith, which isn't too often come to think of it, I harken back to the 1961 National League draft in which Casey Stengel made the veteran catcher the New York Mets' first pick.

Asked why, the Ol Perfessor replied, "It's always nice to have a catcher; otherwise, the ball goes all the way back to the backstop."

* The Baltimore sports franchises, past and present, were well represented at the opening of the Michigan State University Hall of Fame. There were Robin Roberts of the Orioles, Bubba Smith and Earl Morrall of the Baltimore Colts and Johnny Green of the Baltimore Bullets.

* There's still an opening or two available for the Northern Central Trail Marathon sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources and the Baltimore Road Runners Nov. 28. All but the first 1.5 miles from the start at Sparks Elementary School are on the bike and running path where the old railroad tracks used to run.

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