Boy, the brand label on the front of these monkey-size metallic azure boxing shorts sure says it all, doesn’t it? Everlast? Because that’s exactly what the once and still-reigning Champanzee had to do, to make it to this juncture: anther unanimous decision in his favor! And so, this rather beat-up specimen of Pan troglodytes will manage to hang on to the gaudy Championship Belt of the WWWF (World Wildlife Wrangling Federation) for yet another few months at least.
But, if you happened to be seated at ringside this evening, you know it was never a sure thing. Early in the bout, the victor’s fierce opponent, Hector Himalayahead, was making him look like a monkey’s uncle! Then again, Hector is no slouch, either. Man, that guy can take some hits to the ol’ coconut and still keep coming! In the later rounds, though, the Champ’s extended reach (a full 22” greater than that of Hector) gave him an increasing advantage. Sometimes hanging from the ropes by his clamped feet, he worked his way back to his winning strategy: in his words, to “float like a bonobo, and sting like an orang”. Rope-a-doping like a capuchin one-third his size, he made a chump of his foe.
This is the second bout in just 4 months in which this reigning alpha male ape came from behind to win the decision. His March match with Roundhouse Rubio, the ‘Rican Roustabout, was just as thrilling, and just as hard to call until the final round. In that fight it was the Champ’s frantic gymnastic antics that kept him from harm, until he could begin working Rubio with some long-armed roundhouses of his own.
It has been a long and strange road that has brought Champanzee to this point in his career. Who would have guessed that the tiny companion to an itinerant gypsy organ-grinder from the villages of Romania would some day pack them in at Madison Square Garden?
Hooking up with a traveling circus out of Bucharest, the young Champ tried his hand at just about every demeaning role typically demanded of a lower primate in the service of entertaining the so-called upper primates: riding show ponies, dressing up as a clown, performing slapstick back-flips, grinning toothily, wearing a tux with a red rose in the lapel, covering his eyes, ears and mouth in sequence, and so on.
It looked like he would get his first big break when a casting director on vacation in Austria suggested him for a major role in an upcoming string of Clint Eastwood comedies. Unfortunately, after traveling to Los Angeles for a series of screen tests, this poor ape lost out to a big orange orang with a poker face and better comedic timing. In the rough patch that followed, Champanzee bounced from lousy job to lousy job. Longshoreman, bartender, bouncer, janitor, set dresser, chauffeur, doorman, waste management route driver, bicycle courier, parking valet, bus boy — the Champ could never quite find his niche.
Until one day, wishing to rid himself of his developing paunch, this primate stepped into the Gold’s Gym on La Cienega, and the rest, as they say, is history.
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