They're never the fights you want to see, these paunch-and-Judy affairs between erstwhile professional athletes. This latest one, for instance - Jose Canseco vs. Vai Sikahema, extravagantly billed as the "War at the Shore." What bad blood could possibly exist between a former major league outfielder and a one-time NFL kick returner? I mean, did they both, years ago, date the same Playmate of the Month or something?
Still, the two ex-jocks have been trying to drum up interest in the event, scheduled for July 12 in Atlantic City. "When he hits me once, I'm going to hit him once," Canseco vowed the other day, "and hopefully his head falls off." This, of course, isn't likely to happen, even though he's a superheavyweight (6-foot-4, 245), Sikahema is a cruiserweight (5-9, 181) and Vai's teeth got rattled in his previous bout, a victory over a Philadelphia radio personality.
For one thing, somebody's head falling off would spoil any possibility of a rematch.
No, Canseco-Sikahema isn't exactly a matchup the public is clamoring for. Not like, say, Danica Patrick and Ryan Briscoe. The latter, you may have heard, knocked Patrick out of the Indianapolis 500 with some creative steering on pit road, causing fair Danica to hop out of her car and go looking for him. Alas, "cooler heads prevailed," and she was diverted to her garage before she could unleash 100 pounds of fury on the Driver Who Done Her Wrong.
Which raises the question: Why must cooler heads, in almost every instance, prevail? Why can't there be an outlet for these hostilities, a Feud Channel to go along with our Food Channel?
Why should hockey be the only sport that settles its differences on the playing field? Why should the other games be so darn adult? Is there anything worse than an unconsummated brawl in which the two principals are restrained by their teammates and/or coaches?
Well, Don Zimmer might say yes, but as for the rest of us ...
Tickets for the Canseco-Sikahema extravaganza start at $60. How much do you think people would pay for Patrick-Briscoe - especially if biting and hair-pulling were allowed? Then there'd be the pay-per-view ...
And that's just one Sports Fight That Should Be Made (but won't). Why don't we, for the fun of it, put together an entire card of such bouts - to be aired, naturally, on the Feud Channel:
*Rasheed Wallace vs. A Live Zebra, four rounds. It would be too much of a mismatch to pit the 6-11 Pistons forward - perennial NBA leader in technical fouls - against one of the game officials he so loves to hate. A n actual zebra might give him a little more trouble, trouble. Tim Duncan could work 'Sheed's corner, and Joey Crawford could work the zebra's.
*Chad Johnson vs. Mike Brown, 30-minute limit. If Ocho Cinco wins, the Bengals owner must grant his wish to be traded. If Brown wins, Johnson has to sign an extension with Cincinnati - and play on special teams for the rest of his career.
*C. Vivian Stringer, Rutgers women's basketball coach vs. Don Imus, six rounds. I can see it now: At the opening bell, Stringer races across the ring and lands a right-hand lead, dislodging Imus' cowboy hat. Midway through the first round, the referee threatens to dock the I-Man a point if he doesn't keep his punches up.
*Roger Clemens vs. Mike Piazza, 10 rounds. Could easily be the main event. In accordance with the Marquis of Queensberry rules, Clemens will be prohibited from throwing anything but punches, and Piazza will be prevented from wearing his catcher's gear. The great unknown: Will Rocket be able to pass the postfight urinalysis?
*Bob Knght vs. Myles Brand, 12 rounds. At the insistence of the Knight camp, choking will be allowed in this battle between the Hall of Fame hoops coach and the Indiana University president who fired him (before running off to head the NCAA).
*Filler bout (in case of an early knockout): Martha Burk vs. Hootie Johnson. Breaking with tradition - as is her wont - Burk enters the ring not in a robe but in a green Augusta National jacket.
As you can see, Canseco-Sikahema pales in comparison to these Instant Classics. It wouldn't even make the undercard of our Imaginary Fight Night. Poor Vai. Now sports director of a Philly TV station, he's gotten the boxing itch since making a New Year's resolution last year to drop 25 pounds.
"Tired of being fat and out of shape," he has said, "I just decided I needed to live longer and be healthier."
How, at the age of 45, getting socked in the puss helps him "live longer and be healthier" is unclear. Then again, that's how old George Foreman was when he regained the heavyweight title from Michael Moorer. And Moorer, I'll just point out, was a heavy hitter, not a designated one like Jose.