|The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire|
February 8, 2001
New England Chatta:
Lennox Lewis and Dana Rosenblatt Slated for Summer Catchweight Fight
By JD Vena
Finally, the search for a marquee opponent is over for Malden's
"Dangerous" Dana Rosenblatt. Assuming that world heavyweight king Lennox
Lewis is successful in his April defense against Hasim Rahman, handlers of
Team Rosenblatt are optimistic in sealing a deal to meet Lewis at a
catch-weight late this summer. According to Joe Lake, Rosenblatt's
illustrious manager and trainer, Lennox Lewis has agreed to sidestep Tyson
in favor of the more formidable Rosenblatt at a contracted weight of 182
Such a fight would be the most eagerly-anticipated megafight the boxing world has served up in years, perhaps even decades. Okay, if you've come this far - and haven't choked to death on your own laugh - and believe even an inkling of what I've just written, then you just as likely believe in the Easter Bunny. You don't need to be a genius to know that House of Boxing's Mike Katz has a better shot at the cover of GQ than Rosenblatt has in meeting Lennox Lewis inside a boxing ring. The aforementioned Lewis-Rosenblatt deal is about as genuine as Marv Albert's hairpiece. Hell, "Rambo" movies are more realistic. Then again, the chances of Rosenblatt facing any of the names his handlers have been feeding us over the past couple of years is nearly of the same likelihood.
Most recently, the news circulating around the Boston tabloids and other dot com web sites is that Rosenblatt will be facing an opponent unlike any of the recent corpses set before him, somebody with a commodity that none of his prior opponents have come even close to possessing: a heartbeat. Though Rosenblatt avenged his only blemish in November of 1999, it was a questionable verdict over a faded version of a one-handed Vinny Pazienza, a 38-year-old overachiever. Since his "career-defining fight," Rosenblatt's representatives have been telling anyone with functioning eardrums of their intentions to fight someone with credibility.
A few weeks ago, Mike Nosky of SecondsOut.com reported that after a Sven Ottke-Rosenblatt title match fell apart at the seams, Rosenblatt would be getting his chance against WBO champ, Joe Calzaghe on Showtime on April 21st. Were we to assume that Showtime planned on competing with HBO's Lewis-Rahman title fight with Calzaghe-Rosenblatt? Only if we are to believe that Rosenblatt's handlers are actually looking for a dangerous opponent much less a dangerous champion. A day after the Mayweather-Corrales fight (two days after Lake had told Nosky about the Calzaghe bout), The Boston Globe's Ron Borges was given the inside feed from Lake that Rosenblatt would be meeting former champion David Reid at a catchweight of 166. Less than a week after this release, Lake uttered that the bout could not be made because of Reid's refusal to fight Rosenblatt at 166 as opposed to 162. If that were true, then why were Rosenblatt's people proposing a year ago that Dana could fight below 160 and fight Tony Ayala, Jr.? Before the Paz rematch, Rosenblatt admitted that fighting at 168 might be a little heavy of a weight division to compete in. I hardly believe in the notion that Reid, a man who went 12 rounds with Felix Trinidad, is fearful of facing a man who has not scored a knockout in his last 7 fights (since April of '98).
The talk of Rosenblatt engaging such opponents as Bernard Hopkins, William Joppy or Joe Calzaghe is a bogus public relations ploy to make it appear as though Rosenblatt's handlers are looking for stiffer competition and are confident in his chances of becoming a superstar. Surely a win over one of the aforementioned names would secure that but the only identity they have secured is the tag that Pinocchio had. Even if there were negotiations for such fights, you could practically guarantee that it would be Rosenblatt's people who would be turning their noses up if offers were made to fight any of them. Lake seems more comfortable with just throwing Rosenblatt's name in the headlines instead of in the ring, the place where fighters define their fighting identities.
After the most boring fight of the millennium so far, a snorefest between an unwilling Rosenblatt and a gun-shy, "Kid Fire" Will McIntyre, Ron Katz, Rosenblatt's promoter suggested that he was hopeful in nailing down a deal to meet Roy Jones, Jr. To make Katz statement more nonsensical, Katz boasted that Rosenblatt "would knock out Jones" if the two met. Excuse me? Is Katz planning on hosting next year's MTV awards? If not, he obviously requires some serious couch-time. You couldn't sentence enough people to prison if such a match were made.
What you will eventually hear in the upcoming weeks is that Rosenblatt handlers are going to have to "settle" for someone with less drawing power than the likes of Jones or Hopkins. But don't expect a name like New Bedford's Scott Pemberton to be mentioned as a possibility. When I asked Katz about putting together a local showdown between the two top 15 super-middleweights, Katz balked, "Why? He's a pre-lim fighter."
"If Pemberton is a pre-lim fighter, then why is he the NABF champion?" asked Ted Panagiotis, a matchmaker for Jimmy Burchfield's Classic Entertainment & Sports. "If he's a pre-lim fighter, who no one wants to see, then why did ESPN call us about airing his knockout of Le' Van Easley a week after the fight (which was non-televised)? If he's a pre-lim fighter, then why didn't they call us to fight Scott instead of Sam Calderon (who had a record of 12-3-1 going in)?"
It probably has to do with the fact that since Rosenblatt's chin (or lack of one) was exposed against Vinny Paz four years ago, Lake and Katz have steered clear from boxers who carry power in their fists, boxers like Pemberton. Unlike Rosenblatt, Pemberton understands that defeating someone such as former three-time title challenger Thomas Tate, his April 21st opponent will increase his chances of obtaining not only a cherished world title shot but more drawing power. Though the proposed Pemberton-Tate clash is not carved in stone, it is at least penciled on ESPN2's schedule. If you talk to any of the managers who Lake has rumored to have negotiated with, they will tell you that they have never heard of any such plans. In fact, most of them have never heard of Lake.
