"We Had GOLD!"
What seems like a Pleistocene Age ago, Roy Jones, Jr. was a demi God threatening to topple Sugar Ray Robinson as the pound-for-pound best, and John Ruiz was a lumbering 235-pounder with a shred of the title and the easiest pickin's for Jones to be the first middleweight in a 100 years to become the heavyweight titlist.
But Ruiz was still a HEAVYWWEIGHT CHAMPION -- fringe or not - a monstrous size mismatch. Jones was not a big-boned light heavy. His assault on the crown was unthinkable, even against a plodder like Ruiz.
Jones' audacity was applauded by his loyalists; and those that loathed him -- and they were legion -- couldn't wait for Goliath to smite and stomp him into the canvas - expose him as a sham. Allow the Earth to rotate back on its axis.
A life-long fan, I wouldn't have missed being ringside for the world.
Jim Edwards, a buddy and an equally rabid fan and award-winning director/cameraman and myself decided to start our own boxing site, with videos far different -- more gritty and professional than anybody else, with writing to match.
We were sure we could make a commercial success of it with our small crew, run-&-gun style...Did some spec videos, had a revenue plan, and lots of industry insiders gave us advice, equipment and pumped us up with promises of advertising and financing.
So we did some last-minute early-morning interviews at L.A gyms; threw our gear into Jim's '69 red Mustang convertible without a top, windshield wipers and air conditioning, and headed for Vegas.
It was euphoric -- a 24-hour-a-day adrenaline rush. We hit the ground running at the Strip: Got fight opines from people on the street, in hotels, on the roofs, beneath Jones and Ruiz glowering from the plasma screen in front of Caesar's, in casinos; crisscrossed town and queried broadcasters, ticket buyers, world champs, legends, trainers, gym rats and promoters; covered every pre-fight event and Don King absurdity (shot from angles only a monkey could climb) and the big fight itself.
We had GOLD! And raced back to L.A. We hadn't slept; only nibbled press-conference nuts and chips, but we were as high as if we'd hit LOTTO -- couldn't wait to tear into the material.
We edited 'round-the-clock for weeks. A composer did an original score and mixed the sound.
We all waited expectantly for the flood of sponsors. I'd hate to have held my breath; it never happened, (Welcome to Hollywood) and Jim and I had to dust ourselves off and get on with life.
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