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Kovalev, naturally, asked Klimas how much he would be paid for his fights

Meanwhile, the fact that Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs), 33, is here is nothing short of a lottery-like miracle and a testament to the iron belief he and manager Egis Klimas had that, even in the worst of times, he would make it to the top.

In 2009, Klimas, who immigrated to Sam Martin Authentic Womens Jersey the United States from Lithuania and dabbled in boxing, was an unknown manager looking to make it in a rough business. He took an interest in signing Kovalev, who was a solid amateur in Russia but did not reach the Olympics. They had spoken on the phone regularly for a few weeks when Klimas told him he would be in Kazakhstan for a fight and he wanted Kovalev to fly in from Russia to meet and talk about a deal.

You guessed it: Nearly 40 years later, we’re still not over the Achilles tear that Tiny suffered during a meaningless exhibition game against visiting Detroit just six weeks after the Braves acquired him, forcing Archibald to miss the entire the 1977-78 season.

Which, of course, turned out to be my team’s last in Buffalo.

Thanks to a wonderful retrospective series in the Buffalo News in April assembled by my pal Bucky Gleason, I’ve learned a lot in 2016 about the Braves’ demise that 9-year-old me would have struggled to process even if I had known what was going on.

Yet I simply couldn’t resist telling Tiny, since I had him on the phone, how excited I was about his Buffalo arrival and how I still keep his only Braves basketball card — with our powder blue home jersey airbrushed on to compensate for the lack of actual pictures of him in a Braves uniform — close by on my desk.

“I was fired up to go there, because I looked at the guys that were there,” Archibald Stephen Tulloch Authentic Womens Jersey told me. “We would have been like greyhounds. With Randy … I had never been on a team that fast. But I went down. I’m sorry I couldn’t fulfill that dream. It’s unfortunate that people sustain injuries.”

Excuse me now while I spend the rest of the weekend sobbing like that young Marcin Gortat fan Twitter made famous.