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Articles of 2005

The Junior Welter-WAIT Is Over

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For the past two-and-a-half years or so, boxing pundits have been raving about the talent-laden junior welterweight division. From top to bottom, the division has been considered the best in the business, and also boasted more promising prospects than any other weight class. After two-and-a-half years of talking about the division’s potential, we finally get to witness it all in the span of the next four weeks.

Atop the division is Kostya Tszyu, whom many still consider to be the undisputed champion despite having been stripped by two sanctioning bodies in recent years. This Saturday, June 4, live on Showtime at 9PM/ET, he travels to Manchester, England to take on hometown hero Ricky Hatton. So determined to prove that he is willing to take on all comers, Tszyu agreed to not only travel to Hatton’s backyard, but to put his title on the line at the odd time of 2:00 AM to comply with Showtime’s request to air the superfight live to the US boxing audience.

This bout represents the second in a row in proving Tszyu’s willingness to enhance his legacy. Last November, Tszyu returned from multiple injuries that sidelined him for nearly two years, and silenced Sharmba Mitchell once and for all in their IBF-mandated rematch. Mitchell lost his title to Tszyu in a February 2001 unification match, when his knee gave in and was forced to quit on his stool at the end of the seventh round.

After embarking on a comeback in mid-2002, Mitchell campaigned for a rematch, suggesting that their first fight was riddled in controversy due to an injury he suffered prior to the fight. He got what he asked for, and a beating to go along with it, as Tszyu dropped him four times before stopping him inside of three rounds. The controversy was permanently removed, as were Mitchell’s days as a player at junior welterweight; Sharmba announced immediately after the fight his intentions to move up to welter.

With Mitchell out of the picture and Tszyu injury-free and fully ready to once again clean house at junior welterweight, the rest of the division has seemed to follow suit. Once Tszyu and Hatton throw down across the pond, both will be able to kick back and survey the landscape, as Arturo Gatti, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Vivian Harris and Miguel Cotto all look to stake their claim as the biggest threat to the top spot all within the month of June.

Fittingly enough, all four of the major junior welterweight bouts this month can all be traced back to Tszyu in a “six degrees of separation” sense.

Had Tszyu never suffered multiple injuries in 2003 and 2004, he would possibly still reign as official undisputed champion. Perhaps he fights and beats Mitchell way back in September 2003, and goes on to defend against WBA mandatory Harris early in 2004. Such would have prevented Harris from twice traveling to Germany and perhaps also months of feuding with promoter Main Events and eventual split with longtime manager Shelly Finkel.

It would not have prevented the WBC from moving in and declaring their title vacant. Such a fate was sealed the moment Showtime rejected Tszyu’s wishes to defend against mandatory challenger Gianluca Branco. Respecting the wishes of the network with who he was contractually bound, Tszyu elected to vacate the WBC strap, which allowed the human highlight film known as Arturo Gatti back into the title picture.

Gatti and his handlers initially removed themselves in pricing themselves out of a Tszyu fight – Showtime offered $5 million; Gatti’s handlers wanted that much just for their fighter. The IBF ordered a contingency plan: a four-man tournament to determine a final mandatory challenger for Tszyu. Gatti wanted no part of that, either, and eventually removed himself from the IBF rankings altogether in favor of a third fight with Micky Ward.

After beating Ward, Gatti received a three-fight contract with HBO, thus permanently squashing any hopes for a Tszyu-Gatti fight to ever materialize. The first fight under the contract was the vacant WBC fight with Branco, the same challenger Showtime deemed unfit to fight Tszyu on their network, was given the green light by HBO. Twelve rounds later, Gatti was a titlist, and had only two fights to go on his contract.

His next fight came against former lightweight champ Leo Dorin, but not before longtime pound-for-pound entrant Floyd Mayweather, Jr. entered the picture. Having moved up to junior welter, Mayweather twice dropped former WBO champ DeMarcus Corley in cruising to a unanimous decision and a mandatory ranking atop the WBC rankings. Such an honor meant an eventual showdown with Gatti.

Mayweather long ago earned a reputation for always seeking out the best. However, with the best – Tszyu – already slated to face Mitchell, Floyd instead opted for instant fortune against the rest. He campaigned for a shot at Gatti the moment Arturo dispatched Leo Dorin with a single body shot last July.

