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Davis, Johnson move from play ring as kids to center ring as headliners


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Demetrius Davis reports he and tomorrow night's main event opponent at Martin's West, Les Johnson, "fought six times as amateurs and he never beat me."

Johnson retorts, "We fought once when we were 12 years old and, yeah, he won. A lot's happened since then."

"I'm not a bragger," Davis continued, "but I'm faster, a better boxer and I hit harder than Les."

Johnson's rejoinder: "I hope Davis shows up with a full tank, because 10 rounds can make for an awfully long time."

They say (conflicting) styles make for good fights and, if that's the case, this battle of the Washington suburbs should be the genuine article. Johnson is 16-1, ranked eighth among USBA middleweights and figures he's two wins away from a title show. Davis (9-2) is on a five-bout winning streak, scoring an impressive knockout in his last bout, "after losing 10 pounds in one day in order sub for a guy at the last minute."

Promoter-matchmaker Stu Satosky says there will be at least 1,800 fans on hand for the 7:30 p.m. show and he has a strong undercard topped by Chuckie Sturm, Jason Waller and Scott Jones.

* You've heard the term glutton for punishment? If truth be known, it's the alias of Buzz Sawyer, father, mother, sister and brother of the JFK 50-mile hike-run, which celebrated its 30th anniversary Saturday.

After putting in countless hours each year since 1963 nurturing his baby, Buzz is turning over the reins to Mike Spinnler, who still holds the record of 5:53:05 over the rugged Appalachian Trail-Potomac River Towpath course from Boonsboro to Hagerstown.

"It's fully my intention to run next year to mark my turning 65 years old," says Sawyer, who again handled 352 starters and 297 finishers with style and grace last weekend.

"Actually, I've been looking for my replacement since the 25th and I'm both proud and happy Mike Spinnler is taking it on," Buzz continued. "Mike not only sees the race from the perspective of a champion and record holder, but from that of a guy who was barely able to break 14 hours in his first shot at it."

Ironically, it was Spinnler's victory in 1982 that qualifies as Sawyer's most memorable JFK, "because it was a great effort by a Washington County native, which, of course, is important to us."

Saturday, Chris Gibson of Pittsburgh won for the third time, posting a time of 6:25:39, just a few days before his 40th birthday on Thanksgiving. "Chris is the first one to win three times solo," said the director. "In the early days we had hand-in-hand ties." The women's victor, successfully defending her title, was Laura Nelson, 27, of Hagerstown, in 7:08:29.

* No one will ever be able to accuse Bill Stealy, owner of the Baltimore Spirit indoor soccer team, of being an absentee owner. In fact, Bill is not only a hands-on type of guy, he's a hands-on-mike proprietor.

No sooner did the Spirit break for halftime Saturday night during its victory over Buffalo than Stealy was up and bellowing, "Are you having any fun yet?" What followed was little games and contests, everything but pin the tail on the donkey, just like it was a 6-year-old's birthday party. Terrific.

* In the obituaries and columns recounting the broadcasting career of the inimitable Red Barber recently, scant notice was given to one of the Ol' Redhead's most memorable assignments in the halcyon days of radio sports. It was called the "CBS Football Roundup" and played Saturday afternoons until forced by the wayside by television.

Barber, working out of a studio in New York, would call in live

play-by-play reports from the game announcers covering a half-dozen games coast to coast. A particular favorite was the gent doing University of Georgia games, Ed Thilenius, in a drawl that remains a mystery to this day.

Anyway, Saturday was a fine day to go whisking around the dial hereabout what with the Navy-Rice, Virginia-Virginia Tech, Penn State-Pitt, Towson State-Delaware, Miami-Syracuse and Boston College-Army all on the menu. Most of the games and calls were interesting, but perhaps none matched the state semifinal matchup between Walkersville and Fort Hill on station WQSI out of Frederick.

Matt Hicks, announcer for Frederick Keys baseball and Mount St. Mary's hoops, was on the call, and he took an already thrilling 20-19 overtime victory by Walkersville to near classic proportions. You not only were there, you were getting as muddy as the players in this wind-swept and rain-soaked showdown in Cumberland.

A memorable line in the late going was when Matt described a late error as "the most egregious turnover of the game," which sent his analyst scurrying for a dictionary before he could offer further comment.

* Sudden thought on the Morgan State football situation: Had the players realized the score of a forfeited game is just 2-0, they well might have decided to tuck it in weeks ago when they were being shelled by 40 points weekly.

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