February 20, 2003

From Ice Princess To Ring Queen

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Olympic figure skater by day and psycho knee slasher by night, ice queen Tonya Harding has recently been seeking ways to erase her past mistakes.

“I’ve been trying to turn my image around to be a lady,” she said. “But you know what? I can still be a lady and a great athlete, too.”

Since the makeup and skirts associated with ice skating are not sufficiently lady-like for the convicted felon, Harding has now delved into the black-eye and missing teeth world of boxing.

Most would agree that boxing is not something you get involved in to make the world believe you are a lady.

I think Harding stepped into the ring because boxing is the only sport that will forget your criminal activity in lieu of getting punched in the head.

Maybe the promoters, or whoever decides who fights whom, ask the likes of Harding to participate in a bout for that very reason. I know there is at least one woman who would pay to see Harding get repeatedly punched in the head.

The world of figure skating has ousted Harding for her suspected involvement and admitted obstruction of the investigation into the Nancy Kerrigan knee incident. Since then Harding has tried her hand at coaching and even placed second at an ESPN professional competition in Virginia in 2000.

But her second go at skating suffered a fatal blow after she was put on probation for assaulting her ex-husband with a hubcap. Supposedly, she was throwing the hubcap at her ex’s motorcycle but it accidentally hit him in the face instead. She finished him off by punching him in the head a few times.

Harding has introduced other sides of this story. She has referred to the 911 call that a bystander made in which she was heard shouting “I punched him in the face because he came after me and put me to the ground.”

In an interview she did on Larry King Live, Harding added that, “I was not really in the right state of mind — now I look back on it, and things — finding out things from my doctor, with the medications that I was on was a very probable cause of why this had happened.”

At the time, she was taking Zoloft for clinical depression, Hydrocodone for back pain from a car accident she had been in earlier, and had been drinking.

Larry quickly reminded Harding that “Obviously, those three don’t mix.”

In the midst of the confusion surrounding the actual events that transpired on that day Harding threw the hubcap and punched her boyfriend, a spark must have gone off. But this did not kindle real interest in boxing until the Ice Capades called her agent and informed Harding that the deal they had been working on was terminated.

Tonya would not be returning to the ice and, as the details of her assault permeated the airwaves, she would not be coaching the girls she claimed as students. Their parents cut those skate laces faster than the ones that broke at Lillehammer.

Alas, Harding was left with nothing. Soon after, she was forced to pay back taxes and had to sell her home. So, to make some quick cash, she signed up to fight Paula Jones on Fox’s Celebrity Boxing.

Perhaps she remembered the beating she gave her boyfriend and decided to give boxing a legal attempt.

That match was one of the highest watched over the course of the show.

Jones was pummeled.

That brings us to the present. Harding has signed on with Prize Fight Boxing and will most likely participate in her first bout this Saturday. Its not certain at this time because the headliner, coincidentally or not, Mike Tyson, said he was not fighting on Monday, then changed his mind and chartered a plane to Memphis on Tuesday and said he was. If the main event goes on as planned, and 10,700 ticket holders hope it will, Harding’s match probably will too.

But why boxing? She could have gone on MTV’s Tough Enough and won a spot in the WWE. Wrestling seems more up her alley, with the props and all. She could be the first to use a hubcap and billy club simultaneously!

I guess that wrestlers don’t really convey the feminine image she is looking to exude, or maybe she chatted with WWE officials, but was advised that those with a criminal record should seek a career in boxing instead.

I just hope she doesn’t ask Mike for any advice.

Archived article by Katherine Granish