Be Afraid. Be Very, Very, Very Afraid

BY Rick Folstad ON October 30, 2002
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It's a Keystone Kops lineup of heavyweight hopefuls looking to pick up a fast buck on what would otherwise be a slow Saturday night.

Cedric Kushner's Fistful of Dollars promotion on Nov. 30 in Atlantic City might not sit well with boxing's die-hards, but the guys who love Hulk Hogan, Dusty Rhodes and Goldberg will be the first in line to call Thunderbox pay-per-view.

According to Kushner, the secret to success as a promoter is to take eight unemployed heavyweights, match them together by picking names out of a hat, and then have them fight each other until only one is left standing. That last guy gets to take home a cool $100,000.

It's a pretty simple idea, really. Kushner shows seven three-round fights, provides a little pocket change for seven heavyweights (they get $5,000 per fight) and gives the eventual winner enough money to survive the winter on.

The eight heavyweights include two-time heavyweight champ Tim Witherspoon, fresh off his retirement fight against Lou Savarese in September. The scary thing is, Witherspoon, at 44, has to be one of the favorites to win this thing.

Among the others invited to fight is the well-known and ever-popular Gerald "The Jedi" Nobles, who came up with a novel idea at the press conference held last week promoting the fights.

The clever Nobles, whose record is 20-0 with 16 knockouts, said they could make it a short night and make everything easier by just giving him the check right away instead of letting everyone fight for it.

Most of the other fighters were against the idea.

"I'm gonna be playing Beethoven on these guys,'' Nobles was quoted as saying by Fightnews. "I'm lightening fast and I got a lot of first, second and third round knockouts.''

Of course, the combined record of the fighters he's stopped inside three rounds is something like 72-144-9. They include wins over Caseny Truesdale (7-322) and the always dangerous Exum Speight (9-32-2). Nobles has only beaten three guys with winning records, and those three have a combined record of 36-22-2.

"People are finally going to get a chance to see who Gerald Nobles is,'' he said.

Is he sure that's what he wants?

Next up is Paolo Vidoz of Gorizia, Italy, who slammed home the truth.

"This tournament is crazy,'' he said. "Three fights in one night is very hard.''

Finally, an honest man.

"I want to win the tournament because I need the money. I want to buy land and a farm in Italy.''

I hope this guy wins.

Then there's Ray Austin (17-3-1, 13 KOs) who claimed, "I'm the best man out of all these guys so I know I'm going home with the money.''

He's right. He'll be going home with some money. My guess is $5,000.

How about Anthony "Tony the Tiger" Thompson? He's 17-1 with 9 KOs. Anyone who has the chutzpah to call himself, "Tony the Tiger'' has to be tough.

Finally, there's Jeremy "Half Man, Half Amazing'' Williams, a legitimate heavyweight with a catchy nickname who is probably the big pick to win the Fistful of Dollars.

"For me, this tournament is something to do before Christmas,'' he said, sounding like he was talking about getting his oil changed. "These guys are good guys, but there's nobody at my caliber. That's the plain honest truth.''

One of the alternates chosen is wild man Mitch "Blood" Green, 45, who has fought only once in the last four years, decisioning "tough" Danny Wofford (17-93-2) in March.

"Can I talk?'' Green was quoted as saying at the press conference. "Can I say something? I'm the alternate.''

Word on the street is, Green took the offer after both Ronald McDonald and the Grimace turned it down.

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