Little Giant, Big Test
FOR AFICIONADOS OF the sweet science, one of the chronic disappointments of the past decade has been the refusal of big-name fighters to take on credible opponents. No one, however, can pin that rap on St. Paul's Will Grigsby. The pride of Selby Avenue (and Minnesota's first true champ since 1920) tells Off Beat that later this summer he will put his 14-1-1 professional record and his International Boxing Federation junior flyweight title on the line against the great Mexican straw-weight Ricardo Lopez. The bout, tentatively scheduled for August 21, promises to be the biggest test of Grigsby's career--and the biggest fight by far for a Minnesota boxer in decades. Grigsby's $250,000 cut of the purse is the richest any Minnesota fighter has seen since Scott LeDoux pulled in that identical sum in his unsuccessful challenge of then-world heavyweight champ Larry Holmes back in 1980. Lopez, nicknamed "Finito," is undefeated in 48 pro fights (with 36 KOs) and has successfully defended his title 22 consecutive times, which not only makes him the sport's longest current reigning champ, but also places him second only to the legendary Joe Louis in that regard. How does "Steel" Will feel about the prospect of taking on the man the boxing press habitually touts as one of the best fighters, pound-for-pound, in the world? In typically muted fashion, Grigsby says he's "a little excited." Admitting that he's never so much as seen a tape of the mighty Lopez in action, he adds, "I'm sure he'll bring it on, and I'll just fight my type of fight." A site for Grigsby-Lopez has yet to be announced. Says the boxer: "It'll be somewhere between here and Vegas."
Is There a Less-Than-20-Minutes-After-Eating Rule, Too?
LATELY WE'VE BEEN thinking that "City of Lakes" sounds too quaint for the new millennium. Minneapolis needs a new official slogan. How does "Minneapolis: It's for Your Own Damn Good" grab you? The idea struck us the other day, after a particularly helpful encounter. Early that morning we'd donned our bathing togs and headed for Cedar Lake, only to find that no one was in the water. Instead, a handful of our would-be fellow swimmers were gathered on the sand, waiting. It seems the Minneapolis Park Board has decreed that no one may take a dip in any of Minneapolis's 11 beaches or 30-plus pools unless the air temperature exceeds 65 degrees--and at 8:00 a.m. on this particular day, we still had one degree to go. "Sometimes children who are swimming might be in the water longer than they should," explains the Park Board's aquatic director Brian Erickson. "A lot of times kids--and adults--just don't know their own bodies. To be swimming when the air temp is below 65 is not the safest thing to do." Concludes Erickson: "It's our longtime policy and it's probably consistent with other cities." According to Mike Hahm, special services manager at St. Paul's Division of Parks and Recreation, that city has been known to close its beaches during thunderstorms or when it's extremely cold. "But we don't have a benchmark temperature," Hahm adds. "If it was some temperature and sunny and there were people there, we would probably keep the beach open. We interpret it on a day-to-day basis." We also put in a call to the urban-swimming capital of the universe, Los Angeles. "We couldn't keep people out of the water," reports Mike Baliski, manager of the Venice Beach Recreation Center. "It's a way of life out here. If there are strong rip tides and big waves, we tell people. But some still go in. The only way to keep anyone out of the water is if there's a raw sewage spill and the water's contaminated."
WE MIDWESTERNERS ARE such an easy target for those East Coast media bastards. Witness the latest issue of the fashion rag GQ, which manages to take a cheap swipe at our beloved First Suit, Gov. Jesse Ventura. The July issue features a 14-question quiz that allows GQ readers to rate just how dapper they truly are. Sample question: "My cotton slacks are (a) beige; (b) khaki; (c) taupe and suntan; (d) I have no slacks; I have trousers." You get the idea. Then comes the rating system, which ranges from "You are Jim Dandy and should invite Tom Wolfe to dinner" down to "You are Jesse Ventura." Off Beat feels compelled to note that the gube's head is always nicely clean-shaven, and since taking office he's been dressing a lot more like a GQ model, or at least a corporate sales guy. More to the point, GQ might draw more readers if they put Ventura on the cover instead of teasing "Patrick Rafter: The Aussie Adonis."
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