Brings Crowd To Its Feet
Notes/by George Kimball
Sunday, April 28, 2002
YORK - Boxing's glitterati assembled at The Supper
Club in New York for Friday night's annual Boxing Writers
of America Awards dinner, but the guy who stole the show never
saw a minute of it. One hundred percent blind, 80 percent
deaf, suffering from memory loss and confined to a wheelchair
for the past half-dozen years, former World Boxing Council
middleweight champion Gerald McClellan received a standing
ovation when he was wheeled to the dais.
has been incapacitated since his fateful 1995 fight against
Nigel Benn in London. Boxing photographer Teddy Blackburn,
who has made McClellan's upkeep his personal crusade, was
honored with the Marvin Kohn Good Guy Award for his tireless
efforts, and insisted that McClellan be present. New York
impresario Lou DiBella happily paid for McClellan's trip.
was a strange head table since undisputed middleweight champion
Bernard Hopkins was being honored as the 2001 Fighter of the
Year and his since-estranged handler Bouie Fisher was named
Trainer of the Year. Both men accepted their honors with grace.
The 74-year-old Fisher barely mentioned Hopkins, and while
Hopkins exuded his usual defensive suspicion, he acknowledged
Fisher as ``a great teacher,'' at the same time modestly acknowledging
he had been ``a great pupil.''
hottest rumor sweeping the room had a Hopkins-Roy Jones megafight
- a matter that had seemed all but dead for the past month
or so - heating up again.
course, this is cause for consternation for International
Boxing Federation cruiserweight champion Vassily Jirov. He
just hired former Mike Tyson trainer Tommy Brooks to prep
him for an anticipated July 13 date against Jones, but it
now appears Jones may be heading down instead of up in weight.
Jones, who dumped longtime promoter Murad Muhammad, appears
prepared to renew their relationship, and a fight against
Hopkins now appears more likely. . . .
Lewis-Mike Tyson tickets, the most expensive in boxing history,
went on sale to the general public Thursday, and sales topped
$2.4 million in the first 24 hours the windows were open.
Although the fight was immediately proclaimed a "sellout,''
a bit of explanation is in order. First, fewer than 2,000
tickets were even offered for public sale. The remainder are
the province of the fighters, the promoters, as well as HBO
and Showtime, which are sharing the PPV telecast.
even though the public allotment vanished Thursday, the Pyramid
box office had tickets for sale on Friday. These had been
purchased by eager first-day buyers whose checks had bounced.
They were returned to the pool. As expected, both boxers will
be based in Mississippi for their June 8 showdown at the Pyramid
Lowell's Micky Ward doesn't fight Arturo Gatti for another
three weeks, but the junior welterweight's preparations are
having a trickle-down effect on the rest of New England boxing.
Jeff Fraza joined Peter Manfredo Jr. on the roster of Ward
sparring partners, and in his very first day of sparring got
nailed in the ribs by one of Ward's patented hooks. The injury
has KO'd Fraza's scheduled New England 140-pound title fight
against Southie's Kevin Watts (16-1) on Rich Cappiello's May
24 fight card at Revere's Wonderland Ballroom. . . .
England's two busiest promoters, Easton's Cappiello and Jimmy
Burchfield of Providence, inaugurated televised series this
year, with Cappiello's being shown on tape-delay on Fox Sports
New England and Burchfield's on NESN. Until now, they avoided
head-to-head conflicts. That era of good feeling will end
later this month when Cappiello has his live show in Revere
and Burchfield promotes the same night at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet
in Cranston, R.I.
Wonderland card will feature a pair of Irish boxers, cruiserweight
Colm Keane (vs. Roy Payne) and heavyweight Kevin McBride (25-4-1)
against an undetermined opponent, while William Gibbs, the
unbeaten Philadelphia middleweight now fighting out of Brockton,
is slated for an appearance. The Rhode Island card will be
topped by Fairhaven super middleweight Scott Pemberton, who
successfully returned from an extended vacation with a win
at Foxwoods this month, while Manfredo, the 13-0 middleweight
from Pawtucket, will box in the co-feature, assuming he survives
the next few weeks with Ward.
be the judge
The telecast of Cappiello's card at the Roseland Ballroom
last weekend will air from 3:30-5:30 today. Be warned that
you're in for an exhibition of some of the most bizarre judging
ever seen in these parts. In one undercard bout, Hudson's
Manny Teo thoroughly outboxed Hanson super-middleweight Dave
Hamilton, but came up on the wrong end of a majority decision.
(Our scorecard gave Teo every round, and Massachusetts Boxing
Commission chairman Nick Manzello had Teo winning 5-of-6 rounds.)
as outrageous was the split decision awarded Randolph heavyweight
Billy Mofford. The judges were so predisposed against Lawrence
opponent Danny Sheehan that at least one refused to score
a two-point round when Sheehan dropped Mofford in the first.
The main event was saved from travesty because the other two
judges correctly scored Jermell Barnes' win over hometown
cruiserweight Hector Sanjurjo, offsetting judge Nick Preveti,
who had Sanjurjo winning 8-of-10 rounds. . . .
Doug Pendarvis apparently pulled the plug on his proposed
card in Illinois last Saturday night literally at the last
minute. Local publicist Bob Trieger's cell phone was burning
with calls from irate Chicago newspapers, which assigned reporters,
only to find locked doors when they got there.
birthday, Kevin Rooney.