If you thought Who Wants To Marry a Multi-Millionaire? was classy, Fox has news for you.
Fox aired a prime-time TV special on Wednesday, March 13, 2002 at 9:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. It featured three real bouts between "celebrities" who must now resort to boxing to make a living. They are:
- Danny "Boom Boom" Bonaduce vs. Barry "The Butcher" Williams. Bonaduce played Danny Partridge on "The Partridge Family," while Williams played Greg Brady on "The Brady Bunch." Neither has had much success outside of those roles.
- Robbie "Bi-Polar" Van Winkle (aka Vanilla Ice) vs. Todd "Mad Dog" Bridges. No shit. Ice Ice Baby versus What you talkin bout, Willis?
- Tonya "TNT" Harding vs. Paula "The Pounder" Jones. Originally, the "Long Island Lolita" Amy Fisher was supposed to box against Harding, but Fisher's parole board disapproved. Jones, who sued former President Clinton on sexual harrassment charges, was tapped to replace Fisher.
As far as rules
go, the fighters wore slightly more padded
gloves than usual and were slated to fight three two-minute rounds. No three-knockdown rule
was in effect. For maximum cheesiness
, Michael Buffer
served as ring announcer
, announcer, and ringside
Of the six combatants, only one (Harding) has any sort of athletic experience, and looked like the only one who could throw a punch during the opening montage.
- Bonaduce-Williams. Oh, my. Bonaduce definitely has the skills, knocking Williams down four times in the first round alone. Bonaduce emerged victorious at 1:26 in the second round by TKO, after repeatedly knocking down a beleagured Williams until Williams' corner threw in the towel. For some reason, Bonaduce had "GOLDEN PALACE .COM" written in large letters on his bare back.
- Van Winkle-Bridges. Bridges has clearly learned a lot from his violent life after Diff'rent Strokes, dominating the motocross-riding Van Winkle from early on. Although Bridges landed some huge punches to Van Winkle's head, there was no
first-round KO. Both fighters came out flailing their arms weakly in round 2, trying in vain to slap each other down to the mat. Bridges once again dominated, but both fighters looked exhausted in the second round. The same could be said for the third round, as both fighters looked absolutely pooped and threw very few punches until the last thirty seconds. Bridges won a unanimous decision, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27.
- The main event, Harding-Jones. Holy crap! Paula Jones can throw a punch! The two fighters wore extra-padded headgear, so jabs to the head lost some of their effectiveness. Still, despite Jones's obvious nervous attitude, she managed to hold her own in the first round. Like most lightweight fights, there's a lot of quick jabs but not much in the way of giant knockouts. Jones repeatedly made the mistake of turning her head away from Harding, to her own detriment. Harding knocked Jones on her ass twice in the second round, then retreated to take her asthma medicine after Jones was saved by the bell at the end of the second round. After Jones started waving away in Round 3 to indicate "No más," Harding hit Jones in the head to punctuate the end of the fight. Referee Raul Cáez, Jr. stopped the fight at just inside one minute into the third round, declaring Harding the winner by TKO.
Overall, a horrible waste
of an hour.
Although the program exhibited just about all the symptoms of poor taste, and demonstrated all that is wrong with American culture, Fox found that it was ratings gold. A sequel, Celebrity Boxing II, aired on May 22, 2002.