| Manute Bol really had nothing left to prove. Already recognized as one of the top six or seven centers from Sudan whose names rhyme with pollute ever to play for the Washington Bullets, Bol's athletic credentials were established. Nevertheless, the man was born to compete.
Actually he may have been born to scare the shit out of crows, but the NBA got to him first. Either way, a fiery competitor.
The 7'7" 240-pound Bol ambled into the ring to battle the galactic Refrigerator Perry last week on Fox's Celebrity Boxing. You know, the place that destitute and forgotten demi-celebrities go when they're too obscure for Hollywood Squares. In the ancient world they might've been fed to wild beasts during ritualized public spectacles, but now they're just fed to one another on Fox. This is TV for people who think regular network TV is too full of big words. So yeah, we love it. We ain't much on fancy book learnin'.
A quick thought on the Fridge: still fat. A few spins beyond fat, really. You could sing fat songs and drink hot cups of fat all day and not be as colossally fat as this fat, fat man. Still cute as a kitten, too. An imposing figure if you have to box him. Or if you're a doughnut.
So Fridge and Bol in the ring, nose to navel, prepared to fight in some air-conditioned television studio. What brought these cherished '80s relics to blows? Our initial suspicion: feudin' families. Some unknown event in the distant past, a trivial land dispute, territorial chaff, led generations of young Bol's to defend the family honor against the hated Perry's.
But no, actually it turns out they did it for the money.
Fridge's strategy was immediately clear: stand in the middle of the ring and allow his immense gravitational field to lure Manute inward. Fridge knows that he is the massive, unseen point at the center of the galaxy from which no particle, no light, no curly fry can escape. We are all, even now, being drawn slowly toward his incalculable mass.
Somehow Manute remained on the periphery of the ring, however, slowly circling Perry for three rounds. He moved like a stick figure in bad claymation, occasionally dispatching one of his spindly tentacles toward Perry. A few of these looping swipes landed, and Bol was judged the winner. Fridge just has too much surface area to protect. Things are going to collide with a man that big---birds, buses, asteroids, and certainly punches intended for him.
During breaks between rounds, Fox cameras took us into the corners where we could read the athletes' faces. Manute sat there, bony elbows on bony knees, thinking, "What kind of bullshit is this? I blocked 2,086 shots. National hero, my ass. Let's see...face poverty and religious persecution in dusty, starving country or box this guy who looks like he swallowed the dude I was supposed to fight. Dunno. God, I need a smoke."
Fridge sat opposite Bol thinking, "Mmmmm...he looks like a corn dog."
Big Foam Finger