For sheer grotesqueness, it’s hard to top the celebrity bout between William “The Refrigerator” Perry, the former hole-clogger for the Chicago Bears, and Manute Bol, the erstwhile three-point shooting machine for the Golden State Warriors. Perry weighed over 400 pounds — at least 50 above his playing weight — when he climbed through the ropes at Atlantic City’s Emerald Queen Casino on May 22, 2002. As for Bol, he was still the 7-foot-7 stick figure of his basketball days when he climbed over — yes, over — the ropes:
In a pre-fight interview, Fridge seemed undaunted by Manute’s 102-inch reach (as well as his reputation, as a youth in his native Sudan, for killing a lion with a spear). “He’s seven-foot-something,” he said. “I’m 6-3 or whatever. But, you know, you don’t fight standing up. You got to bend down, you got to bend your knees and everything. So he’s got to come down to size.”
Ring analyst Ray Mancini, the onetime WBA lightweight champ, wasn’t sure how Perry could attack Bol — legally, at least. “This guy is so tall,” he said, “I don’t know where [Perry]’d hit him without it being below the belt.” And indeed, watching the two paw each other was like watching a giraffe tangle with a water buffalo.
Both men had retired in 1994. They also were the same age: 39. In his sports afterlife, Perry goofed around in wrestling and Toughman boxing, while Bol engaged in various publicity stunts to raise money for relief efforts in his war-ravaged country. He even tried to play hockey with the Indianapolis Ice of the Central Hockey League, “but his arthritic feet swelled in his custom-made skates before he could take the ice,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
The bout was scheduled for three rounds of about 90 seconds (by my watch). Looks like Michael Buffer is ready to introduce the fighters. . . .
Thankfully, there was no rematch.