Iron Mike flattens another tomato can!

Feb 25, 2003 7:12 AM

TOMATOES ”” $1 MILLION A CAN! They’re not new. Tomato cans have been a part of the fight game for as long as there’s been boxing. A manager picks an opponent that’s sure to lose and make his fighter look good in the process.

That’s exactly what happened Saturday night in Memphis, Tenn., when Mike Tyson returned to the ring to show Clifford Etienne and the rest of the world that he still has what it takes to be a champ.

Things couldn’t have gone better for Iron Mike. Etienne knew exactly what to do. His strategy was simple: stand in front of Tyson and trade punches. There was no way Tyson could miss. And, 49 seconds into the first round the Sultan of Punch threw a powerful right that hit its mark and sent Etienne to the canvas.

It was a solid punch. I’ve seen enough fights to recognize that buckle in the knees when a fighter goes down. But, after the fall Etienne just lay there, seemingly waiting for the referee to get to 10. When the last count was given, he was quickly on his feet and heading for the dressing room.

It was a nice, neat performance. Everybody walked away with something. Etienne got his share of $1 million. Tyson earned $5 million for his team and pushed his record to 50-4, 2NC, 44KOs. His promoters now have the right to crank out their marketing hype to tell the world there’s still a lot of iron left in Mike.

But, this fight fan felt just a little cheated. There didn’t seem to be any real heart and soul in the match. Maybe next time they can find a tomato can with a few more tomatoes in it.

SUFFERING INFORMATION OVERLOAD: Michael Douglas, as greedy stock manipulator Gordon Gecko in the hit movie, "Wall Street," proclaimed that information was his most precious commodity.

"I need you to stop bringing me information and start getting me information," Gecko admonished his up-and-coming prodigy, Bud Fox played by Charlie Sheen.

Yet, it seems we in the gaming business have no trouble getting information. But the problem is beginning to emerge, what good is it all?

It seems suddenly there’s a rash of surveys and polls, purportedly to give us in the business some insight into that which we’ve spent most of our adult lives pondering.

Here’s a for instance. Researchers at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia have determined that alcohol and gambling "don’t mix." That is, they’ve concluded in their astute academic wisdom, that "gamblers take more risks and play longer when they’re boozing it up."

It’s hard to fathom how we’ve survived this long without such a keen observation.

And bear in mind that these researchers actually spent money (probably the government’s) setting up tests with alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic drinks, special slot machines with different betting options, and test groups of good citizens who had the chance to get plastered under the guise of university research.

Here’s another one: The urge to gamble afflicts all races. I’m sure the casino operators in town are glad to hear that one. Heaven knows what they would do if they found out that one group of people, say the tribes of Borneo, had more of a tendency to gamble than, say, the islanders of Fiji.

Sometimes the information proffered by a particular group either doesn’t make sense or conflicts with its own findings.

The Responsible Gambling Council of Ontario, for instance, reports that senior citizens "develop fewer gambling addictions than younger people," but the recreational gambling associated with senior citizens can lead to "repercussions of compulsive gambling that can be far more devastating."

Now, which is it? Do older citizens have a problem or don’t they? Or, are older citizens just like everyone else in that some do and some don’t?

Years ago, Sen. William Proxmire had his Golden Fleece Award, which "rewarded" government programs for their most conspicuous waste of money.

While we aren’t ready to christen (just yet!) such a similar award, we have to be asking ourselves, and the researchers, have you ever tried common sense? Or how about human nature? You’d be surprised what you might discover.