Molitor handlers miss chance to land promotional KO ... Schenn too good to send down ... Atogwe is Canada's best-kept secret

STEVE SIMMONS

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

The promoters of Steve Molitor don't seem to understand.

While they have done well in setting up a unification title fight in Molitor's backyard at Casino Rama in November, so much of what makes a boxing promotion successful is timing. And the timing on this one stinks.

The fight comes two days before the Grey Cup, and one day before the retirement of Patrick Roy's Montreal Canadiens jersey. If Molitor, a good kid who sometimes gets bad advice, thinks this is the "big stage" as he calls it, maybe he should think again. There won't be much buildup to the fight. Many of the news people who would naturally chronicle the week will be in Montreal for the Grey Cup.

You don't see Don King doing major promotions during Super Bowl Week.

One week later would have been perfect. Molitor, the IBF junior featherweight champion will face the WBA champion, Celestino Caballero. Molitor has a chance to become a real Canadian commodity, if not one throughout the boxing world -- especially if he wins this fight with Caballero. Molitor's promoters had a chance to turn him into a national figure of consequence but won't get that opportunity now because they didn't understand how the market operates.

THIS AND THAT

There are always Paul Beeston rumours and there are always Keith Pelley rumours, so here's the latest going around. Beeston will stay in his job as president of the Blue Jays until after the 2010 Olympics. Pelley will then leave his Olympic broadcasting position to take over the Jays. It's far-fetched but not implausible. Beeston, by the way, is telling everybody he is already searching for Paul Godfrey's replacement but the Rogers people are telling others they want to talk Beeston into staying with the Jays for as long as possible ... Contrast: The U.S. went with experience in naming Jerry Colangelo to head up its Olympic basketball team and he did a marvellous job. Canada will go with Steve Yzerman to head up its Olympic hockey team. Yzerman has name value, but nothing to compare with Colangelo's experience ... Three names Yzerman should consider to coach Team Canada: Mike Babcock, Mike Babcock and Mike Babcock ... Is it in Roberto Luongo's contract that his backup goaltenders must be truly terrible? ... And why so many mentions of Carey Price as a possible goaltender for Team Canada 2010? Aren't Marc-Andre Fleury, Marty Turco, and J-S Giguere considerably ahead of Price in career accomplishments as a goalie to sit behind Luongo and Marty Brodeur?

HEAR AND THERE

This is simple: Luke Schenn is the second best defenceman on the Maple Leafs, probably the best in his own end. Which means he isn't going anywhere ... Schenn and fellow rookie Jonas Frogren have inherited the No. 1 defence position on the Leafs' improving penalty kill ... Five things to actually like about the Leafs: 1. Everything about Niklas Hagman; 2. Ron Wilson not accepting the status quo; 3. Andrew Raycroft in a Colorado uniform; 4. Nikolai Kulemin's hands; 5. Vesa Toskala, until the shootout starts ... The Leafs could have Mark Messier, Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri shooting after overtime and if Toskala continues to let in two of three, they have no chance of getting the extra point ... That was a nice touch by broadcaster Greg Millen on Thanksgiving Day, welcoming all the kids watching on TV in hospital. Then it hit me: What hospitals have Leafs TV on their cable? ... When he is driving home, does Ryan Holl- weg hit cars from behind?

SCENE AND HEARD

With Tom Brady, Joseph Addai, LaDainian Tomlinson and Willie Parker all hurt or playing hurt, the Buffalo-Toronto Bills should make the playoffs by acclamation. But still nobody's buying the overpriced expensive seats for the December game with the Miami Dolphins at the Rogers Centre, which could have real meaning. The stock market collapse doesn't exactly make anyone want to overpay for anything these days ... The best-kept secret in Canadian sport: O.J. Atogwe of the St. Louis Rams. He gets no publicity at all but he's the best Canadian football player anywhere ... See that Cito Gaston's favourite pitcher, Mike Mussina, is contemplating retirement, which is hard to figure after he had his only 20-win season with the Yankees this year ... It's OK to hate the Red Sox. Many do. But you have to respect the way they never quit ... Don't you get the impression Hollweg watched Slap Shot just one time too many ... If Jesse Lumsden was a package, the sticker would read: Fragile. Normie Kwong was the China Clipper. Lumsden is the China Doll ... When Scotty Bowman was general manager of the Buffalo Sabres, he changed coaches seven times in eight seasons, including three stints behind the bench himself. No secret then that Bowman signs on as head consultant in Chicago and Denis Savard is gone after four games.

AND ANOTHER THING

This is not a skill-testing question. Who's the idiot in this one?: a) Adam (Pacman) Jones for getting drunk and allegedly getting beaten up by his bodyguard; b) The bodyguard, for allowing Jones to go to a bar; c) Dallas owner Jerry Jones for hiring Pacman and assigning bodyguards to him; d) all of the above ... If you listen to the lawyers in the David Frost sexual exploitation trial, you would think punching players in the face and hitting them with sticks is an everyday occurrence in junior hockey. This, they say, is what coaches do ... It must be pre-season in basketball: Why else the enthusiasm for the Raptors' lost cause, Joey Graham? ... Is it just me or does Alexei Ponikarovsky look like trade fodder for the new Leafs? ... Yes, there was collusion with Barry Bonds not getting a job. Everybody colluded that they wanted no part of that big-league arsehole ... And hey, whatever became of Rick Leach.


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