The Sunshine Showdown: Scenes 5-7

Scene 5: Los Angeles

George Foreman is training for the Sunshine Showdown / a musical interlude / Foreman is Shadowboxing (hooks, jabs, uppercuts)/ at the Punch bag with Eddie Futch & Yank Durham / Skipping / Push-ups / Sparring / Enter Bryant Gumble & a cameraman

Bryant
This is Bryant Gumble, NBC News
George Foreman is here in Los Angeles
Publicizing his January fight
With Joe Frazier next year in Jamaica
He’s looking strong, an athlete in good shape,
So George, can we stop you for a minute

George stops training

Bryant
George, how fares thoughts on your fight upcoming
With Frazier

Foreman
Mine opportunity knocks
But this is not his opportunity
That’s my big advantage – he’s had his chance
& dines, now, with kings, queens & presidents
But with nineteen seventy three drawn nigh
That year might well be my mine, my time to shine,
That’s the opportunity, intend I
To take advantage of it, I aint had
Much television like this, I want this,
He’s tired of it, makes fame an every day
Occurrence, but not me, this is my time

Bryant
Does it upset you, does it bother you
When people belittle your skills, & say
You’ve fought with failures, skittl’d nobodies

Frazier
No, not really, it depends whom utters
Are you saying that

Bryant
No

Foreman
Well, alright then
I like to think that every time i fight
I go out to make all my opponents
Look like nothing, & I hope Joe Frazier
Goes down in likewise manner, like the rest

Bryant
Thanks George

Foreman
You’re welcome

Foreman returns to training

Bryant
Foreman’s fresh & good –
Since Ali, Frazier has only fought twice
& both of those opponents nobodies
Unless he’s ready Joe’ll have quite a fight
Upon his hands in Jamaica, next year;
I’ve been Bryant Gumble, NBC news

Exit Bryant / Foreman stops training

Foreman
I’m really gonna have to do it now
But how the hell am I gonna beat him

Futch
Well, he is a very clever boxer
& smart enough to win the world entire
Protecting the button he hides his chin
Behind fantastic defences, if chin
Feels unassailable, ignore it plain,
Use your height & hit him on his headtop

Durham
I don’t think there’s nothing to worry on
He’s far too nonchalant, he’s gone too soft
Fancy clothes, cadillacs & chevrolets

Futch
One of them’s a thirty-four

Foreman
I seen it

Durham
A swimming pool shap’d like a boxing glove
By four hundred thousand dollars of home
Such trappings of success an ancient trap
When warriors prefer women & wine
& hearths & rugs instead of open fields,
Then they’ll soon miss the missile in the fray

Foreman
But everything you’d never want to face
In boxing Frazier’s got

Futch
I’d do the same
But better – if he tries to move in close
Stop him, block him, get out of the way
Then when he’s open pulverize & pound

Durham
Easy

Foreman
I wish I felt your confidence
A tougher cookie I aint ever seen
With vicious left hooks and rights to the side
He’s buzzsaw, giant killer, a machine,
Aint lost a fight since nineteen sixty four
To Buster Mathis at the Flushing trials
& has since decimated the divison

Futch
But you succeeded Frazier’s golden torc
& you have never lost a single fight

Durham
Just keep going George, we believe in you

Futch
Yeah, back to work, pick up that skipping rope


Scene 6: New York

Press conference / Enter Don King, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Archie Moore stands by Foreman’s shoulder / Journalists 1,2 & 3 are present

King
Well, thank you all for coming here today
The Sunshine Showdown’s glowing in the dawn
O! what a day loaded in store for thee
& what a night of boxing out Kingston,
Jamaica, this January comingm
Whose arena of forty-two thousand
Stack’d rafter-pack’d above two boxers sees
Joe Frazier, the champion, George Foreman,
The Challenger; today they gonna sign
The contracts, but first, boys, lets see those fists…
I’m gonna call on Mister Joe Frazier
To say a few words, Joe

Frazier
Good afternoon,
About George I’m not gonna say too much
For as you know my own lip-rapping skills
Aint so great, you know how it is, no mouth
Run-offer, like some people that we know
{Laughter}
Because of one particular reason
I’m stoked to bits this fight is coming off
For me & George are in the fighting game
For fighting aint no politician thing,
When sportsmen go off rapping, that aint right,
The ring no place to showcase opinions
Other than that which settles whose fought best,
& so, I feel this fight should entertain,
While George tries to strip away my title
I’ll do my very best to keep it close

King
Thanks Joe, so George, some words you wanna say?

Foreman
I don’t wanna be as modest as Joe
For he’s already proved himself a king
I gotta get out here to preach & brag
& big me up & let you people think
I’m a monkey or something, so all yous
Can come along & see me do something
I want all the people in this country
Complaisant with all planetary parts
To light their eyes upon this special fight
I know myself it shall be mighty brawl
An evening when George Foreman will declare
Wars on Joe’s bones, & that’s a definite!

