- The Washington Times - Friday, May 11, 2001

Hasim Rahman is going to Mecca.

Boxing is going to hell.

Who's on first, what's on second, and Don King is on his way to China, flashing his pearly whites.

Rahman claimed the heavyweight title belt last month, along with a legal mess. Kill all the lawyers? King has experience in that area as well.

Rahman is seeking spiritual guidance in Mecca. He also is seeking the name of his next opponent.

As usual, the specter of Mike Tyson hangs in the air. Tyson is trying not to confuse a hunger to fight with just a plain hunger. The distinction is important, considering Tyson's eating habits. He ate Evander Holyfield's ear and threatened to eat the children of Lennox Lewis, who was shocked not by the threat but by the news that he has children.

Rahman would be wise to fight Tyson during Ramadan, as long as Tyson feels obligated to observe the daily fast.

Tyson is no longer a legitimate fighter. He is the bearded lady, and that is being unfair to the bearded lady. No one cares about Tyson's training regimen these days, only his daily medication allowance. The public is willing to pay a few dollars to see if the medication is working.

It has been all downhill for Rahman since he and his family were involved in a ticker-tape mishap in Baltimore. They held a parade in his honor and dialed 911. Sometimes life is a box of gauze.

Rahman is planning to spend eight days in prayer in Mecca. He might want to double his stay. A person in his position can't say too many prayers. He is expected to have a short shelf life.

Rahman is the future ex-heavyweight champion of the world and probably broke, too, as so many are after King and the movers and shakers in boxing conclude their business. Vultures at least are honest.

Even David Tua is playing the legal game. He is the IBF's No. 1-ranked challenger, whatever that means, and he subscribes to the axiom that if you can't beat them up, you might as well sue them and hope for the best.

Tua confirms he is breathing, which is not always the case with those ranked by the alphabet soup organizations.

Darrin Morris climbed to No. 5 in the WBO super middleweight rankings last winter, which is one of the most impressive accomplishments ever in sports. After all, Morris was dead at the time.

He died last October and rose again and again in the WBO rankings until someone pointed out his exceptional emergence to the WBO. As it has been said in Hollywood, dying young is sometimes a good career move.

"He had an excellent record," WBO president Francisco Valcarcel said at the time. "He was a very good fighter."

Morris also was unbeatable, given the circumstances.

Dead men tell no tales, and they don't lose in the ring, either.

Morris is not in the mix at the moment, although one of Rahman's former managers is urging the boxer to fight a stiff, preferably one who can walk into the ring under his own power. They can negotiate whether the opponent should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

As it is, you can't tell all the players without a legal brief. You think crunching the chemical equation of photosynthesis is tough. That is nothing compared to reading the tea leaves provided by HBO, Showtime, the WBC, the WBA, IBF, IBM, MCI, King Productions and whoever else wants a slice of the financial pie.

King is even trying to bring the Chinese into it.

That's just great.

The Chinese have our plane, Bill Clinton's ear and the only pandas in the wild.

What's in it for the U.S., besides Wang Zhizhi and a couple of free egg rolls?

Some people insist boxing should be banned because of its violence and King's bad-hair days. They are missing the obvious. Boxing should be banned because it is hard on the brain, yours as well as theirs.

Boxing used to be the sweet science. Now it is a mind-numbing ordeal, a legal exercise, and sometimes worse than that.

Rahman is going to Mecca, and Tyson is going to the front of the legal maneuvering.

Hide the ears and children.

You never know if Tyson is hungry.

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