Gatti paused at first. He expressed interest in such a fight “as long as you (HBO) are willing to pay me a lot more money.” HBO was eventually willing to oblige, but not before allowing Gatti to make an optional defense against Jesse James Leija and for Mayweather to take on a soft touch in Henry Bruseles. The fights were staged on back-to-back weekends. When all was said and done, HBO was left with twelve rounds worth of junior welterweight mismatches – and almost no superfight to show for it.

Tszyu, meanwhile, had once again confirmed his status as division leader, easily dispatching Mitchell in three rounds. Having been out of action for so long, Tszyu was forced to honor back-to-back mandatories. No problem for Tszyu, who stood to make $4 million to face Hatton.

Hatton became IBF mandatory late in 2004 after having himself removed as both WBO and WBA mandatory earlier in the year. Had promoter Frank Warren conducted his business on the up and up, matters would have been squared away for Hatton’s alleged April 2004 vacant WBO title fight with then-undefeated Kelson Pinto. Instead, Pinto was asked to travel to England without an official contract. Sensing shenanigans, Pinto declined to fly to England for a fight that was never guaranteed, leaving Warren with some last minute scrambling in order to preserve the April 2004 Showtime date and the title shot.

Warren went one-for-two; Showtime stayed on board, though it was the last time they would play ball with Warren. The WBO dropped out once Warren announced Dennis Holbaek as the last minute challenger to face Hatton. Instead, Hatton was forced to make another WBU title defense against another no-hoper.

Pinto resurfaced in Puerto Rico in September, facing fellow undefeated 2000 Olympian Miguel Cotto for the same vacant title. Much like Hatton, Cotto earned a mandatory ranking with one sanctioning body by willingly having his name removed from two others. After defeating Lovemore N’Dou in May 2004, Cotto was named the mandatory challenger to the winner of the eventual Tszyu-Mitchell rematch. He was also mandatory challenger to WBA champion Vivian Harris, who received an upgrade from interim to full-fledged champ after Tszyu allowed too much time to pass by without honoring his mandatory.

Harris was set to travel to Puerto Rico for negotiations with Cotto before receiving the news that the Puerto Rican star in the making opted to challenge Pinto for the WBO title. Cotto’s name was immediately dropped from the mandatory slot, bumping up Hatton.

Harris then set his sights on Hatton, though then-manager Shelly Finkel was waving an Urkal rematch in his face. Wondering why he should accept a mid-level six-figure payday off American TV when he could secure double his career-high for a Showtime fight with Hatton, Harris decided to take matters into his own hands. Finkel was out and Hall of Fame trainer and manager Emmanuel Steward took his place.

Unfortunately for Harris, no sooner was Steward brought in then the Hatton fight disintegrated. Harris and Steward began talking and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth it for him to travel to England for $750,000 when he was the champ. Instead, they looked to have the fight go to purse bids in hopes of a bigger payday – or at least a guaranteed greater split of the pie – and the fight landing in the States. That dream vanished the moment Hatton and Warren demanded the WBA remove the Mancunian from the mandatory ranking.

Hatton went on to face Michael Stewart for the IBF mandatory slot. Harris’ previous mandatory, Cotto, dispatched Pinto in six on HBO to claim the WBO crown. Harris was right back where he started – no fights lined up, no American TV networks looking his way.

Harris’ last chance at an instant shot at fame came when the WBA named Mayweather as the next mandatory. But Floyd already had his sights set on Gatti, and allowed the thirty-day free negotiations period go by without so much as a peep. In a span of two months, Harris watched three blockbuster challengers allow themselves to be removed from the top spot.

Harris ultimately settled for a rematch with Urkal in Germany. He won by eleventh-round knockout, though to little fanfare. Steward promised bigger and better things to come, in hopes of keeping Harris focused on the big picture.

Such a picture presented itself, though with conditions. HBO finally looked Harris’ way, offering him a co-feature slot to Gatti’s defense against Leija in January 2005. The opponent was to be Mohammed Abdullaev. Harris didn’t mind the fight; what he did mind was the modest payday that came along with it: $200,000, which was considerably less than what he made to travel to Germany for the Urkal rematch.

Harris declined, and hasn’t fought since. Abdullaev took a less notable fight in Germany before being invited back to HBO to face Cotto next Saturday, June 11, live from Madison Square Garden. The Garden is a mere subway ride away for the Brooklyn-based Harris, though seemingly an eternity away when it comes to securing a big fight.

