Big 2009 bout suits L.A. well

Miami Herald boxing article by Santos Perez.

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Big 2009 bout suits L.A. well

Posted on Mon, Dec. 22, 2008

BY SANTOS A. PEREZ

Perhaps it is the early sign of a new boxing trend next year. All major fights don’t have to land in Las Vegas.

The first important fight of 2009, featuring Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley, will be Jan. 24 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The bout originally was considered for Las Vegas before promoters decided on Los Angeles.

Interest in the fight from Las Vegas casinos reportedly was lukewarm. And, for a change, promoters didn’t succumb to the Vegas appeal and will stage the bout in a city that provides a suitable backdrop.

Mosley is from Los Angeles, and Mexican native Margarito should have a strong following from the city’s Mexican and Mexican-American fans.

”We were very aggressive with trying to get this fight because it’s a great fit for L.A.,” said Dan Beckerman, chief financial officer of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which operates the Staples Center. “We are confident the fight will sell out, and it will be a great way to kick off 2009.

“This world championship fight card features two great champions with strong ties to Southern California, making it an ideal matchup for Staples Center.”

Presenting noteworthy fights where fighters hail from or have strong ties connects boxing again with the common fan. One of the liveliest events of the year featured the twin title fights involving Juan Diaz and Rocky Juarez on Sept. 6 in Houston.

Diaz and Juarez, both Houston natives, attracted more than 14,000 fans to the Toyota Center for their victories against Michael Katsidis and Jorge Barrios, respectively. The fights likely would have drawn fewer fans in any of the Las Vegas venues.

Moreover, don’t expect heavyweight title fights from Las Vegas as long as Wladimir Klitschko rules the division or an appealing American contender fails to emerge from a current nondescript pack.

A Ukrainian native, Klitschko has served notice that any challenger willing to dethrone him will need to travel to Germany. Klitschko established his professional career in Germany, where he draws huge crowds for his bouts.

After winning his second title in April 2006, Klitschko has made four title defenses in Germany, including a seventh-round technical knockout victory over Hasim Rahman on Dec. 13.

Las Vegas will remain the strong favorite to land megafights, such as the Oscar De La Hoya- Manny Pacquiao bout on Dec. 6. However, boxing could benefit from an infusion of different fight sites, and Margarito-Mosley could play a pivotal role.

LOCAL ACTION

The 2009 South Florida boxing scene opens Jan. 14 with a card at the Hard Rock Live Arena in Hollywood.

Former world cruiserweight champion O’Neil Bell, super-middleweight contender Edison Miranda and junior-middleweight Sechew Powell will fight in the seven-bout card.

Tickets range from $22 to $152 and are available at Ticketmaster outlets.

SIGNING OFF

The Telefutura network signed off on its weekly series with Mike Alvarado’s fourth-round technical knockout over Miguel Angel Huerta on Friday night in Denver. The telecast marked the end of Telefutura’s eight-year run of Friday night boxing shows.
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About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
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