Former celebrity boxing: Seeking redemption through public humiliation

Published 17 years ago -  - 17y ago 11

On March 13th FOX TV will televise the sadly futile attempts of four formerly famous and/or notorious people to work their way back into the public spotlight by climbing into the ring. Hobbler extraordinaire Tonya Harding will take on the freshly plasticized Paula Jones, the only known female Arkansan to have ever turned down a ride on “Bubba Force One.” This fight card will be the first bill she’s agreed to be on.

Also fighting will be talk show host and former Partridge Family member Danny Bonaduce. He will take on Barry Williams, who played the character Greg on The Brady Bunch and apparently once tempted Florence Henderson into a life of pedophilia and uses for Wesson Oil other than fried chicken. Set your VCR’s, it’ll be an historic event. Not since the early morning hours of December 7th, 1941, have so many Zeros taken to the air.

What’s behind all this? A few dollars and the promise of future layouts in “Skanky Biker“ magazine? Perhaps, but one thing’s for sure, this should help lend Paula Jones that much needed credibility she’s been seeking. I feel bad for her. The last few years for her have been spent on level-3 talk shows describing what the ex-Prez’s wanker looks like as if she were a forensics expert watching the Zapruder film- “Back, and too the left. Back, and to the left.” And now she’s getting into the ring with Lady MacBeth on skates, Tonya Harding. Jones won’t stand a chance. Look for Harding to work the new nose a little and for Jones to employ her “Rope-Two-Dopes” technique, which, by definition, will work every time she fights Harding. The network should have made it a “winner take all” match. The thrill of watching all of this would be greater knowing that the loser was about to have his or her trailer repo’d.

And in this corner we have Barry Williams, who successfully capitalized on his Brady Bunch fame by releasing the book “Growing Up Brady”, the cover of which will no doubt be embroidered on his fringed robe. I’ve read a little of that one. It’s not as good as Ann B. Davis’ “Maid To Order”, but it’s okay. His opponent will be Danny Bonaduce, who I hope for his sake is more comfortable holding boxing gloves than a bass guitar. When he fake strummed his bass on the Partridge Family he looked like a Golden Retriever trying to figure out how to play Yahtzee. While the winner of these fights is as of yet unclear, the loser is a certainty– your faith in a benevolent God.

What is it about selling your mortal soul for a few hundred bucks that makes things like this so appealing to former stars? Did these guys meet a spirit that was a composite of Joe Louis, Shemp Howard and Bugsy Siegel at the Crossroads and strike up a deal? And what a deal it is. Agreeing to spend eternity burning in a never-ending torment, buried in a slough of despair, pain and agony while being constantly prodded by Satan’s fork just so you can pre-empt “Bernie Mac” and “Titus” for a week in the sheer hope that a suit at Comedy Central is watching and will allow you to guest host an episode of “Battle-Bots”? Were they lying in bed at night and heard whisper, “If you embarrass yourself , they will come”? I suppose that we as a society are partially to blame though. Many of us watch this stuff, and as a result are responsible for sending more former child stars to hell than any other reason.

If this turns out to be a success for FOX, I can’t wait to see what matches they present to us in the future. I think that Gary Coleman vs. Emmanuel Lewis would be a great match up. I can see it now, The city of Richmond would play host to what would come to be known as “The Mini In Virginee.” The fight would begin with the referee giving the two fighters instructions, leaving out the “no low blows” rule, since that would involve excavation equipment to get down that far. Then Lewis would tell Coleman, “I’m gonna mess you up.” At that point, right on cue, as instructed by the network, Coleman would get right in his face with his intimidating glare, and say “Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Emmanuel?” People will eat it up. We fell for it once. Granted it might not be as funny coming from a 33 year old security guard who hates his parents because they blew all his money, but there still may be a little punch in that line.

Expanding the competitors to include politicians would be a ratings boon for FOX. Imagine how many people would tune-in to watch Strom Thurmond mix it up with Robert Byrd. In a match scheduled for two falls, it would probably end before they even made it into the ring. Hillary Clinton taking on Arianna Huffington would also be a classic. In that match-up I’d be rooting for Hillary. There’s something about Huffington that bothers me. I’ve always had a feeling that she’s just a Gabor sister taking part in the Federal Witness Relocation Program. You can’t fool us, Arianna.

I wish the best of luck to Williams, Bonaduce, Harding, and Jones. Just a warning to them though. If this is a huge success and FOX wants to do it again, watch out guys. Don King will try to get involved, and if that happens it’ll blow the integrity of the whole thing.

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