The Sunshine Showdown: Scene 8

SCENE 8: The Sunshine Showdown

Don King arrives in a limo with Joe Frazier to the sound of Desmond Dekker & the Aces ‘Israelites’ – the crowd is excited as they enter the stadium – out of the car also steps Marvis & his aunt, Mazie

Marvis
This is all amazing Auntie Mazie
I’m so excited at this my first fight
Daddy watching, & in Jamaica too!

Mazie
All this is gonna blow your mind my boy
There is nothing like seeing your daddy
In action, so supremely does he flow

Enter Mavis & Mazie / enter Foreman

Journalist 1
Hey its Foreman

Journalist 2
Good luck George

Journalist 3
You’ll need it

Dundee
Hey George

Foreman
Hello

Dundee
I’m Angelo Dundee
Ali’s trainer

Foreman
O hi, here for the show

Dundee
We want to talk to you after you win
{Foreman laughs}
There are rumours rumbling of Africa

Foreman
I heard them, in Zaire or something, right

Dundee
Right – I’m here to pin it on the rematch
But I’ve seen your jab, Sonny Liston style,
& well, you’d better get a passport boy!

Foreman laughs & enters the stadium

Journalist 2
Hey Angelo, why ya backing Foreman
He’s a wide-swinging brute with no technique

Dundee
With his parries, pivots, blocks pivots & step-aways
He’ll act just like an agile matador
To Frazier’s raging bull, a clash of styles,
Foreman’s an old school fighter who prevents
A punch before it has even begun,
Pinning arms, pushing shoulders, pulling gloves,
I don’t think Frazier’s gonna land a blow

Journalist 3
You’re crazy man

Dundee
We’ll see, lets watch that fight

The Journalists & Angelo Dundee enter the stadium


Scene 9 : THE SUNSHINE SHOWDOWN

Referee: Arthur Mercante

Commentators
Howard Cosell
Don Dunphy

Dunphy
Here we ringside, Kingston, Jamaica
To see who’ll be the next World Champion
Of the global heavyweight division
Here comes the challenger, big George Foreman
This undefeated warrior was born
In Marshall, Texas, nineteen forty-nine
Which makes him twenty-four, in sixty-eight
He won Olympic gold, turn’d pro, sithen,
Guided by Dick Sandler, canny-handed,
He’s won all of his thirty-seven fights
With thirty-four by knock-out, six feet four
With a range of seventy-eight inches
George Foreman’s the man who floor’d Chavala

Cassel
We’re now awaiting the arrival of
Joe Frazier, the defending champion
To a twenty foot ring with a canvas
Like a mattress, very soft, the Frazier
Kind of canvas, that man does not bounce
This slugger coming at ya like a tank
Wait a second – in the background cheers I hear
{Joe Frazier arrives with Don King}
Now here comes Frazier, twenty-nine years old
Coming down the aisle, his strong arms hanging
Onto his manger, Yancy Durham
As always has his habit sent him in
This South Carolinan soul, Buford born
In nineteen forty-four, would win his gold
In sixty-four, by Hayes, Carr, Larrabee,
Under Yancy Durham’s style & wisdom
He’s won every professional fight
Twenty-nine victories straight, twenty-five
By technical or natural knock-out

Dunphy
But four men have ever gone the distance
With Joe, there’s Muhammad Ali, of course
In the never-to-be-forgotten bout
Of March eighth, nineteen seventy one
Oscar Bonnavena has done it twice.

Cassel
Joe is five feet eleven – with a reach
Of seventy-three & a half inches
Who says he’s not too happy with Foreman
Spitting disparages on his focus
& yearns to do away with Foreman swift

Dunphy
& now he’s thro’ the ropes, & in the ring
Powerful, in his colourful attire
Of white gown, trim gold-gleaming & a belt

Cassel
Joe Frazier came in at a surprising
Two hundred & fourteen pounds, that’s eight pounds
More than on the night he fought Muhammad Ali, who is also here at ringside
Watching on – we’ll survey his opinion
Upon the fight some moment opportune

Dunphy
The referee is Arthuyr Mercente
Who refereed the Ali-Frazier fight
A man who is gen’rally consider’d
The best boxing referee in the States

Cassel
They are trying to psyche each other out
& look, there is no fear in either man
Especially George Foreman knows no fear
He’s grown enormously in confidence
Of presence & speech, as well as boxing

