Experts lost in space and corners of despair

IT WAS difficult to know which was more predictable: Mike Tyson's demolition of Frank Bruno or the predictions of Sky's team of experts. Gary Mason cited John Major's support as a powerful addition to Frank's armoury; Duke McKenzie suggested that Bruno's trainer, George Francis, would be the key; Glenn McCrory thought that Bruno's self-belief would carry him through. Out in the real world you would have been hard pressed to find three members of the public, let alone boxing experts, who gave Bruno an earthly - but Sky is an extra-terrestrial channel, and long since lost touch with planet Earth.

Only Barry McGuigan, perhaps realising that he was expected to make a fool of himself and leap on the crowded Bruno bandwagon, bravely broke the first law of punditry and stayed on the fence. "Wait until the first bell rings," he said, and a nation of insomniacs, who had been mainlining coffee for hours waiting for that bell to ring, nodded dazed assent.

Bruno's contribution to the seemingly endless build-up was a clip in which he said: "No way, no way, no way." This was no doubt intended to sound like defiance, but it came out as a negative mantra - or the most perceptive prediction of all.

Duke McKenzie was right to pick out Francis as the influential figure in Bruno's corner. At the end of the second round, with his man clearly on the brink of defeat, Francis plugged several square feet of tissue paper into the gaping gash above Bruno's left eye and offered a few quiet words of advice.

"Listen, Frank, this is all you f***ing wanted," he said. "Throw the uppercuts with some f***ing venom. There's nothing wrong with the eye. You know you can win the fight, well f***ing win it." Sky's commentator, Ian Darke, bravely attempted to talk over these words of wisdom, like a referee stepping in to halt a series of low punches, but George got his message across. Difficult to know why Darke bothered: 5am is comfortably later than the 9pm "watershed" for bad language.

A few seconds later, words were irrelevant as Bruno slumped on to the ropes and Tyson added insult to his opponent's injuries by kissing him repeatedly on the head. "Tyson proved all the doubters and critics wrong," Darke observed, omitting to add that he had proved three-quarters of Sky's "experts" wrong as well, seven-eighths if you include McGuigan.

Two little images linger from the late-night vigil: the way Don King kept his hand on his wallet throughout the American national anthem, and the introductory caption for Bruno, which read "Hometown: England". Hell, it's only a little itty-bitty place.

Later on Sunday, the cricket World Cup final provided a contest that was not only a lot longer, but a lot more competitive too. The barracking yobbery of Tony Greig's commentary ("Goddeem! Healy's been done!" etc etc) unfortunately defaced the proceedings, but at least he managed to refrain from yelling "Goodnight Charlie!" at departing batsmen, as he used to. The transparent delight in victory of the Sri Lankan players, in particular the portly captain Arjuna Ranatunga, more than made up for Greig's ejaculations.

But it was a shame that Ranatunga didn't have more time for private celebration. He hardly had the cup in his mitts before Ian Chappell had thrust a microphone at him and was demanding to know exactly how delighted he was feeling. Benazir Bhutto, the prime minister of Pakistan, who had presented the trophy, seemed somewhat affronted. Quite right too: can you imagine Kenneth Wolstenholme shoving the Queen out of the way and buttonholing Bobby Moore on the steps at Wembley?

A final word on the World Cup: it is time to address the matter of Richie Benaud's hairstyle. Some high official with the interests of the game at heart should take the distinguished man aside, hand him a comb, and suggest that he do the honourable thing. Right now he looks like Quentin Crisp, and one can't picture the Naked Civil Servant being welcome at Lord's.

There was some pretty poor stuff on the terrestrial channels, which seem to have given up. Oddballs (ITV) and the excruciating Auntie's Sporting Bloomers (BBC1) both recycled tired old video clips, while The Greatest (C4) continued its fatuous attempt to compare great sportsmen with other great sportsmen, and have celebrity experts score their careers. Who gives a toss what Frances Edmonds and Nigel Havers think about Jackie Stewart? Channel 4 is capable of challenging and unusual sports coverage - all the more reason why this bad joke of a programme should have been strangled at birth.

The only decent live action for the dishless was Nottingham Forest v Bayern Munich (BBC1), with John Motson behind the mike. As Bayern knocked in their fifth, Motty noticed that "Frank Clark is almost in a no-win situation". Just like his namesake. It was not a good week to be Frank.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz