The Scrapple In The Apple!
Dateline: May 13, 1992 - 8AM -
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"The Scrapple In The Apple" which was originally billed as the "Ruckus In Secaucus", came to life when Howard and Robin took a victory walk around New York City in January of '92. During the tour, one of their stops was the gym where Geraldo Rivera was working out. During Howard's interview with Geraldo, Howard asked him if he'd be interested in boxing another celebrity. Predictably, Geraldo agreed. The first contender that Howard lined up for Geraldo was actor, Robert Conrad. However, several days later Howard said that Conrad had backed out of the fight so the search for another challenger continued. Howard's next choice was ex-Watergate burglar and now WJFK DJ, G. Gordon Liddy. This time it was Geraldo who backed out of the fight sighting the age difference between himself and Liddy. A few weeks later, Frank Stallone was on the radio show and Howard asked him if he'd box Geraldo. Stallone, who has had 24 amateur fights in his life, said yes. To make sure that this third challenger was acceptable to Geraldo, Howard, with Stallone in the studio, got Geraldo on the phone and after several minutes of discussion, both men agreed to a boxing match that would consist of 3 - 2 minute rounds.
Betting for this event was intense. Howard had the most bets with anybody on the show. He bet Jackie and Fred $500 and Gary $100 that Stallone would win. He also bet Fred and Jackie $300 that Stallone would knock out Geraldo. The betting ban on Robin was lifted after she made good on old bets with other Stern show members. She bet Jessica Hahn $100 on Stallone to win.
Right from the start the "Scrapple" generated plenty of controversy. After Geraldo agreed to box Frank Stallone, Geraldo's agent called up the producer of Howard's TV show, Dan Forman, and told him that there wasn't going to be a fight no matter what Geraldo said. Feeling betrayed, Howard bad-mouthed Geraldo until he called up to talk about it on the air. Geraldo finally agreed to the match but the were stipulations that complicated the event. Geraldo said that he wanted to raise money for a charity organization and so he offered 50 seats in the gym for $200 per ticket. Then Geraldo and Howard had to iron out the TV rights and other matters of exclusivity. And so finally "The Scrapple In The Apple" was set to happen.
THE BIG EVENT: Fight day, May 13, 1992. Everyone converged on the Kingsway Fitness center in New York City. As expected, there was some pre-fight controversy about the use of head gear and the weight of the gloves. Geraldo wanted to follow the rules of the gym and use head gear and 16oz gloves. Stallone said he didn't want head gear or 16oz gloves. After intense negotiations both camps agreed to follow the rules of the gym. On hand to call the fight with Howard and Robin was WNBC-TV sports reporter, Len Berman.
ROUND ONE: Stallone dominated the fight, keeping Geraldo on the ropes and moving for a good part of the round. Stallone used a vicious left hook that by the end of round one, gave Geraldo a glowing red nose and face and set the tone for the rest of the fight.
ROUND TWO: Controversy dominated this round. After a fierce set of exchanges between the two stars, the referee separated them. As Stallone started to move in with another left hook, he lost his balance and slipped. The referee scored it as a knock down. At the end of the round, you could see the anger in Stallone's face about the wrongly scored knock down.
ROUND THREE: This round was much like round one. Stallone dominated the round, keeping Geraldo on the ropes. Geraldo didn't throw many punches during the round. He opted for tying up Stallone and getting as much rest time as possible hoping to go the distance without getting knocked down or out. As the final round wound down, both boxers showed signs of exhaustion. Just before the final bell rang, Frank Stallone had Geraldo on the ropes in a corner and it seemed as if both men were fighting in slow motion.
THE RESULTS: While both fighters put there best punches forward that day, it was clear that only one could be crowned the winner. The two judges and the referee scored the fight as follows. 30-26, 30-26, 29-28, which meant that by a unanimous decision, Frank Stallone was the winner and champion of the first "Scrapple in the Apple". For Geraldo's efforts, he was awarded a broken nose according Jackie Stallone, who also claimed that her son Frank went into the ring knowing full well that he had broken a rib in training and that it could have punctured one of his lungs. After the fight, Howard asked Stallone about the scored knock down, Stallone told him, "It wasn't a knock down, I slipped." Even Geraldo wasn't sure if it was a knock down sighting that Frank was "tough".
Both fighters congratulated each other and acted like true sportsman. When Howard spoke with Frank Stallone after the fight, Stallone said of his victory over Geraldo, "Geraldo Rivera's got more heart and more balls than anybody I know. I hit this guy with hard shots and he came back and he didn't give up for a second. He's a manÉ because it takes a lot of balls to get into this ring and I take my hat off to him." It seems that both fighters were members of the mutual admiration society that day because Geraldo's sentiments reflected Stallone's. "It's nice to be in the same ring with a gentleman. Frank's a good fighter. His punches were really stinging. I'm glad I could go the distance and it was a real honor to fight you Frank.", Geraldo said. The fight earned over $10,000 for Geraldo's charity and high ratings for Howard, which means that with or without Geraldo or Stallone, someday there may just be a "The Scrapple In The Apple 2".
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