He is hoping that will change by month’s end. Finally checking his pride in at the door, Harris accepted very short money for a chance to appear in the co-feature to the long-awaited Gatti Mayweather showdown (June 25, live from the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on HBO PPV). The $100,000 payday is nowhere near as valuable as the opportunity to fight on one the most anticipated cards of the year, which comes a week after his twenty-seventh birthday.

Harris was originally slated to face Arturo Morua. Ironically enough, Morua received a profile upgrade in scoring an impressive points win on HBO Latino six weeks ago. So it was only fitting that Morua would opt to not take the June 25 fight with Harris. No worries for Harris, though, as Carlos Maurra was subsequently named his challenger. The downside is that Maurra has been beaten by Morua and stopped by Cotto. The good news is Harris finally gets the opportunity to reintroduce himself to American audiences.

More importantly, he has the chance to send an immediate message to the winner of Gatti-Mayweather: a young, hungry champ lurks in the division, and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Whether Mayweather and Gatti decide to stick around long enough to take him up on his offer remains to be seen. After all, the two barely stuck around long enough to secure their own superfight.

As has been well documented throughout the media (and most notably by The Sweet Science’s own David Mayo), the efforts involved in finally nailing down the superfight were nothing short of an epic struggle. The on-again, off-again bout nearly became off for good when Mayweather failed to resolve his legal issues in a timely manner. Such was a final sticking point in the agreed upon contracts in finalizing the bout, but Floyd marched to the beat of his own drum. It nearly came back to bite him in the butt when he plead no contest earlier this year to charges stemming from a December 2003 incident in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The judge initially delayed sentencing until mid-March. The maximum sentence Floyd was facing was 93 days, which would have jeopardized his June 11 date with Gatti. Fortunately, the sentence imposed did not include jail time, and Floyd was cleared to resume negotiations. After a lot of give and take – resulting in a postponement and a $500,000 purse reduction for Floyd – the fight was finally made, two weeks later than the originally intended date.

The bump back freed up scheduling space for HBO to stage Cotto-Abdullaev in New York City the night before the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Should Cotto prevail, it will help kick start a banner weekend that also includes his role in the Parade the next day. It will also confirm his status as a bona fide star (early reports indicate a huge turnout at Madison Square Garden).

Huge turnouts are already guaranteed for Tszyu-Hatton, and the Gatti-Mayweather PPV card. Both fights have long sold-out, with the June 25 PPV card selling out in thirty hours. Tszyu-Hatton sold out two hours after tickets went on sale.

Where the six major players go from here is largely dependent on the outcome of their respective fights. Chances are, Harris will still have to travel to the destination of his opponent’s choice, though this time with a larger fan base and higher demand. Cotto will be considered a star, though the demand and pressure to make a fight with one of the division’s elite will certainly increase. The winners of Gatti-Mayweather and Tszyu-Hatton will have scored career high paydays and career-defining victories and will be in control of their own destiny.

Mayweather and Tszyu have both flirted with the idea of moving up to welterweight should they emerge victorious. Gatti and Hatton remain focused on their tasks at hand and have been mum in regard to the future.

The boxing world will continue to speculate and debate who beats who among the remaining junior welterweights once the month of June is over. Only this time, actual results will finally supplant the mythical matchup forum the junior welterweight division appeared to have become.

At long last, the junior welter-wait is over.

Articles of 2005

In Boxing News: Floyd Mayweather An All-Time Great, Valuev & More

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A Shot of Boxing on the Last Day of the Year

The Guardian reports that talks have already taken place between Nicolay Valuev‘s co-promoters – Don King and Wilfried Sauerland – and Danny Williams‘ promoter Frank Warren for Nicolay Valuev to face Danny Williams. I’d suggest Danny Williams needs to worry about Matt Skelton (who Williams is reportedly scheduled to fight in February) before he entertains notions of facing the Beast From The East.

The Mirror in the UK looks forward to a big year in boxing for 2006. The Mirror considers what the future might bring for Joe Calzaghe, Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton, among others.

The Parksville Qualicum News has an interesting column on the travails of former Canadian Super Middleweight title holder Mark Woolnough. Woolnough’s career turned controversial – as widely reported in the Canadian press – at the beginning of this year when Woolnough and four other men were charged with manslaughter and assault after a fight outside a Parksville nightclub. The case returns to court next month. It’s an interesting read, as Woolnough is still looking to the future with hope.

