cricket, SPORTS

Windies’ Board Election Clash — Cameron vs. Skerritt

The title fight dubbed the “Thrilla in Manilla” between Muhammad Ali, and Joe Frazier is well documented in the annals of boxing history.

The fight was contested on October 1, 1975, and is ranked as one of the best in the journal of sports.

However, the pre-fight promotion was just as fascinating and entertaining as the fight itself.

Part of the drama back then was Ali’s psychological strategy of verbally abusing Joe Frazier nicknaming him, “The Gorilla.”

Moreover, he taunted him with the rhyme, “It will be a killa and a thrilla and a chilla when I get the Gorilla in Manila.”

Added to the drama was Ali’s introduction of his mistress, Veronica Porché, as his wife to the then President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda.

Needless to say, Ali’s angered wife, Khalilah, flew to the Philippines to defend her status.

Come fight day, Ali continued his lyrical taunt of Joe Frazier in the ring, “You don’t have it, Joe, you don’t have it! I’m going to put you away!”

In response, Frazier smiled and said, “We’ll see.”

Referee Carlos Padilla, at the time, reportedly said, “During the fight [Ali] would say ‘Ah one ah two and a three … Jack be nimble, and Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick. Is that all you can give? Come on, you ugly gorilla—hit me!’’

Ali eventually won the fight, but at the end of the ninth-round while in his corner he reportedly told his trainer, “Man, this is the closest I’ve ever been to dying.”

He also later told his biographer Thomas Hauser, “Frazier quit just before I did. I didn’t think I could fight anymore.”

Fast forward to this Sunday, Ricky Skerritt, a former Cricket West Indies board member will be seeking to unseat the incumbent President Dave Cameron.

Although not as exciting and entertaining as the Ali vs. Frazier boxing bout, the CWI election carries with it a fair amount of intrigue and drama.

First, the pre-election campaign has brought out some former players, many of whom are siding against Cameron.

Now, for the most part, many of these former players served in one capacity or another under Cameron’s stewardship but were later put out to pasture.

Second, the Jamaican cricket board which nominated Cameron is yet to declare their endorsement of his re-election as President.

Third, speculation is rife that the political leadership from a few of the Eastern Caribbean countries may have a lot to do with Skerritt being set up and influenced to challenge Cameron.

In the meantime, Cameron is seeking to run on his record which is open to scrutiny by members of the public.

More cricketers “eating a food,” three world titles won, improvements in Test and One Day games, setting up of the Professional Cricket League, more trained coaches, better infrastructure, more inclusiveness of administrators, among others.

On the other hand, Skerritt has put forward a10-point plan as part of his manifesto which according to some pundits brings nothing new to the table and is cited as not worth the paper it is written on.

The fact is Cameron has been charged time and again of lacking interpersonal skills, but no one can question his proven record of performance relative to what obtains before.

It must also be noted that Skerritt supported Cameron’s agenda up until about two months ago.

So, Skerritt’s Damascus experience some pundits have argued should be allowed to play out before he is rewarded the steering of CWI ship.

The fact of the matter is this election is steeped in insularity, personal vendetta, and political tribalism.

The loser in this election when the dust is all settled will be the Windies cricket fans as the posturing, ‘frenism’, and politicking is bound to continue.

Yvad billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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