Booking an All-Toronto Maple Leafs Celebrity Boxing Card

A detailed view of the boxing gloves ringside (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
A detailed view of the boxing gloves ringside (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
Wendel Clark #17 of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov 14, 1996 (Photo by Elsa Hasch /Allsport) /

The Co-Main Event

Tiger Williams (in his prime) vs Wendel Clark (in his prime)

This would be one of the most anticipated bouts thanks to the antics at the weigh-in. Wendel Clark brought a hockey stick and rode it around immediately after his weight was announced at 180 pounds. It was meant to mock his opponent who famously did it to celebrate the goals he scored in the NHL. Unimpressed, David “Tiger” Williams kicked the stick out from under Clark prompting a large melee with both players’ entourages.

The former first overall pick from the 1985 draft knew what he was doing at the weigh-in, trying to play mind games with Williams. Knowing that Williams is the NHL’s all-time penalty minutes leader and not afraid to get dirty, Clark looked for any possible advantage.  However, the climate cooled off before the event without any further incidents.

Clark has been in a lot of fights and nearly all of them while he was a member of the Maple Leafs. Clark dropped his mitts 108 times while with the club and had an additional eight tilts while playing for other teams. Williams has slightly more scraps as a Leaf. He was involved in just six more fights than Clark. However, playing with other teams, Williams has considerably more experience. He has fought 115 times whiles wearing other franchises’ sweaters.

Williams isn’t just familiar with throwing punches on the ice. He actually learned how to punch from his father who was both a painter at a mental hospital and a boxer. It was the skills from the latter job that was passed down to Williams and his five siblings. Most of them even won amateur boxing championships.

Though the crowd is firmly behind Clark, the odds are in Williams’ favour. Vegas bookmakers predicted the penalty minutes leader to win the fight though they didn’t take into account the precision Clark would have with his jabs.

Williams starts very aggressively but is forced to alter his strategy after eating a pair of hard right hands. The contest turns when Williams lands an uppercut immediately followed by a combo. It sends Clark to the mat but he recovers quickly. In the second round, Clark gets knocked down for a second time prompting his son, Kody, to throw in the towel.

The action signals the end of the fight with Williams coming out the victor. The crowd is clearly displeased with the result and begins to boo. What’s unclear is whether some of that anger is directed towards Kody because he is in the Washington Capitals system or if they wanted more carnage.

The arena falls silent as Wendel takes a microphone and addresses the crowd. He thanks his son for making the right decision, thanks everyone in attendance, and congratulates Williams. The two combatants hug and the audience gets on their feet and cheer these two hockey heroes.

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The event is a giant success. There may even be a sequel one day where the Leafs get some title belts in the mix. Look out for “The Blue and White Turn Black and Blue II”.