So allow me to preface this by saying that Hurricane Wilma did in fact race right past my house with the eye winking at me Monday morning, shaking my building. As a result, I was without power for about 20 hours (somehow I got it back despite 98 percent of Fort Lauderdale/Miami still out), and needed something to do until it returned.
|For a great idea, we'll give Rugged Ron Artest a taste of the gate. (Getty Images)|
In the latest issue of the nation's second most popular skin mag, labeled December 2005, Artest suggests he would fight Ben Wallace on pay-per-view for $10 million. Whether he's joking or not -- he likely is, dress-code advocates -- it still got the brain racing.
First of all, Artest and Wallace would draw a huge audience, larger than watching the sadly depleted Roy Jones go down to Antonio Tarver again or paying cash to catch the newest pound-for-pound king, Floyd Mayweather Jr., run his latest clinic.
Secondly, these bouts would be filled with drama, something devoid from the current fight game, where it's all about the purses. That wouldn't be the case with the fights I'm proposing and -- since they are my brain child -- collecting all proceeds for (with a kickback to Artest for the idea).
Here they are, starting with the much-needed undercard to Big Ben/Queensbridge's Finest.
Rasheed Wallace, Detroit vs. Jermaine O'Neal, Indiana: The Pistons and Pacers are heavyweights, and therefore can only be repped by the big guys. Ben Wallace is obviously a beast, while Artest has bulked up to nearly 270 pounds of pure muscle.
With Wallace and O'Neal, you'd have two of the league's most agile, combative power forwards taking issue with one another, guaranteeing a good show. 'Sheed grew up in Philly, so you know he can scrap, while O'Neal's shoulders are healthy again, so it's certain that he can throw a few roundhouses.
Adding to the show would be managers, WWE-style. Accompanying O'Neal to the ring would undoubtedly be Stephen Jackson, unpredictable enough to have some foreign object on his person at ringside, be it brass knuckles or some form of blinding salt. Alongside 'Sheed would be Darko Milicic, who's always eager to be of some use given his substantial free time.
Kwame Brown, L.A. Lakers vs. Gilbert Arenas, Washington: The former No. 1 pick has a huge grudge built up against his ex-teammate, believing Arenas was the main reason why he was suspended from the playoffs and ultimately not brought back. He told the Washington Post less than a month ago that he wanted to slap Arenas during last year's playoffs -- so I'd be obliged to give my boy Michael Lee of the Post co-promoter status and half the gate, but I could live with it, as this would absolutely be a beauty. Brown has the physical advantage, but considering Arenas has so easily gotten in his head already, there's no way to count him out.
Shaquille O'Neal, Miami vs. Erick Dampier, Dallas/Brendan Haywood, Washington: I know what you're thinking, "What, no Kobe?" Too easy, and entirely too much of a mismatch. The Diesel needs cats with claws his own size to toy with, and since he's verbally smacked around both of these fellow 7- footers, why not face them both in successive matchups? Both Dampier and Haywood could afford some extra manning up, and O'Neal has tough love in abundance.
Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers vs. Phil Jackson, L.A. Lakers: Maybe it wouldn't be too bright to throw them in the ring given their age difference, but there's got to be something they can do to blow off steam and really put the past behind them. Get it all out of the way, people, then kiss and make up. To hold back animosity and pretend words were never uttered and books never written just seems unhealthy. Isn't there some Zen form of combat they could partake in?
Ray Allen, Seattle vs. Bruce Bowen, San Antonio: Not that there aren't plenty of NBA wings who wouldn't love their shot at Bowen, but Allen has been the most vocal, and therefore would do the best job in the pre-fight presser. No shoving or clawing though boys -- both NBA and boxing refs will be present.