You have to hand it to boxers: Just when it seemed that the scars that the Mike Tyson debacle left on the sport were beginning the very slow healing process, along comes one of them to rip the bandages off and apply salt to the sore.
Hector Camacho, who had heretofore set himself apart from the rest of boxing as a preening, self-promoting clown, or at least more so than most, added racism to his repertoire Wednesday night with a vicious slur against blacks in general and the Tyson entourage in particular.
Camacho, who is preparing for a fight with Oscar De La Hoya, was interviewed by CNN/SI for his reaction to the revocation of Tyson's license to fight.
In the course of a rambling response, Camacho attempted to couch his remarks, by saying "Excuse me, if there's any blacks here, OK?", then said, "African-American has their behavior (sic), and then you got n----- behavior. You know? And that's the behavior that Mike Tyson has around his entourage and it scares people away, his no class."
Camacho went on to say that the distinction he had drawn was the reason that Tyson promoter Don King "goes to the ghetto, you know, and promotes stuff." Camacho then said, "I don't know what I just said. You know I'm not your politician. That's what Mike's problem is, he's got too many n------ around him."
CNN/SI anchor Fred Hickman, who is African-American, was dumbfounded by Camacho's blast, saying only, "You know, just when I think I've heard the dumbest thing ever, I get amazed once again. You know I have nothing to say."
So far, Camacho has had nothing to say, either in clarification or in apology. Of course, Tyson's conduct has been widely castigated and rightfully so, but Camacho's words are far more damaging than Tyson's biting of Evander Holyfield, and he must pay a price.
A great place for that to start would be for the fight's promoters and Time Warner, which will be carrying the Camacho-De La Hoya pay-per-view bout, to cancel Camacho's contract and send him off without a dime. But that would be ethical behavior and one should never hold one's breath waiting for ethical behavior in television or in boxing.
For instance, Showtime, which, with Tyson's sabbatical, loses a prime drawing card in the ring, has not ruled out the possibility of using the convicted rapist-turned ear muncher as a fight analyst.
Jay Larkin, a network executive, says he'll wait until Tyson gets his life together before making a definitive call, but as sure as the sun rises in the east, Tyson will don headsets for Showtime. What a pity!
Third man in
TNT yesterday announced that former Washington Redskins offensive lineman Mark May will join Verne Lundquist and Pat Haden in the booth for its coverage of the NFL this fall.
May, who had been brilliant in two years in the TNT studio, should make the already exception tandem of Haden and Lundquist even better. The move became possible when the network hired two new studio analysts, former Green Bay Packers Sean Jones and Keith Jackson.
Calling the Caps
When the Washington Capitals' season begins in October, Steve Kolbe will be the new radio voice of the team, taking over for Ron Weber, who was unceremoniously bounced after last season, after calling every game the team had played over its 22-year history.
Kolbe had been the pre- and post-game host for Caps broadcasts on WTEM (570 AM) for two years and did color on 12 games. He's been with the all-sports radio station since it signed on in 1992.
Meanwhile, Joe Beninati, who called the Caps' road games on television, will now call all the team's televised games.
Beninati, who worked with Weber on some games last year, will join analyst Craig Laughlin on the telecasts.
Around the dial
The Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore., is the site of the biggest action of the weekend as well as the biggest question: Can Annika Sorenstam capture an unprecedented third straight U.S. Women's Open? The course just happens to be the same one at which Tiger Woods won a third straight U.S. Amateur title last year. ESPN will carry second-round coverage today at 4 p.m. and at 7: 30 p.m., with NBC (Channel 11) taking over tomorrow and Sunday at 4 p.m.
The WNBA trifecta this weekend starts tonight with Los Angeles playing host to Utah at 9 on Lifetime. Tomorrow finds Houston meeting Sacramento on NBC at 2, with Cleveland and New York tangling Monday night at 7: 30 on ESPN.
Finally, HBO has a heavyweight fight tomorrow night from Lake Tahoe, pitting two Brits, Lennox Lewis and Henry Akinwande against each other. Mouth guards are encouraged.
Milton Kent can be reached via E-mail at MDKENT2ol.com
Pub Date: 7/11/97