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The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire
August 19, 2001
Boxing Returns to the Forum
Middleweight Williams beats Coleman in Main Event
By Chris Strait

Here I was, back in the Forum, in Inglewood, California. To some it was "Fabulous", to others it was "Great Western", but to me it will always just be "The Forum". This was the building where it all started for me. The forum was where I first attended a boxing match at age ten. It was also where I continued to go to fights until forum boxing closed shop in their namesake arena in 1999. Outside of fights I have covered at a few Marriots, the Staples Center, the Pond, one in Las Vegas, and one in England, the Forum was my exclusive take on live and upclose boxing. In the 1990's, it was the only venue a Los Angeles native need know.

It was the house of upsets (where no champion was safe), the house that on many nights was an extension of Mexico, the house that housed well-known championship wars like McKinney-Barrera, and lesser known championship wars like Dorsey-Medina. The Forum promised action, and usually delivered. August 17, 2001... the first Forum card in two years (ironically promoted by Thompson promotions and not Forum boxing), proved no exception.

Gone were the world, or even regional titles. Not gone was the action, and the unforgiving crowd. In tht main event, Inglewood native and California State Middleweight champion Dwain "Tyger" Williams improved to 24-3 (16 KO's) with a 10-round decision win over San Diego's Pat "Cat" Coleman. What happened was what you'd expect when a cat fights a tiger (or tyger). Although Williams was rocked on occasion, making one wonder about his future against better competition, his offensive output effectively put Coleman (27-8, 19 KO's)in a catching positon most of the night. Williams was in great shape, and his workrate rarely slowed. Even his defensive moves reflected this. The judges scorecards were lopsided (100-90, 99-91, 98-92), but not far from accurate.

Although the night was not short on action, it was short on knockouts. The only knockout of the night occurred in the least likely fight to produce one. North Hills, California's Samuel Lopez scored a fourth-round stoppage over Mexicali's Leonardo "Chuky" Gutierrez. Even then, Lopez (now 11-1, 4 KO's) pretty much won by surrender. Gutierrez (21-20, 9 KO's) never looked seriously hurt, but was quickly worn down... getting dropped once in the third, and twice in the fourth before the bout was stopped.

In other bouts, Armando Velardez (11-1, 6 KO's) of San Bernardino, and Ernest Johnson (6-0, 3 KO's) of Dayton, Ohio each scored six-round decisions over Mexico natives Eduardo Castillo (8-13-1) and Justo Almazan (5-15, 2 KO's), respectively. these were the less exciting fights of the nights, and still had relatively high punch outputs.

The more exciting prelims came in the opening two four-rounders. Los Angeles native Michael Santos started the evening, and his career, with two first-round knockdowns over mexican-born, L.A. trained Raul Torres (also in his pro debut). Torres rose and made a fight of it, but Santos won a unanimous decision. Armando Medellin Contreras (7-3-1, 2 KO's)also scored a four-round decision over Guillermo Vara in an action-packed bout. It wasn't always pretty, as Vara (3-2) preferred to slap more often than punch... explaining why he has no knockouts. In additon to the scheduled fights, Francisco "Panchito" Bojado also sparred for four two-minute rounds, mostly to promote his upcoming television appearances.

It was surreal being in the Forum again. And with an attendance of 5,228, I hope boxing comes back soon. People often complained about waning ticket sales at this venue.... but people must remember. The Forum was built to house basketball and hockey-sized crowds. The same numbers won't always come out to watch boxing. Yet, 5,228 came to watch two state titlists. I doubt you'd get that kind of turnout in a hotel ballroom.
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