Our own Marc Lichtenfeld provides plenty of food for thought with his Top Ten Wish List for boxing in the New Year. There’s plenty of good stuff here, but what really jumped out for me is Lichtenfeld’s opinion that a win over Zab Judah could have Floyd Mayweather knocking on the door of all-time great status. Seems to me this might be jumping the gun a little. Or is Marc right? Will it soon be time to call Floyd Mayweather Jr. an all-time great?

(More Boxing News Links at TheSweetScience.com)

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Articles of 2005

Pick ‘Em: Plenty of Big Upcoming Fights in ’06

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Here’s the early call on many top matches scheduled for the first half of 2006: Happy New Year!

As the new calendar dawns, there are already a considerable amount of premium bouts on the horizon. Things don’t look to be bogged down by undetermined championships next year. In many cases the scheduled face-offs involve the best fighters in the division, or at least close enough for general bragging rights. If anybody else with proper qualifications signs up to force the issue, all the better.

It can be argued that some pairings could have taken place within a more optimal timeframe, or that some headliners carry distracting baggage, but there are certainly enough heavy hitters on deck. That nobody can deny.

It doesn’t matter whether one considers the proverbial glass half empty or half full; there’s still the same amount of juice in the vessel. It’s nice to know that even with a high number of cancellations, there will still be plenty of important contenders on tap.

With elite fighters in weight divisions from top to bottom on the agenda, it’s an equivalent to what fans in more mainstream sports expect in a consistent championship format.

Baseball fans can almost always count on a World Series. Some hoops fanatics say too much attention to playoffs distracts unmotivated NBA teams during their regular season. In college, they project Sweet Sixteens. Football fans know there’s always a Super Bowl ahead to raise advertising dollars and test the USA’s halftime morals.

So too, there is method in boxing’s current madness.

The midnight crystal ball hasn’t even been unveiled in Times Square and there are already a number of potential thrillers scheduled. Most feature contrasting personalities that almost guarantee going along for the ride will be worthwhile. Any subsequent drops will probably be cheered.

Don King jumps right out of the auld lang gate with a January 7th Showtime card featuring Zab Judah against Carlos Baldomir and Jean-Marc Mormeck in a cruiserweight unification against O’Neil Bell.

It will be the upset of the year, bar none, if Baldomir can tip the applecart before Judah gets to his scheduled super-showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Meanwhile, Mormeck is emerging and should keep on rolling against Bell, who can expose him if he’s not for real.

The proverbial Big Bang starts with a January 21st rematch of one of the finest fights of ‘05, when Erik Morales goes against Manny Pacquaio for the second time on HBO pay per view. The fact that Morales was upset by Zahir Raheem after beating Pacquaio was no real loss in box-office luster. Artful Raheem will get a spot on the undercard and hope his patience is rewarded.

Everyone figures Morales and Pacquaio will pick up where they left off. Like the first time, the rematch is a pick’em contest. Management distractions and glove restrictions cited as Pacquaio’s previous problems won’t matter this time. The two are very evenly matched and their styles will make for another whapathon. It could come down to corners, where Freddie Roach gets the edge since Morales will have a new trainer for the first time since replacing his father after the Raheem lesson.

February features four of the game’s most enduring attractions, in a pair of crucial matchups.

First up, Showtime presents the Jose Luis Castillo – Diego Corrales tiebreaker from El Paso on Feb 4th. This is another pick ‘em pair, barring any sideshow. In boxing that disclaimer may be a stretch, since the sideshow is part of the act and the charm.

As far as action inside the strands goes, every round these guys have fought has been great. There’s no reason to think that pattern won’t continue. Regarding the result, Castillo keeps the pressure on as he did in the second fight, but he’ll walk into trouble from a more reserved Corrales. We still don’t know which coin to flip.

February also holds a better late than never affair between two perennial favorites as Shane Mosley collides with Fernando Vargas on the 25th.  This fight could lead to a winning ticket in the Golden Boy sweepstakes for a fall bonanza against Oscar De La Hoya.

Vargas has been in tougher recently, based on comparable strength of opposition stats, but he’s seen little action. What weight they enter the ring at may have a lot to do with the result. If Vargas has to struggle at the scale, Mosley might have the battle in the bag after round nine.

It’s hard to imagine Mosley getting stopped early, but Vargas doesn’t have to hurt him, he just has to knock him down three times. With natural size, he may be able to do just that, but Mosley would have to box uncharacteristically flat.

