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Oops. "Riddick Bowe Day," which was to be declared late today in Annapolis by an appropriate politician, was called off as the heavyweight champ had to flee to New York on business.
It was almost with pride the World Boxing Council announced the other day that due to a failure to reach an agreement with designated challenger Lennox Lewis that Bowe was relinquishing his WBC heavyweight title. "[This decision] could prove to be a turning point in boxing history," a spokesman crowed.
One thing to remember about Riddick as he loses the belt: Before beating Evander Holyfield for the title, he agreed in writing to meet the winner of the Lewis-Razor Ruddock bout, which turned out to be the former. So much for the man's word.
Compounding the folly of not allowing some time for the situation get straightened out and keep the title unified, the WBC has simply handed the crown to Lewis, which flies in the face of all that old saw about a champion winning his title in the ring.
Hey, it's boxing, right?
* Main reason for the Washington Capitals' success of late is the fact their special teams lead the NHL, their power play showing a plus-18. Speaking of the NHL, only about one in four ties (23 of 99) is broken by the five-minute overtime period. Time to make it 10 minutes.
* Strange, the different reactions to Vinny Pazienza's return to boxing from a broken neck, and Kent Desormeaux, rehabbing after suffering several hairline skull fractures when he was kicked by a horse after a spill during a race. While many say Paz is cuckoo for coming back despite getting the medical OK, the jockey is all but commanded to rush back as quickly as possible (four to six weeks).
* As American as apple . . . strudel? A couple of high school girls basketball teams got together in Prince George's County the other night and the victors were led in scoring by an exchange student from Australia while the losing team was paced by an exchange student from Holland.
* Towson State, 76-28-5 entering its fifth season of hockey, hits the semester break with an 11-4-1 record after beating Johns Hopkins, 8-6, and Loyola, 16-3, last week. The Tigers, who captured a four-team tourney at the West Virginia University Dec. 5-6, are rated 16th in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (not affiliated with the NCAA) and are the defending champs in the 10-team Mason-Dixon College Hockey Association, which they currently lead with a 7-0 mark.
* San Francisco, it seems, is going to provide baseball for its citizens whether the people want it or not. Not only have the folks in the Bay area voted down four new ballpark proposals, they aren't much at trudging out to miserable Candlestick Park to watch, either. Regardless, city officials have voted to pick up the entire yearly tab of $3.1 million to run "The Stick" as the new team owners pay $1 in rent. Psst, don't let Eli know.
* Hoopla: In the hoop polls, teams should be made to play at least one opponent before they show up in the ratings. Like Georgetown, for instance. When does it start its schedule? . . . There seems something sacrilegious about Rosary College pouring it on Mount Mercy, 95-69. . . . Didja ever notice West Coast teams rarely take a swing through the Midwest, upstate New York or New England during their holiday junkets. . . . Even worse than losing to St. Mary's, 65-64, was the fact Villanova had to fly 3,000 miles to California to do it. . . . New schools seem to appear in the college scores every weekend. Anyone ever heard of George Fox College? . . . And there's a school named Beaver?
* Let's hear it for Sandy Hawley, the Canadian who became the first jockey to win 500 races in a year right here at Laurel on Dec. 15, 1973. He recently became the ninth jock to record 6,000 victories and he says he has every intention of going for 7,000.
* The World Junior Hockey Championships begin the day after Christmas in Sweden and Team USA enters with a veteran cast that went 5-2 last year. One of the offensive guns figures to be Pat Peake, a top draft choice ('91) of the Washington Capitals who has scored 69 points (35 goals) in just 21 games in the Ontario Hockey League.
* According to MIT grad Jeff Sagarin's computer ratings, the teams meeting for the mythical national championship in the Sugar Bowl, Miami (1) and Alabama (2), are rated just 3 and 7, due mostly to a couple of cupcakes on the schedule.
* Speaking of cupcakes, Kansas invited Mississippi Valley State out for its Harvest Classic hoops festival and showed great hospitality by taking a 41-4 lead before the second TV timeout. The Jayhawks won their own tournament by outscoring two opponents by 94 points.