If you bet next card,
check Gamblers Anon

Oct 10, 2006 2:52 AM

If you bet next week’s card, check into Gamblers Anonymous.

GA is awaiting anyone who can make it through this column. I mean, you’ve got to have it bad to want to find out about next week’s action in boxing.

There’s an ESPN card somewhere with someone, but people who bet that network’s fights probably would give their opinion on whether it will rain in Timbuktu. The main boxing action next weekend is all in Europe, a nice country even if it doesn’t have that many good barbecue restaurants.

At least the beer is a lot better.

The action is also mostly in the newest bastard-weight divisions. There are two supermiddleweight fights, one in Manchester, England, and one in Denmark. Also, there’s a cruiserweight fight on the English undercard.

What I’m trying to say is that none of this is Georges Carpentier vs. Battling Siki (I like Siki to refuse to take the dive, knock out the Frenchman and then get shot to death in New York. As his former trainer once told me, "It wasn’t a jealous husband").

According to the Internet and all the ships off shore, these bouts are not very competitive. The closest odds I’ve been able to find were -225 on Enzo Maccarelli of Italy against Mark Hobson (+185) in some "interim" cruiserweight contest. Since I’ve never seen either of these bums, I am not giving an opinion.

If I’ve hurt your feelings, too bad.

Over in wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen, where my wife and I once spent 15 of the happiest hours changing trains, the hometown hero Mikkel Kessler is -650 against Germany’s Markus Beyer +450. This is a unification of all the supermiddleweight belts Joe Calzaghe doesn’t have.

In England, Calzaghe himself puts his undefeated record on the line in his 20th 168-pound division defense. Challenger Sakio Bika’s claim to fame is that he was still upright and even on two official cards when his fight last May for Beyer’s WBC title was stopped in the fourth round. The German was bleeding from an accidental clash of heads and it was ruled a technical draw.

Well, Bika (The Scorpion, if you will) has another claim to fame. How many fighters do you know from the Cameroons? The lone loss on his 20-1-2 record was to Sam Solimon by majority decision, indicating he must know his way around the ring.

Calzaghe (The Italian Dragon if you will) is one of the world’s best when he’s able to make it to the starting gate. He was brilliant in his last appearance, pitching a shutout against the previously undefeated Jeff Lacy. Wouldn’t bet on him, though, at -2250 because he does have bad hands. Nor would I take Bika at +1150, even if the card will be shown on a same-day tape delay by HBO.

I mean, I’ll probably know the result by then. So, I won’t need to have a rooting interest if I’m not watching.

Kessler (the Viking Warrior, if you will) is also a puncher. He’s 37-0 with 27 knockouts and he’s got the home-arena edge.

Kessler is probably worth -650, even if the best guy he’s beaten could be Manny Siaca. Beyer, who has only 13 KO’s on his 34-2-1 ledger, does not figure to stop the who-knows-how-great Dane and probably won’t get a decision in Copenhagen.

That reasoning makes +450 a reach on the Bremen Boom Boom, if you will. And though this is also set for HBO tape delay, the only reason to watch is to get a line on a possible but improbable match between Calzaghe and Kessler some day.

That fight would make too much sense to ever happen.

Calzaghe has already said he doesn’t want to go to Denmark and acknowledges that Kessler wants to avoid both Britain and Wales.

The real action in boxing will not resume until after the World Series and Halloween, which I think coincide this year. November will be busy — good fights, the Breeders’ Cup and possibly a football game or two.

So taking a little time off now could be economically refreshing.