Unless Mosley decides to heed the crowd, the most likely scenario is that Shane plays it safe, picks a few shots, and stays away enough to capture a comfortable, dull decision. An unbowed Vargas maintains his fan base but not his bettors.

March both comes in and goes out as a lion.

On March 4th Joe Calzaghe welcomes Jeff Lacy to Manchester UK for what may be the biggest blowout of the headlining bunch. Calzaghe gets the chance to prove his considerable home-based reputation once and for all, but if Lacy creams him as we expect, that glossy record will be severely tarnished.

All Calzaghe has to do is make a respectable stand, but that’s no small task against the rising Lacy. A motivated Calzaghe, songs of England ringing in his ears, could pull a big surprise if he can exploit Lacy’s relatively limited technical development, but that’s a longshot indeed.

It looks like Lacy can get by on power alone. He could soon emerge as a pound-for-pound leader. Old Joe’s hometown advantage will last about two left hooks.

March 11th has the Ides of history to beware for at least one old lion, with farewell (we’ll see) fireworks featuring Roy Jones Jr. against Bernard Hopkins. Less than two years ago they were considered untouchable all time greats. Now between them they’ve lost five in a row.

This goodbye fight is contracted at light heavyweight, for what seems like an oldies night. Hopkins is the senior at age 41 to Jones’s 37, but Roy seems more the grandpa figure, last seen hanging on against Antonio Tarver. Youth, as it were here, will prevail.

This bout was signed quickly as each principal, usually sticklers for favorable contract clauses, agreed to parity in a demonstration of businessman first and fighter second. They may both expect easy marks. How much the boys have left by the time they get down to business remains to be seen. The history books will show this as a climactic career bout between Hall of Famers.

At 175 pounds, Hopkins may be in for rude awakening. Jones may have been more thoroughly outfought recently, but he was rumbling with bigger, tougher men than Jermain Taylor or Howard Eastman. Respectable as he is, Taylor still falls short of the level of Tarver, at least for now. The difference is still fifteen pounds less pop.

It will be quite a feat if Hopkins can stay in the fight, even at Jones’s advanced age. Our stars point to Jones winning in overwhelming fashion.

On March 18th, James Toney meets Hasim Rahman in another pairing of seasoned war-horses.

Toney and Rahman already had their introductions, when they brawled in Mexico during a WBC gathering to bestow Rahman’s new belt. Between formalities, Toney got married, which could bring up the old questions about carnal training.

Let’s hope when they meet in the ring, they restore some of the fire missing from the heavyweights in ‘05.  Toney might have an edge in recent form, but Rahman shows fine tuning he previously lacked. The winner might get newly “crowned’ Nicolai Valuev, an easy payday outside Germany.

Rahman could be the heavyweight that finally makes Toney look like a blown up middleweight. But anything less than a top effort will probably lead to embarrassing night for the Rock and give Toney solid claim to being the true heavyweight champ.

This might not be the most artful fight of the new season, but it could well be the most grueling, and the closest. He who’s faced the better big boys gets the nod. Advantage Rahman.

March 25 features Marco Antonio Barrera, probably the strongest overall claimant to 130 pound honors. The likely opponent is said to be always tough Jesus Chavez.

Chavez seemed rejuvenated when he met Leavander Johnson, but Johnson’s tragic death may have taken some of the steam out of thoughtful Chavez, said to have received Johnson’s family blessing to continue in Leavander’s name. That could mean a lot of inspiration. Either way, if he does meet Chavez, who hung tough with one arm against Erik Morales, Barrera won’t get any slack. The Fates say Chavez, whose wife recently served in Iraq, is a live, live underdog.

Another clash to be King of the Hill finds Floyd Mayweather Jr, arguably the game’s finest practitioner, bumping heads with Zab Judah, one of very few boxers who rivals Mayweather in speed, skills, and brashness.

Their hoedown, scheduled for April 8th, is one of the top pound-for-pound pairings in recent years. Judah will need a career best performance to have a chance of victory. That’s not to say he can’t pull it off, but currently Mayweather is in a different galaxy in terms of punching power. Slow-motion replays may be the only way to follow the flying fists once these two whirlwinds unload.

Mayweather should be around a 4-1 favorite. Judah is good enough to make taking the odds an attractive proposition, since that’s probably as good of odds as one is likely to see on Floyd for a while. Mayweather will stop Judah in his tracks.

