Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 10: Episode 10

84j: Kathleen Turner / John Waite

Boxing Stories

Boxing Stories

[Gray-haired Tony Manetti, in a cap, apron, and striped vendor's uniform, is discovered alone in a spotlight on a darkened Home Base in front of a black curtain. He works the aisle at a boxing arena selling bags of snacks to the patrons. The camera, playing the role of an old friend, trucks slowly toward him.]

Tony Manetti: [gravel-throated New York accent] Peanuts, popcorn, twenty-five cents a bag! Let's go, hurry up. Hey, how ya doin'? How are ya, huh? Peanuts, popcorn, twenty-five cents a bag! Let's go, there ya go, pal. Let's go. [catches a tossed coin] Oh! Thank you, pal. Peanuts, popcorn, twenty-five cents a bag!

[stares into approaching camera, points at it, as if greeting an old friend] Heyyyyyy! Hey, how are ya? Huh? How are ya? Huh? How are ya? Huh? ... Who are you? ... [recognizes his old friend] Oh, yeah! Hey, yeah! How are ya? Yeah, ya look good, ya look good. You do. I - I don't see so good, all this stuff hangin' over here. Hey, you look good, you look good, you really look good. You do. You do. You look good. I swear, you look good. You do! You look great. I think you do. Ya do. Huh? How are ya?! ...

Yeah. Hey, you still fightin'? Oh. How come? You started to bleed at the weigh-ins? Yeah, well, you know ... That happens. That happens. Boxing's a tough game. We're in a tough racket. But I love the sweet science. I love the game. Yeah, these kids today are great. These fighters today are great, they is. They're great, they are. But, you know, I think it's tough, you know? The black fighters today are the greatest fighters, I think. You know, you got, like, Tommy Hearns is great. And the Marvelous Marvin Hamlisch, he's great! They're all great! ...

See? See, but I think we had it tougher when we was fightin', right? Because, like, the Jewish fighters were fightin' then. And the Jews are tougher to fight, I think, because the Jews are used to fightin' at home. ... You know what I mean? All day long, they're goin' "Ya did!" "Ya didn't!" "Ya did!" "Ya didn't!" "Ya did!" "Ya didn't!" "What did I do?" "You left that much soda in the bottle, ya put it back in the refrigerator! Drive me nuts!" "Oh, yeah? Who the hell leaves an egg in a cup stinkin' up the place? You know? You makin' me crazy! It's disgusting!" "Oh, yeah? You bought retail!" "I did not!" "Ya did!" "Ya didn't!" "Ya did!" "Ya didn't!" "And you ain't so kosher! When you eat out, I seen you eat shellfish!" "I did not!" "Ya did!" "Ya didn't!" So by the time they get in the ring, they're nuts, right? ... I get in the ring, they look at me and go, "You did!" I go, "I didn't!" AND THEY BEAT THE HELL OUT O' ME! ...

[calms down, grins, gently] But I look better now, don't I? Yeah, I - I got this fixed. [points to his nose] Yeah, yeah, I had it put in the middle. But that's it. ... That's all. See? See? See? See? And now, now there's this whole movement, you know, you know, to stop boxin'! They wanna stop boxin'! They do. You know, that group, what do you call that, eh --? Right! The, uh, the AMA! They wanna ban boxin'. They think that guys - They think that guys - They think that guys get hurt! Listen. I had over a hundred fights. And I NEVER was REALLY hurt. You know? I even fought nine fights in one night. Nine. Because none of the other fighters showed up. ... I fought nine fights in one night because I loved it! And this group -- this, uh, A.F.L. -- thinks they know - they know what gettin' hurt is. All right. I'll tell ya about that. Sunnyside Gardens in Queens. I'm fightin', uh, Ernesto "the Gardener" Torres, right? Now, Ernesto breaks my nose, he does, in the first round. Clean. Pow! Right there. My eyes are shut and, finally, after a little bit, I visit the - the canvas, you know? I go down, I go down, I do. The referee comes over and he says, "Tony! How many fingers am I holdin' up?!" I looked at him and I said, "I think I'll order the lamb chops, please." Now ...

This, ah, NBA group thinks that that is hurt. I was STUNNED! That's all! I was NOT hurt! ... [pause] What? I'm sorry. I - I went to Coney Island for a second. Now ... See - see, this now - It makes me mad, you know. If - if - if they wanna stop the violence in boxin', don't let nobody ride the subway to the arena, that's all. But let me tell ya this. They can't stop the boxing. They can't - They can't take these kids' futures away from them, you know what I'm sayin'? The thing about it-- See, the fighters could help themselves. They could. They could help themselves. You just gotta know when it's time to QUIT! You know when it was time for me to quit? The eighth fight o' that night. You know? ... I hit the canvas for the thirteenth time, see, see, see? And I looked out over the crowd - and I seen a familiar face in the third row goin' [whispers] "Stay down, Tony. Stay down." [beat] It was ME! ... That's when it's time to get out. You know? So, you tell this group, y'see? See, even that night, I wasn't hurt then. I was just DAZED! That's it. So this group, this, uh, this CIA group, they don't-- I hope this, uh, MBL don't ever stop the sweet science. Don't stop the sweet science. You know? If they stopped it, we wouldn't'a' had the Joe Louis, we wouldn't'a' had the Alis, we wouldn't'a' had these people if they had stopped it. See, this group, they DON'T KNOW NOTHIN'!

Now, lemme tell ya somethin', pal. You know, I had a lot o' fights. An' I took a lot o' punches. An', to keep my health, I took a brain scan. And you know somethin'? They didn't find nothin'. ... So, tell that to that group, I'll tell ya that right now. Hey, did you hear the bell for the fights? Ya did? Whew! Good. All right. Now, listen. I'll, uh, I'll, uh, wait for ya, if you - you wanna get together afterwards, after the fights, if you wanna see me, after, we-- Yeah. Yeah, I would love to have a beer with you. We'd be breakin' training, though. Yeah, okay, come on! Yeah, I'll be right there! Where the hell else am I goin'? All right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, see ya. [the camera tracks back and away from Tony as he goes back to work] Peanuts, popcorn, twenty-five cents a bag! Hey, how are ya?!

[Cheers. Applause. Tony shadowboxes. Dissolve to a wider view of the Studio 8H audience. Fade.]

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