Max Kellerman, Zab Judah, David Avila, Mickey Ward, Jack Mosley, Teddy Atlas, Larry Merchant, Lem Satterfield, Al Berstein, John Smith share their faovorite fight of all time stories.
Hump day, Wednesday night in Santa Monica is usually a dry affair unless… What do you get when you cross breed Hollywood and boxing? Holy bang or “Boxing at Barker” that was staged by Hollywood mogul and newcomer boxing promoter, Michael King. Indeed from the first glance it did look like a Hollywood party. Red carpet entrance, plush white couches strategically placed around the arena. Long legged servers distributing food and drinks. Stars everywhere. Former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger looked smaller than he usually does on the screen. Wayne Knight who played Newman on Seinfeld looked exactly the same and so did Tommy Flanagan from Sons of Anarchy. Scott Caan looked better in person than he does on Hawaii Five-O. Brittany Phillips looked much better up close and personal than she did on Miami CSI. Legendary singer Tom Jones was on hand posing for pictures with the ladies. Infamous attorney Robert Shapiro, a huge boxing fan who is also a fixture at every major boxing event in Las Vegas was mingling with the stars and looked right at home.
Speaking about Sin City, on the second thought, it did look like a major boxing event in Las Vegas. Ring greats such as Motor City Cobra, Tommy Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard and Ray Boom Boom Mancini were posing for pictures with fans. HBO boss Ken Hershman was on hand, probably considering televising future promotions. Long time Santa Monica resident, legendary boxing commentator Larry Merchant was present as well as Showtime current commentator Mauro Randall whose voice is just as booming in person as it is during a telecast.
Former MGM director Bob Halloran was ringside observing the action which by the way was scintillating. All five fights were intense, competitive and fought at a skill level worthy of being a major boxing card in Las Vegas and being televised.
In the opening bout of the evening middleweight Louis Rose (9-1-1,2KO’s) stopped his opponent Emanuel Ledezma (12-1-2,2KO’S) in a dramatic fashion at the end of the eighth round only seconds prior to the conclusion of the contest.
Next on tap was a cruiserweight clash between highly rated American Eric Fields (24-2,16KO’S) and Cuban amateur stand out Yunier Dorticos scheduled for ten rounds. It ended early and was the fight of the night in my book. Bombs away Dorticos and Fields traded knock downs in the first round and kept fighting their hearts out until Dorticos scored a spectacular right cross knock out at the end of the fourth stanza. Referee Jack Reese didn’t even have to count. Eric Fields was out. Dorticos improved his record to 16-0 with all 16 wins by the way of knock out. He is the man to watch.
Ten rounds welterweight scrap between Chris Van Hearden (20-1-1,11KO’S) and Ray Narh (26-4,21KO’S) featured nonstop back and forth action from the opening till the final bell. Ray Narh seemed to have out boxed his opponent for the majority of the rounds, but the judges awarded a split decision victory to Van Hearden. Narh was visibly upset by the judge’s decision at the post fight interview.
Super middleweight contest between former world title challenger Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (29-1,18KO’S) and a veteran banger Fulgencio Zuniga (26-8-1,23KO’S) was not as competitive as the welterweight clash, but it produced drama and dynamic action. N’Dam hurt his left hand early in the contest and dominated the fight with just one hand earning a unanimous decision victory.
They saved the best for last as two undefeated heavyweights Charles Martin (15-0-1,13KO’S) and Alexander Flores (14-0,12KO’S) concluded the night with a bang. Surprising most ringside observers Martin out boxed and out fought his opponent and found a way to land a booming right hand that ended the night in the fourth stanza.
No one in the intimate arena at the Barker Hanger asked for their money back and most observers stayed late into the night to watch all the fights.
“I have a passion for boxing,” said debutant promoter Michael King:” Without question boxing is one of the most exhilarating sports in the world.” That passion was obvious to everyone in attendance.
Don’t miss Holy-Bang two scheduled to take place at Santa Monica Pier on May 21st.
Al Bernstein talks about his favorite fights Jose Luis Castillo versus Diego Corrales l, Hagler vs Hearns as well as Larry Holmes against Ken Norton and more.