The HBO Fight of the Year
October 8, 2003
Jim Lampley: Good evening and welcome to the Mandalay Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas for what promises to be an intriguing match-up between the up and coming Jerome ‘the Haberdasher’ Khan and Clement “The Chronic Conference Goer” Rohee.
It is being brought to you by Daquiris Promotions, one of many they have set up in the past few years. George, I presume you remember the lightweight bout between Freddie ‘Salara’ Kissoon and Tacuma “the Resistance Man” Ogunseye?
Let’s get ready to rumble
George Foreman: Who can forget that, a massacre! For me Freddie is like Naseem Hamed, charming and wild but his analysis is weakened by emotion always leaving him open for attack. When he came up against the surgical arguments of Ogunseye it was bye bye... a three-letter knockout.
It reminded me of the Mikey Sing bout...
Lampley: We’re talking about pugilists not plagiarists, George... and let me turn to HBO analyst Larry Merchant for his opening comments..
Larry: You know I have been watching boxing for many decades ....
George: Watching not fighting...
Larry: Yes, thank you for that comment George ...But I have never seen such an intriguing fight as the one tonight. I can characterise it in a nutshell as “Brash young capitalism against Unadulterated Marxism”. Rohee with his awkward Leninesque southpaw style of argument, with a reputation of statistical low blows fighting Khan’s hot headed, busybody style.
Lampley: And on that point, many are wondering where this Khan has suddenly come from. Out of obscurity he has risen rapidly under the tutelage of his late trainer Desmond “Mo Fire” Hoyte and then Robert Corbin to the point where he is now calling himself the Shadow Minister of Foreign Trade and International Co-operation.... Many have said his lying down in front of the Office of the President after the 2001 elections, his subsequent arrest and the riots that day that almost burnt down his own store, proved he was a fitting politician for Guyana. Well, the fight is ready to begin so everyone sit back and enjoy what may prove to be the HBO fight of the year..
...The bell rings and out comes Khan taking a big swipe at the government’s handling of the OCT route for rice... complicated stuff...but well articulated..
Foreman: I like it ...a solid connection
Lampley: But Rohee retaliates with a flurry of adjectives... “high falutin, hapless, oblivious”...a stylish combination.
Larry Merchant: Those were glancing blows... he needs facts, numbers to impress the judges.
Foreman: But Khan had better be careful; those remarks can add up over the rounds...
Bell rings to end Round 1
Lampley: All right...Let’s hear what their corners are telling their fighters.
Corbin: Ok Jerome, good work! But watch out for his left wing hooks...Now counter punch his diplomatic clumsiness and let’s see you use the rice farmers as ‘fat cats’ angle that we discussed in training...Hit him in his socialist solar plexus..
Janet Jagan: (sponging water on his head) Good work, Comrade Clement ...Bring out those rice production statistics under the PNC. It always works. Get busy!
Ten rounds later
Lampley: Ok this is the championship round and can you believe these fighters have gone the full twelve columns...George?
George I kind of thunk it given their previous dragged out fights. At this point it is anyone’s match and it all depends on the judges...
Lampley: Oooh! Khan caught Rohee with a vicious combination, opening up the vistas of collapsed talks at Cancun and even the ACP sugar protocol. This is getting nasty...Rohee is on the ropes bleeding European subsidies, his foreign policy taking a beating...
Merchant: Don’t count him out...the PPP is still a party that sings the Internationale..and they call each other comrade without irony. It will take a good licking to drive communism out of Rohee...
Lampley: And here he comes!!! Rohee has finally woken up with a vicious flurry of statistics...”73,269 tonnes of rice under the PNC ....” Wo! He’s landed the big blows of what went on under the PNC regime “political feather bedding... pilfering... gross incompetence...” He staggers Khan...whose argument is looking decidedly wobbly... could the Stalwart out brawl the Upstart?
Foreman: Watch out!
Merchant: Khan looks conquered!... Rohee rampacious!
Lampley: But is it enough? Khan was strong early on... Here comes a final flurry from both fighters... Rohee lands an obscure quote from Daniel Dafoe on trade, ... Khan replies with “we are waiting for answers not excuses...”
Foreman: Boy this is close!
Announcer: Ok let’s go to the judges’ scorecards... Judge David Hinds scores the bout 115-113 for Rohee (and has provided a 20-page analysis which he demands be published in tomorrow’s Stabroek News); Professor Wesley Kirton calls the fight 115-112 to Khan and Ramon Gaskin scores the bout 116-112 to the winner and.... STILL Minister of Foreign Trade and International Co-operation, Clement Rohee... Rohhhheeee!!!
Lampley: OK, Larry Merchant, you have Rohee with you there. Let’s here what he has to say..
Larry: Congratulations Clement...Did you ever feel he hurt you?
Rohee: No, Larry... His arguments had little power and were ill-informed.. I managed to slip his attack on my clumsy diplomacy and hit back hard...(to the camera) New World Human Order’s in the House!!
Larry: So it was the statistics that did it for you?
Rohee: Yes Larry... Statistics on the PNC’s 28 years continue to be the main thrust of mine and my colleagues’ attacks coupled with an opportunistic identification with the poor man...It has worked for me and the party for eleven years... Let me take the opportunity to thank the holy trinity, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin....Now bring on Corbin..I want to debate Corbin like yesterday.... New World Human Order RULES! MASSIVE!
Larry: Can you believe it, George? In the 21st century, communism still prospers?
Foreman: No Larry...It worked for Ali against me in Zaire...the way he got the masses on his side...
Lampley: OK, Let’s wrap up. Rohee gets the judges’ nod but certainly not a decisive victory and now for a final word from Larry...
Merchant: Thank you, Jim... You know, as I was pouring the last of the cereal into my bowl this morning it occurred to me how quickly life runs out... Tonight we saw a fight which had excitement, passion, even some reason, but did it have meaning? In years to come can we turn to this argument ranging over 12 columns or almost two pages of the Stabroek News and say this changed the future of the Guyanese rice industry?
Did it move the country forward? Or was it really about two middle-aged men looking to score points off each other and get their names in the newspaper?