Jun 19

Football’s version of Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield

June 19 - requiem-for-a-heavyweight-anthony-quinn-jackie-gleason-mickey-rooney Professional boxers are notorious for not knowing when to say when. The list of once great pugilists fighting way past their primes is endless and includes everyone from Oscar de la Hoya and Mike Tyson to Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Robinson. The definitive movie on the subject is Rod Serling's 'Requiem for a Heavyweight.' I highly recommend renting it from Netflix.

Boxers stick around for a variety of reasons. Many rose from the ranks of poverty and, once flush with the sweet smell of success, squander their winnings on fast cars, loose women and an exorbitant lifestyle. Faced with mounting bills and lightened wallets, the battered boxers step back into the ring against younger, faster and stronger opponents. Some survive. Others, like Ali, pay a heavy price.

Another big reason for fighting past one's prime is the uber rush that comes from performing in front of adoring fans. Adulation is the meth amphetamine of professional athletes. Which has to be the reason why Brett Favre is still bouncing around on the gridiron.

Favre was clearly past his prime in his final season with the Green Bay Packers. One could argue that he single-handedly lost the NFC title game to the Giants that season. And, his performance with the Jets last year should have convinced everyone, including Favre, that he was done.

Besides the physical risks associated with playing past one's prime, these ill-considered moves do significant damage to the athlete's image and reputation.

I'll always remember the 40-something Willie Mays stumbling and falling in a vain attempt to catch a fly ball in the 1973 World Series. Mays' legs were shot, but he couldn't face retirement. So, he embarrassed himself.

Favre needs to hang up his spikes. The longer he sticks around, the more damage he'll do to his image and reputation.

May 18

You are now entering a killing zone

May 18 - smoking I was in Atlantic City Friday night to see some boxing. I took my dad, my son and my brother, John. My dad was an amateur boxer in the 1940s. Rep, Jr., boxed in Vermont's Golden Gloves tournament. And John and me? Well, we follow the sport.

Fully expecting to be dismayed by the sleazy, tawdry surroundings that are synonymous with casinos and gambling, I was nonetheless taken aback by what I walked into at Harrah's. Smoke. Lots and lots of smoke. Cigarette smokers were everywhere, forming a veritable cancer on the casino landscape, if you will.

John told me Atlantic City's casinos had lobbied the city government to rescind its smoke-free environment laws a few years back. The casinos were losing too much money, he said. So, the local pols caved, smoking was re-established and the gamblers returned.

But, what about unsuspecting visitors like me? Second-hand smoke has been proven to cause cancer. Why should non-smokers have to wade through the 'resort's' toxic haze and inhale the carcinogenic fumes en route to the boxing matches?

Atlantic City casinos should be forced to place a warning on each and every one of their billboards, advertisements and digital promotions. I suggest a surgeon general's type warning that advises tourists they'll not only be assaulted by bright lights, eardrum-smashing music and the sight of sad, broken-down people feeding quarters into slot machines, but also enough second-hand cigarette smoke to wipe out an entire army. 'You are now entering a killing zone' would also work nicely.

And how about a billboard on the way out of Atlantic City that reads, 'Thank you for losing your money, seeing our B-level stars and inhaling our second-hand smoke. We are not responsible for your future heart and lung disease. Drive safely.’