Saturday, June 4, 2016

Black and White TV From Havana

Key West marks the southern terminus of US 1.

In 1980 I spend several weeks there and stayed in a small hotel off Duval Street. TV reception for the Miami stations was weak, however the signals from Havana came in crisp and clear. Most of the programming served Socialism in Spanish, however one station broadcasted sports, especially winter baseball and boxing.

Americans didn't watch Cuban TV.

We were at war with Fidel Castro.

One night I was sitting in Sloppy Joe's Bar and the bartender turned on the Cuban station. The drinkers hooted at his selection. The gnarled barman lifted a thick hand and said, "Teofilo Stevenson is fighting tonight. Three rounds against a Russian."

"An amateur bout." A tourist mumbled from his stool.

"Teofilo is only an amateur, because he refused to sell-out. The mob promotors offered him $5 million to fight Ali. Teofilo said, "What is one million dollars compared to the love of eight million Cubans?"

"Especially those hot Havana chicas." An old fisherman reminisced about the lost paradise ninety miles to the south. "There was no place like Havana."

"Or Cuba." The bartender turned up the TV. "Now watch some real fighting."

Teofilo won the heavyweight match and I returned to my hotel, wondering how to get to Havana from Key West.

There were no ships.

Cuba was not a destination on the airport departure board.

Teofilo Stevenson amassed a record of 302 wins versus 22 losses.

When he departed the world on 11 June 2012 at the age of 60, according to Wikipedia the Cuban state media stated that "the Cuban sporting family was moved today by the passing of one of the greatest of all time."


In living color or black and white.

To watch his knockouts, please go to this URL

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