Boxing lost two good men--and major players--when the Trump organization's Stephen Hyde and Mark Etess died in that recent helicopter crash.
Etess, especially, was respected by promoters, fighters and journalists for his straightforwardness, honesty and good humor. It's rare when Bob Arum and Butch Lewis agree on anything, but both used the same word Wednesday to describe the death of Etess: "Devastating."
"Mark was a terrific guy," Arum said. "A genuinely sweet guy with a wonderful sense of humor and a pleasure to deal with."
"I've lost a very dear friend," said Lewis, who had flown cross-country to attend the bas mitzvah of Etess' 13-year-old daughter, Rachel, two weeks ago. "And on the business level, this is a void that is not going to be easily filled."
Boxing people are now wondering if the Trump organization, which probably has been the biggest investor in big-time boxing the past three years, will have to step aside temporarily while it searches for replacements. Although Trump has a full slate of boxing scheduled--Evander Holyfield-Alex Stewart on Nov. 4; Camacho-Pazienza on Feb. 3, monthly shows with Madison Square Garden--the heart of its boxing department has been ripped out.
All the major fights held under the Trump promotional banner since 1986--Mike Tyson-Jose Ribalta, Cooney-Michael Spinks, Tyson-Spinks, Tyson-Carl Williams, Roberto Duran-Iran Barkley--were deals negotiated by Hyde and Etess, who grew up in the hotel business as the grandson of Jenny Grossinger. Etess was the driving force in making the $11-million site deal that brought Tyson and Spinks together; likewise, he was one of the first to say that the hotels would no longer pay big bucks for Tyson mismatches, a philosophy that caught on and ultimately drove the upcoming Tyson-Razor Ruddock bout to Edmonton.
Although in business no one is irreplaceable, Butch Lewis thinks Hyde and Etess came pretty close to it.
A lot of people consider Mike Tyson a dominant heavyweight champ. But has anyone noticed that since Tyson won the WBC heavyweight title on Nov. 22, 1988, by knocking out Trevor Berbick in two rounds, only one of his nine challengers has won another fight?
--Bonecrusher Smith, outpointed by Tyson on March 7, 1987, had a technical draw and then was knocked out by Razor Ruddock in July.
--Pinklon Thomas, KOd in six by Tyson on May 30, 1987, was stopped by Evander Holyfield in seven rounds in December, 1988.
--Tony Tucker, outpointed by Tyson on July 30, 1987, has not fought again.
--Tyrell Biggs, KOd in seven by Tyson on Oct. 16, 1987, was stopped by Francesco Damiani in five a year ago and, last week, by Gary Mason in seven.
--Larry Holmes, KOd in four by Tyson on Jan. 22, 1988, re-retired.
--Tony Tubbs, KOd in two by Tyson on March 20, 1988, decisioned Mike Evans on April 20, 1989, in Redondo Beach, Calif.
--Michael Spinks, KOd in one by Tyson June 27, 1988, retired.
--Frank Bruno, KOd in five by Tyson Feb. 25, 1989, has not fought, but has been clamoring for a rematch.
It doesn't bode well for Carl "The Truth" Williams, KOd in one on July 21, 1989. Williams is scheduled to fight on the Tyson-Ruddock undercard Nov. 18 in Edmonton, Alberta. No opponent yet, but whoever it is might be worth a longshot play.
Happy birthday to Irving Rudd, who celebrated No. 72 Friday in spite of working the past 12 years for Bob Arum. Rudd tells this one about a heavyweight from the '20s who called himself King Solomon and passed himself off as Jewish. But his cover was blown when reporters caught him training on Yom Kippur.
"What are you doing?" one of them asked.
"Training for Sharkey."
"What about Yom Kippur?"
"So, I'll fight him next."