Boxing can learn something
from Clark County firefighters

Jan 9, 2007 6:22 AM

I’ve got some hot news. What are the odds that just as I’m about to have my blood pressure taken during a routine checkup, my daughter comes busting in to tell me our house is on fire?

I passed anyway, 124 over 78 or something; I never understood numbers that did not pertain to quarter-mile times or earned run averages. But I did learn that where there’s smoke, there’s a fair chance of fire. It was an electricity malfunction in the attic. I didn’t know my 1964 ranch house had an attic.

I am being flip, I know, but that’s because I’m sort of past-posting. I know everything is going to turn out all right. No injuries, to anyone, including the wonderfully considerate Clark County firefighters. Thanks to the Bravest, the property damage was minimal.

There was nary a scratch to the two mutts, my daughter’s guest, along with the housekeeper who first smelled the smoke and called the fire department. The thoughtful firefighters threw plastic over my old LP record collection, bundled up my CDs out of harm’s way and did a magnificent job. From the outside of the building, there is no evidence that there was any kind of disturbance.

Century Insurance has been terrific as helpful friends and neighbors. The inconvenience of displacement that will be felt for the next few months is more than balanced by renewed faith not only in humankind, but in the "system." Not that it’s going to stop me from being cynical on occasion. After all, my prime function remains looking into boxing.

At least I know now how bad those smoke-filled rooms can get. The danger is not only from carbon monoxide. In my old house, there is a good chance of asbestos related problems, which could keep me in exile for a few months. Into each life, a little ash must fall.

There were many bright sides. Just to watch my 24-year-old daughter shove me aside as she took over dealing with inspectors, insurance adjustors and contractors is an affirmation of what a wonderful job her mother did.

I appreciate the wakeup call, also. It’s nice to know that going down with a favorite is not the end of the world or that carrying a torch for underdogs is dangerous. Gaming, after all, is a game. As long as it’s played within responsible boundaries, it should not be a matter of life and death.

No, there’s no greater thrill for us sofa-bound spectators than to have some real reason to root. I always told my mother that horse racing was one of the great participation sports. There were times at the track that I ran down the grandstand faster than my pony negotiated the stretch. I have felt some body blows more than any Micky Ward opponent. The vicarious agony of defeat will forever be burned into my essence as nothing more serious than a hiccup.

The firefighters told my daughter that if the 911 call had been made five minutes later, there would have been nothing they could have done except to watch my house burn to the ground. Among other things, I could have lost a lifetime of newspaper clippings, some treasured family photos and a pile of too-small underwear.

I gladly accept my good luck in attic fires and hope not to whine too much if it does not follow me on-track or to the fights. Hey, on a week with no betting fights to write about, I at least was able to squeeze out an extra column.

And maybe this disruption was a signal that my long-overdue hot streak was about to begin. We can’t test this hypothesis immediately because nothing is much going on in boxing next week. Well, I can’t be 100 percent sure, since my calendars did not make it with me out of the house.

The next major televised action will be the Jan. 20 show in Vegas at the Paris Hotel and Casino with its faux Eiffel Tower and almost real croissants. Ricky Hatton is leaving his Manchester, England, comfort zone to challenge Juan Urango for the junior welterweight title one of the silly alphabets took away from him.

The English "Hit Man" was not a great hit in beating Luis Collazo for one of those meaningless welterweight titles, but back at 140 pounds he should fare so much better. There probably will be no point in laying what I expect to be the large price on him.

Same goes with the semifinal, which features Jose Luis Castillo, moving up to 140. Obviously the plan is to set up a showdown with Hatton in their next starts.

Well, if we can’t find a decent bet, no harm. We can always roast marshmallows.