I counted 11 Los Angeles city workers sitting across the street Wednesday, listening intently to every word Mayor Jim Hahn, City Councilman Nate Holden and boxing promoter Bob Arum had to say, as the bull-rapping artists conducted a news conference on the steps leading to City Hall.
I'd listen to Holden, Hahn and Arum too, if it got me out of work with the excuse of having to be quiet, sitting in my orange vest on a bus bench on a fine sunny California afternoon.
I'd even listen to Dwyre if it meant I didn't have to wake up and still write a column that day.
Now if I was one of the 11 city workers who were paid Wednesday to do nothing, I might go home refreshed later, telling my wife I saw these three bozos standing there with their fists raised as if they're the ones fighting Saturday night at Staples Center--50-some photographers pushing and shoving one another to make sure they caught the mayor of Los Angeles throwing this sissy left-handed hook in the general direction of Holden's head.
"We're making history here today," said Holden, and if this is an L.A. politician's idea of making history, I wonder if the wrong guys are wearing the orange vests.
I'll tell you how ridiculous this whole thing was--Holden had the microphone on three separate occasions and not once did he say the return of the Raiders was imminent. If Holden has given up on the Raiders, that makes everyone.
Now normally you have a news conference to announce something, but Saturday night's event has been advertised for months, so I'm guessing the only reason for this hokey affair was to try to sell tickets.
I wonder why Holden and Hahn haven't been seen on the City Hall steps juggling basketballs--flanked by some of the Sparks. I'm sure someone is going to say, "Now there's an ugly picture," but you know me, I believe fair is fair, and besides, I'm married and I've seen how much makeup can help.
I WOULD like to think this is important business--bringing Hahn and Holden to the steps of City Hall, but the first boxer to be introduced Wednesday was Mia Rosales St. John, known best in serious boxing circles for appearing on the cover of Playboy. I'd never heard of her, of course.
But since I'm a journalist, I tried moving closer so I didn't miss anything she had to say, but the political advisors, police officers and City Hall employees on hand were apparently also interested in moving closer to hear what she had to say.
"I'll get you a copy of her Playboy issue later," Arum said, and in this fact-finding business there is no such thing as too much information.
When Holden took the microphone for the third time, I tried moving as far away as possible, but the political advisors, police officers and City Hall employees on hand were apparently also interested in moving as far away as possible.
Now Roy Jones Jr. is a 20-1 favorite against some slug they've lined up for him in the biggest fight of the night, and a Galaxy soccer game might be more compelling, but you've got Hahn and Holden reacting as if the Olympics have just been awarded to L.A.
This speaks to the effectiveness of Arum and public relations specialist Bill Caplan, who will not only come close to selling out Staples Center and filling The Times' sports section with boxing stories all week, but who might hit as many as 400,000 homes across the country with a $39.95 pay-per-view performance. These guys should have been running the XFL.
Caplan had me sitting with some guy named "Six Heads" in a downtown L.A. hotel the other night, as if I'm really interested in some pug from Guyana who will be fighting another guy from Costa Rica I've never heard of.
"You like some Kool-Aid?" Six Heads said, and right away I remembered what happened in Jonestown--so I became more attentive. And drank nothing.
"To me, losing a fight would be just like losing my life," he said, so I wished him good luck.
The guy's real name is Andrew Lewis. Very boring. In the boxing business you better go by "Sugar" or have a catchy nickname if you want people to pay attention. As the story goes, at age 7, Lewis knocked some other 7-year-old senseless, the kid claiming he saw six heads while refusing to climb back into the ring.
Six Heads is going to be defending his World Boxing Assn. welterweight title against some guy named "Sugar"--what a surprise--to open the pay-per-view telecast. If he wins, he intends to call out Shane Mosley or Oscar De La Hoya.
I know 11 Los Angeles city workers who have just the right place for him to do it.
Bill Caplan is the L.A. public relations expert someone would call if they wished to promote such an event.
WHEN I read in Lonnie White's story that new Laker Samaki Walker has a new contract worth a "relatively modest" $3 million, it got me wondering what The Times is paying White.
THE DODGERS put out a note saying Paul Lo Duca has had a hit in 51 of the 62 games he has started. The Dodgers have played 102 games, which suggested to me they were pretty stupid for starting 40 games with him on the bench.
Then it was brought to my attention he was on the disabled list--missing 20 games--which makes the Dodgers stupid on only 20 occasions.
THE SPARKS said Lisa Leslie sat out Wednesday's game to rest a sore knee, but let's be honest--she heard I might be coming to the game.
I don't want to be a problem. I promise I won't go to their games.
TODAY'S LAST word comes in an e-mail from Ralph:
"Have you forgotten about the Angels?"