Crowd
Right On

Frazier
Most people suggest a fighter
Loses his legs ascending certain age
But now my legs feel stronger than ever
I don’t know, I must have got one of those
The guy who run so fast

Journalist 1
A second wind

Frazier
No – the Six Million Dollar man, yeah?

Journalist 2
Yeah

Frazier
When I hit the road in the morning
I’m like the Six Million Dollar Man

Foreman
You people are certainly gonna see
A mighty fight, in which avow’d am I,
The only way to take leave of that ring
Victoryless before the fifteenth end
Is stretcherborne, unconscious, void of force

King
We’ll see you all in Kingston on the night
It will be grand, it will be exotic
A royal, unforgettable battle
As if they were the houses roseate
White York & Red Lancaster, clamp’d by gore
Together on a sodden, windswept moor
But under sultry island sun instead
So a good day to you all
{To Frazier & Foreman}
This way boys

Journalist 3
Mr King, could you answer some questions

King
That will be all, thank-you

Journalist 3
But Mr King
Is it true there’s twelve thousand empty seats
On an island where the average wage
Is only twenty-five dollars a month
Was that to be expected… Mr King?

Exit King & the Boxers

Journalist 1
So how you think the fight is gonna go

Journalist 2
I can’t see Foreman lasting seven rounds
He’s barely hit the third before his foes
End the bouts, encrumpl’d upon canvas
But Frazier is a different being
& by the fourth or fifth Foreman will tire

Journalist 3
I don’t think it’ll even last that long
George Foreman’s just an old-fashion’d slugger

Journalist 1
But tough, I wouldn’t be so sure

Journalist 2
Come on
You’re kidding right, Foreman don’t stand a chance

Journalist 3
But Jamaica, hah, better than New York
In winter, don’t forget to pack your shorts

Journalist 2
I’ll be there Jack, & newly single too!


Scene 7: Jamaica

Joe Frazier’s hotel, poolside / The Knock-Outs are playing, Frazier is singing to a crowd of lithe Jamaican ladies & journalists

Repertoire
Knock On Wood
Like a Knock-Out drop
First Round Knock Out
They Bigger They Come

Enter Eddie Futch & Yank Durham

Futch
Hey Joe, Joe Frazier, what are you doing?

Joe
Hey, guys, relax, we’re just having a jam

Futch
A jam, a jam, your fight is in five days

Durham
This is insane, Joe, why ya not training

Foreman
I was this morning

Futch
We heard about that
You were getting bested by Ken Norton
& that aint ever happened before, Joe

Durham
We’ve told him his service no more needed
& have a nice vacation here

Futch
Like you
It seems, Joe, but this aint no holiday,
Its hard work, its elite competition
Its, its not this anyway

Frazier
Eddie, Yank
Relax, I got this

Durham
Singing by the pool
In this heat drains your strength – its just stupid

Futch
Its time to get outta here, gals & girls
Go take your party to another pool

Jamaican Woman 1
Alright, alright

Jamaican Woman 2
See you later, Joe, thanks

Frazier
Bye ladies, boys, nice music today

Knockout 1
Yeah

Knockout 2
You’d better hightail back to yer training
Mr Futch & Mr Durham don’t look pleas’d

Futch
Damn right we aint pleas’d, now get outta here

Frazier
I don’t know why you guys are all upset
I got Foreman, he got nothing on me
All blunderbus & blunders, whats the fuss

Durham
It aint him we’re worried about, its you,
Dwell we do upon your poor well-being,
Away from the gray-iron grasp of the gym
& that wet, wild & windy Philly
You’re losing your intensity & drive

Futch
And its not just this island’s soothing balms
We should have cut your gloves off once Ali
Hit canvas, too much damage that night dealt,
& now you’re just a shadow of the man
Who charg’d upon the title like a train
You’re now proud owner of a new-bought yacht
Loving to dive into the sun and fun

Frazier
What you on about, Eddie, I’ll be fine

Durham
He’s got a point, you’re losing something Joe

Frazier
I gotta hear this bullshit from you too
& on the eve of a title defence

Futch
Joe, you got enough money, whatever
Happens next week, its time to give it up

Frazier
Damn, give it up, what’s to gain, I’m World Champ
You think I’m gonna walk away like
that?
All the work and sweat, Climb this high mountain
Pain all the way, to come down on a plane
No, no chance, not happening, now lets work,
George Foreman’s record is a deception,
I got too much for him, I’ll be too strong
Then maybe, in a year or two, retire
Cos’ I still gotta make sure Clay stays down
You got my back

Durham
We got it Joe

Frazier
Good, Good
Now come on, lets get outta here, you’re right
A poolside aint no place for a fighter
Nor ringside too, but on the canvas he
Belongs – as the Zulu with his Assegai
Dwells natural in his tribal impi –
Knuckledust fists like burnish’d katana
In the hands of a silver samurai
I’ll show George Foreman & the watching world
Joe Frazier is a trueblood champion

Futch
Yeah-heah – that’s the spirit

Frazier
I got this boys

Exit Frazier, Futch & Durham

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