A Canadian Business reader submitted a rather interesting query to the magazine’s Ask McArdle column. It was: “Who would win in a fight between T. Boone Pickens and Warren Buffett?”
The head of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. was re-crowned last week as second-richest man in America thanks to his $46-billion fortune.
And on September 16, Buffett announced he’s done with cancer treatments, saying he had his 44th and last day of radiation. He’d disclosed a prostate cancer diagnosis in the Spring. At the time, he said the disease was detected early and wasn’t life-threatening.
So, who would win? McArdle wrote the following:
“Let me applaud your unspoken assertion that the financial world needs more pugilism. If Wall Street settled grievances with fisticuffs rather than regulation, its reputation might still be intact.
“In some endeavours—thoracic surgery, cleaning fish, ménage à trois—expert guidance is invaluable. Thus, I turned to Ladbrokes, Britain’s finest gambling establishment, to calculate the outcome of a donnybrook between Pickens, the 84-year-old Texas oilman, and Buffett, the 82-year-old Nebraskan investor.”
“Their verdict? Four-to-six odds in Buffett’s favour.
” ‘Despite similarities between the men, we feel Buffett’s health, standard of fitness, life habits and age give him a reasonable edge,’ said Philip Tuck, who handles specials trading, including novelty gaming, a subsection of the bookmaking world that offers odds on everything from the Miss World competition to whether the upcoming Hobbit film will be the most lucrative J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation.
“One might note that, regardless of recent illness, Buffet stays limber through a gruelling Ping-Pong regimen. Pickens, meanwhile, lost a university basketball scholarship and quit playing racquet ball at the age of 65.
“He now appears to have abandoned competitive sport altogether—three divorces notwithstanding. Moreover, Ladbrokes offers two-to-one odds on Buffett winning by knockout, technical knockout or disqualification, but adds that ‘We would expect both fighters to struggle to finish all rounds.’ The men’s age and ‘frailty’ also led Ladbrokes to offer 16-1 odds for a double knockout, where both men would be put out of the fight at the same time.
“To become the Wizard of Whupping, Buffett will need to strike swiftly.”
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