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The Pre-Fight Doldrums

    So here we are, at the MGM Grand, awaiting the main event between Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya.

   Ah, the excitement.

   It is 7:45 and the undercard, including a filler swing bout, ended half an hour ago. Make that 40 minutes now.

  In those fights, there were guys falling like timber in Oregon. First-round KOs twice. The matchmaker who put these together has undoubtedly left the country by now. If he hasn't, he should.

   Michael Buffer, the bombastic ring announcer -- "Let's Get Ready to Rumble!" -- filled as best he could by introducing every old fighter and movie star in the place. And some upstairs playing slot machines.

   If those go on any longer, he will start introducing sportswriters. Could it ever come to that?

  Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press columnist, deadpanned, "This is enough to give boxing a bad name."

    Part of the filler was also a big screen showing of De La Hoya sparring at his camp at Big Bear with comedian George Lopez. It can be reported here that Lopez eventually went down.

    Howard Cosell would have loved to make the call: "DOWN GOES LOPEZ! DOWN GOES LOPEZ!"

    At 7:45, with nothing left to do but put the match on, they start the noisy buildup that means the boxers will, in about 15 minutes, start their marches to the ring.

But first, three national anthems -- those of the Philippines, Mexico and the USA. If there is time, they will do the national anthem of Sheboygan.

   If you paid $1,500 for one of those ringside seats, you are pretty much praying that the main event is a classic -- because so far, for your money, you've got about $1.14 worth.

Pacquiao starts marching ringward at 8:04. By gum, they may actually fight.

-- Bill Dwyre

      

 
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