The first half of next year is set to conclude with the star power of Oscar De La Hoya, probably against noteworthy foil Ricardo Mayorga on May 6. There could be some snags before a contract is finalized, but if it comes off count on Mayorga for promotional sound bite nastiness. One of the questions is whether or not he’ll be able to get under Oscar’s skin, and it might actually be entertaining to see the classy, model perfect De La Hoya show he’s human and freak out against the Nicaraguan maniac.

Mayorga may have burnt his best bridges already. De La Hoya has not only the boxing skill to negate Mayorga’s offense, but enough power to end it early. If Mayorga rushes in and causes a cut, De La Hoya might get ruffled enough to duck into defense and Mayorga could get a decision that goes to the cards after six rounds or so. It will be wild for as long as it lasts.

Pro boxing, like many sports, had its share of problems during 2005, but there were also many positives. Most notably, as usual, was superior and inspiring action inside the strands. Unless there’s a mass freeze-up at the top, early 2006 figures to see decisive interaction among many well-known fighters.

If even fifty per cent of the aforementioned pairings come to fruition, it’s a strong likelihood the upcoming year has at least one very positive half. Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Brian Viloria, and Shannon Briggs, to name a few, are also on deck. No matter how you chose to look at or measure mass qualities, there’s still just as much good to be seen.

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Articles of 2005

ShoBox Friday Night Fights

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Hot bantamweight prospect Raul “The Cobra” Martinez heads back to Chicago next Friday night as he is featured in the co-main event of SHOBOX “THE NEW GENERATION,” an action packed evening of professional boxing presented by Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Productions,’ HOME OF THE BEST IN CHICAGO BOXING, Kathy Duva’s Main Events Inc., along with Miller Lite and TCF Bank.

The two-time national amateur champion sporting a perfect 12-0 record with 9 knockouts, six of which have come in the first round,  will take on Colombian Andres “Andy Boy” Ledesma, 13-1 (8 KOs) in a scheduled eight round bout.

Speaking after a training session at his home gym in Georgetown, Texas, Martinez said, “I’m truly looking forward to returning to Chicago. The fans were terrific in September, they were very supportive from the start of the fight,” an internationally televised first round knockout of Miguel Martinez on September 16th at the Aragon Ballroom.

Regarding his upcoming fight with Ledesma, “The Cobra” said, “I haven’t seen him fight, although I understand he’s fought at higher weights and will be naturally bigger than me. I’ve had great training for this fight and feel very confident. I really haven’t left the gym in months, just taking off Sunday’s and even then I get my running in. My thinking is that fights are won in the gym and complete preparation is the key.”

When asked about his being mentioned by Dan Rafael, ESPN’s boxing writer as one of the top prospect’s in the boxing world the 23-year-old San Antonio native said, ‘It’s a great compliment, but I still have much work to do. I want to be a champion for Main Events like Fernando Vargas and Arturo Gatti. But like Fernando said while he was in town, ‘be patient, work hard and your time will come.’”

Finishing the conversation, Martinez said, “I’m looking forward to starting out this year with a bang. I might have a couple less fights than the seven I had in 2005, but I’m looking to stepping up the competition, move up to ten-rounders and climb in the rankings.”

Headlining the evening is a ten-round welterweight showdown between boxing’s hottest prospect, unbeaten Joel Julio of Monteria, Columbia, and Ugandan native Roberto “The Doctor” Kamya. Julio, turning 21 years old the day before the fight, is 25-0 with 22 knockouts, twelve of which have come in the first two rounds. Kamya, now fighting out of West Palm Beach, Florida is 15-5 with four knockouts.

Tickets, starting at $30, are on sale in advance by calling 312-226-5800. Cicero Stadium is located at 1909 S. Laramie, at the corner of 19th and Laramie, just ten minutes south of the Eisenhower Expressway and ten minutes north of the Stevenson Expressway. Doors for this evening will open at 6pm with the first bell at 7pm.

The full bout lineup for the evening is:

Joel Julio vs. Roberto Kamya, ten rounds, welterweights

Raul Martinez vs. Andres Ledesma, eight rounds, bantamweights

Miguel Hernandez vs. Butch Hajicek, eight rounds, middleweights

David Pareja vs. Derek Andrews, eight rounds, light heavyweights

Mike Gonzales vs. Tony Kinney, four rounds, lightweights

Omar Reyes vs. Luis Navarro, five rounds, featherweights

Reynaldo Reyes vs. Ricardo Swift, four rounds, middleweights

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