Locks aren’t everything

In Las Vegas on November 22 Ricky Hatton fights Paulie Malignaggi, who had to be given a mid-fight haircut in May when his weaved-in dreadlocks were punched loose. (”I explained the hair was an idiotic idea,” said his promoter.) This wasn’t the first haircut to hinder performance, though. Scissors at the ready …

Pat Rafter
When the Aussie tennis player lopped off his hair and auctioned the locks in 2001, it wasn’t just to raise money for charity. He had been suffering from cramp and was told to shave his head to relieve his abnormal sweating (twice the human average, apparently).

”We’re confident that we’re on to something with the fluid loss and the salt loss,” Rafter said after the chop, ”but until I have a really tough match it’s hard to say.” He crashed out of the Dubai Open in the second round a fortnight later.

Fernando Redondo
After coach Daniel Passarella banned long hair in his Argentina squad in 1995 (”it often impedes vision”), Gabriel Batistuta zipped off to the barber to protect his place. Midfielder Redondo refused and was – cough – cut from the team. ”I am a person and a player, but in that order,” Redondo said. ”I told him I wouldn’t cut it because it is part of my personality.” He did not return to the side for four years.

Manny Ramirez
The American press headlined it a ”Dreadlock Deadlock” this summer when the baseball player, in his first season with the LA Dodgers, refused to cut his hair. ”Every time he gets a hit,” said coach Joe Torre, ”Manny tells me, ‘It’s the hair!”’ The coach might wish he had listened: Ramirez had a finger-length trimmed off and the Dodgers went out in the play-offs earlier this month (October) as Manny lost form.

Jason Lee
Blame Frank Skinner and David Baddiel. They made a gag about Lee’s pineapple-like haircut, and the joke exploded, with football fans taunting the striker mercilessly. ”I’d be a liar if I said it didn’t affect me,” Lee said last year, and he thought it contributed to his being dropped at Nottingham Forest. ”Maybe it became a little bit embarrassing for the club.” Lee has since played for various clubs (always with a closely shaved head) and is now at Mansfield. –

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