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Pazienza Against Jones: Don’t Buy It

Sat., June 24, 1995, midnight

Further evidence of how the world of boxing and pay-per-view technology are intertwined was provided by promoter Don King on Tuesday at Mike Tyson’s press conference at Sylvia’s in Harlem.

When King wasn’t introducing everyone on the dais - including Tyson’s cut man - he was selling Showtime’s Aug. 19 Tyson-Peter McNeeley fight, which at a $50 price tag is a total ripoff. King also explained that if you can’t dial into PPV, you can purchase a “trap,” which is a device that will allow you to see the fight.

Tonight, you won’t need to purchase a “trap” to see Roy Jones Jr. dismantle Vinny Pazienza. Indeed, the only trap here is if you spring for $29.95 to purchase this fight brought to you by TVKO.

Trap? Crap. That’s what this fight is. If Time Warner Sports suits were so enamored with this mismatch, they should have aired it on HBO. TVKO brass has no right to throw stones at Showtime’s Tyson-McNeeley bout because, in this instance, they are selling the same garbage to the public.

Besides Pazienza, the only person giving this matchup any credence is his manager, Bill Cayton, who has been pushing the theory that Jones is afraid of Pazienza. This is absurd and as phony as the idea that there were multiple teams clamoring for Darryl Strawberry’s services.

At least maybe Cayton and TVKO can sell George Steinbrenner a PPV ticket to this fight.

But seriously, there’s a scary element working here. This is a very dangerous fight for Pazienza. Three years ago he broke his neck in a car accident and was partially paralyzed. During his comeback he hasn’t come close to fighting anyone like Jones, the IBF super-middleweight champ who many believe is the best fighter in the world.

Jones is not a 40-something Roberto Duran, who Pazienza defeated twice last year in fights that should have been dubbed “Slow & Slower.” Jones is quick and powerful. He knows anything short of an impressive knockout win will tarnish his reputation. Jones already has said he doesn’t want to risk this fight going to a decision.

So there’s a lot of shame to pass around here: the IBF, New Jersey state athletic commissioner Larry Hazzardous and the Armanis from TVKO. They all know the danger of this kind of mismatch, which comes on the heels of the tragic Jimmy Garcia-Gabriel Ruelas fight, another matchmaking disaster.

But once again, greed rules over safety. Greed takes precedence over airing a legitimate fight. You can turn the tables on these opportunists.

Don’t buy the fight.

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