Dunphy
Arthur Mercante makes his announcement

Mercante
This Heavyweight Championship contest
To decide the world title is govern’d
By the rules of the Jamaican boxing
Federation scoring rules – a clean fight
With legal punches up above the waste
Conform the ten point must scoring system
There will be a mandatory eight count
Even after three knockdowns in the round
The fight goes on, no saving by the bell,
Go wait for the bell & come out boxing

Dunphy
When phantom fortune proffers tangible
In title fights before a titan crowd
I hope excitement strikes thee as it me
We are all close to the start of round one
Come any second now & we may have
An interesting evening
{BELL}
Here we go

Cossel
Frazier’s status as the fight favorite
Is understandable, but Foreman flies
Out punching with a right, Frazier responds
With usual style, smoking he puts it
His job’s to get inside, his best weapon
The left hook, to which Foreman’s vuln’rable

Dunphy
Frazier’s in the white trunks, Foreman’s in red
George Foreman looks a little pensive, tense
But lands a left jab, pushes Frazier back

Cossel
Frazier is not landing any punches
Tho’ he is the aggressor

Dunphy
But Frazier
Rarely wins the first, I would be surpris’d
If he won one now

Cossel
Foreman has been struck
Struck good by Frazier’s left hook’s beastly best

Dunphy
Yes, Foreman looks a little looser now

Cossel
Now there’s another heavy left by George
Who’s getting punches into Frazier’s head,

Dunphy
We will find out tonight how much Ali
Extracted from Frazier, if anything

Cossel
& lets discover just how good is George
In punching & in taking of a punch

Dunphy
Foreman, there, with a good, smart, snappy jab

Cossel
He hurt Joe Frazier, Joe Frazier is hurt!

Dunphy
Foreman is having a very good round

Angelo Dundee
{ringside]
Frazier’s hurt, Joe Frazier’s hurt, oh my!

Cossel
Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!

Dunphy
The mandatory eight-count is taken
By the heavyweight champion, while pois’d
As can be, Foreman is pois’d as can be
Upon the neutral corner ropes, relax’d,

Marvis
{ringside}
Daddy, stop playing daddy, stop playing!
Why’s my daddy playing, get him daddy!

Dunphy
There’s a full minute to go in the round
& already this fight is proving out
What some expected

Cossel
Tis spectacular
Frazier’s in real trouble here – ooh, that left
Is getting in

Dunphy
Frazier seems to be hurt,
He’s being rock’d

Cossel
Frazier’s been dull’d & dazed
Getting hit over & over again
Same temple hit so often by Ali

Dunphy
Foreman’s winning the fighting completely

Cossel
Foreman steadily goes about his job
Determin’d, like a sheepdog on the holme

Dunphy
Tho’ Frazier fights back gamely, trouble’s spear
Seems but a step & a second away

Cossel
George Foreman is all over Joe Frazier

Dunphy
There’s only twenty seconds in the round

Cossel
George Foreman fires off right fist at Joe’s jaw

Dunphy
Frazier is down again

Cossel
Frazier is down
& he… maybe… no, he’s rising, he’s game!
He is dazed, he doesn’t know where he is

Dunphy
The mandatory eight count, Joe looks lost
& wobbling like the scarecrow in a storm

Cossel
The round’s about to end

Dunphy
Frazier looks beat
He’s never taken punishment like this
{BELL}
Frazier goes down again at sound of bell

Cossel
But look, he’s up & the bout continues

Dunphy
Three knockdowns in the first round by Foreman
Muhammad Ali, watcha make of that

Ali
George punches like a reckless amateur
& telegraphs each thrust as semaphore
With sweeping, sluggish movements of his arms
His left jab’s fine, but fails to follow up
All Frazier needs to do is keep away
But making mistakes is his insistance
Straight from knockdown he’s lunging at his foe
A times for pride, a time for common sense
He’s thinking as he is the champion
He’s gotta get his man, but runs instead
Into George Foreman’s mandament display
If he’d just step away from the slugfest
He could win the fight, George looks very tired
After one round only, his punches wild
But Frazier’s tenaciousness, lack of fear,
Intimates Foreman’s intimidation’
Remember when Joe fought Bonavena
Was two-times knock’d down in the second round,
But got back up, with non-stop punches won –
This fight could be Joe’s yet…

Bell

Dunphy
There goes the bell

ROUND TWO

Cassel
The Challenger’s scarily dominant
Joe’s hooks that even land have hardly phas’d
This cool marauder Foreman, all’s in awe

Dunphy
Joe’s coming out, wants come back hurrified

Cassel
You’ll find no man gamer than Joe Frazier

Dunphy
Foreman batters Frazier in his corner

Cassel
Oh – he is all over Frazier again
Frazier’s knees buckle

Dunphy
Joe goes down again

Cassel
He is down for the fourth time in the fight

Dunphy
Just forty-five seconds, now four-times down

Cassel
A quick left, & another, Foreman sent
A short & vicious compact to the chin

Marvis
Auntie Mazie, my Daddy aint playing

Mazie
No son, he’s human like the rest of us

Marvin
But, he’s the champion of all the world!

Dunphy
There goes Joe down again
Fallen for the fifth time in this fist-fight

Foreman
{to Frazier’s corner}
Yank, stop it or I’m going to kill him

Crowd yelling & shrieking Stop it! Stop it! Stop the fight! / Frazier gets back on his feet / Foreman resumes the attack

Cassel
It is target practice for George Foreman
But Frazier is ready to go again

Dunphy
Joe’s down again, a jamboree of jolts
Let us see if the referee stops it

Cassel
Three times down, the fight is stopped, no its not

Angelo Dundee
Stop the fight, stop it, someone stop the fight

Dunphy
Mercante has taken hold of Foreman
Tries to lead him to a neutral corner
While Frazier barely recognizes breath

Cassel
Angie Dundee is screaming out ‘stop it!’
It is over, it is over, the fight
Is over only in the second round!

Cassel
George Foreman wins it in the second round

Dunphy
I’m going up into the ring to talk
To Frazier, the loser, & Foreman
The winner because Joe Frazier has been
A great champion, thoroughly deserves Consideration

Cassle
Nancy Durham is hugging George Foreman
They’re going crazy about him up there

The ring becomes rapidly inundated by a swarm of men – two fist-fights spontaneously erupt / Don Dunphy with Dick Sandler & Don King get in the ring & head for Foreman who is just having a word with JF in his corner

Dunphy
This ring’s a madhouse, a stunning upset
A burst of brawling bedlam gone abroad
We have a new heavyweight champion
I cannot wait to interview this man
& hope to hold on to my microphone
I am trying to get to George Foreman
Out of my way, good fellows, if you please

King & Dunphy come together & get to Foreman – King graps his shoulder, Don his arm

Dunphy
George, George, do you have anything to say

Foreman
Joe Louis, I have more respect for him
Than all the world’s fellowship, next to him
Mister Archie Moore

King
My man, I got it

Foreman
What round is it?

Dunphy
You forgot when you won

Frazier
I thought it was the fourth

Dunphy
No, the second
D’ya know how many times you knock’d down Joe

Foreman
I can’t remember

Dunphy
George, I got to know
Your future plans, will you fight Joe again
Or will it now be Muhammad Ali

Foreman
My plans, right now, were to win the title
I’d like to tell the kids if work thee hard
& pray, then you can do just anything
I would like to spend my whole life preaching
My next fight is to work with juveniles
That’s my ring, the world is my true ring

Don King escorts Foreman out of the ring / Bryant Gumble & a cameraman find Ali

Bryant
Muhammad Ali, did you expect that

Ali
No I did not, Foreman’s upset my plans
I’ll have to beat them both now for to prove
I’m true champ born, the greatest of all time

Bryant
So what do you think of Foreman right now?

Ali
He hit Joe like all of his opponents
I will admit he’s hard, but if a man
Can stay out of his way for just five rounds
In good shape – stick him, move, stay out of range,
He’ll retire George Foreman, this man depends
On getting his man in the first two rounds
If he don’t do that he gets frustrated
If you stick him with left jabs, right crosses,
Tie him up in boxing, he will retire
& I know I’m gonna whup George Foreman
& I’m gonna whup him in Africa
In the Congo, where boys Lumbaba are

Bryant
Now then, Ali, answer me this question
How could that man go fifteen rounds with you
& only two with Foreman

Ali
That’s easy
‘Cause George Foreman’s not as good a fighter
Scientifically as I am, right,
But I admit he’s stronger, hits harder
I’m not a hard puncher, people know that
But boxing ability will give me
Victory, with ease, whupping him on points
Over the distance if necessary

Bryant
So a fight in your home territory,
You couldn’t now be any happier
With what is coming up this September

Ali
Why would you call Africa my hometurf

Bryant
You have been telling me that for ten years

Ali
That’s right & if you lot come over there
Talking all like that we’re gonna cook you

Ali slams down the microphone mike & storms off

Bryant
Well there you have it folks, its all over
The Sunshine Showdown sets into the stars
& leaves a trace of glory in the night
That when pierc’d next by Dawn’s roseate dart
On Stanley’s peak her golden tint shall fall
That’s all from NBC, great fight, good night

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