With the public pressure mounting for Rosenblatt, an eight-year pro, to finally step it up (as John Ruiz has with Evander Holyfield and Ray Oliveira and Micky Ward have with a host of top fighters), the timid southpaw and his rookie manager are pulling their best David Copperfield on you, folks. That's right. They've become masters of illusion. The not-so dynamic duo is content in fighting the Will McIntyre's of the world, knowing that this glory ride will come to a crashing halt the instant Rosenblatt's chin is exposed to a world-class punch.
In order to cover up such cowardice, the tandem is leaking falsities to the boxing media with a lineup of credible opponents as long as their alleged shopping list. They are creating the illusion that Hopkins, Jones, Joppy, and Reid are actually ducking the feather-fisted lefty with the eggshell chin, when in fact, any pre-school graduate knows it to be the other way around.
Whether Rosenblatt is ever matched with a threatening opponent or not, the "done deals" that his team has been announcing should fall on deaf ears.
In Othah News:
Meanwhile, Vinny Paz (as he is now legally called), Rosenblatt's arch-nemesis will make his return to the ring Friday night at Foxwoods against former WBA welterweight champion, Aaron Davis (47-6, 30 KO's) in an ESPN2 televised event. Paz (46-8, 29 KO's), a two-time world champion has not fought since his split decision loss to Rosenblatt, a fight that all but ruined the already broken right fist of Pazienza. The Cranston, Rhode Island native has since recovered from hand surgery and will more than likely have a tougher opponent Friday night than what he originally expected.
That opponent was to be 1996 Jamaican Olympian, Richard "The Alien" Grant. Grant, who defeated Kevin Pompey over 10 grueling rounds a few months ago, has had his ups and downs during his four-year career. He is the only man to defeat James Butler but has lost to lesser opponents, which is why ESPN refused to allow a Paz-Grant match-up. Burchfield awarded Grant (12-8, 2 KO's) by pitting him with fellow super-middleweight, Vitali Kopitko (18-3, 8 KO's) as part of the co-featured attraction on Friday Night Fights. Kopitko of Kiev, Ukraine is himself a 1996 Olympian and practices dermatology when not he's trying to damage facial skin with 10-ounce mitts.
Also appearing on the card is Liz Mueller (5-1, 2 KO's) of New London, CT who is coming back from a controversial defeat to Holland's Marischa Sjauw this past December. Mueller, arguably the second best female boxer in the world will face unbeaten Canadian, Jaime "The Hurricane" Clampitt (3-0, 1 KO). Hard-hitting Gary "The Tiger" Balletto (17-0-2, 17 KO's) of Providence meets Hector Arroyo (18-8-2, 11 KO's) in a 6-round lightweight bout. Also featured on the card is nineteen year old, Peter Manfredo, Jr. (3-0, 1 KO, a decorated Rhode Island amateur who faces Rod Jacobs (1-1) in a four round middleweight bout. Making his debut as a professional, Angel Torres, a 5-time Puerto-Rican Amatuer champion now fighting out of Manchester, CT will face spoiler, Walusimbi Kzito of New York in a 4 round featherweight contest. For ticket information, call 401-724-2253.
On Saturday night (Feb 10th), new-coming promoter, Ken Kosla kicks off a 6-bout show at the Leominster Armory (pronounced Lemonsta Ahmarie) in Leominster, MA. Headlining the card will be Worcester's (Wusstah's) Sean "The Irish Express" Fitzgerald (29-2, 12 KO's) in an 8-round bout with Dan Sheehan (5-5, 2 KO's) a native of Lawrence, MA who upset Elvir Muriqi by disqualification last year. Fitzgerald, whose losses have come against Rosenblatt and Duran at middleweight, will be fighting at cruiserweight.
In a 4-round co-feature, Leominster police detective, Joe "The Fighting Cop" Siciliano (3-1), will engage in another 4-round Butterbean bout against fellow Mass native, Paul Smith. Of all the fighters on the card, the fighter to look out for is Dorchester light-heavyweight, Colm Keane (3-0, 1 KO). Keane, formerly of Galway, Ireland was a 3-time New England Golden Gloves champion and meets bout Dan Sawyer of Scranton, PA in a 4-rounder. Working Keane's corner will be the legendary Lou Duva. Also featured on the card will be New York Heavyweight, Brian Nix (12-6) in a 6-round bout and Newark, New Jersey's Yolanda Gonzalez in a 4-round women's jr. featherweight bout. Tickets can be purchased at the North End Diner at 59 Nashua St. in Leominster (978-534-0600); at the Twin City Boxing Club at 132 Spruce St in Leominster (978-840-2881); and at Bay State Homes at 652 Park Ave in Worcester (508-757-5060). They may also be purchased at the Leominster Armory door.
On February 21st, Doug Pendarvis, another relatively new promoter to the boxing business, will run a 5-bout show in celebration of Black History Month at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester.
"It's going to be like KO Nation (HBO Boxing)," said Pendarvis, also a successful music promoter. "We're going to have competitive boxing along with local entertainers like Little Kenny and the Camillo Sisters. The best DJ in Boston, C.C. Sounds will be the master of ceremonies for the evening. I wanted to open this event up to the young people of the community.
"February is Black History Month. The ring card girls will be dressed in traditional attire and each round will represent a great moment in Black History. Everything will be colored in African-American colors - black, red and green. This is going to be an event, not just boxing matches."
In the 8-round main event, Pepe Muniz (11-2) of Dorchester will face New England's favorite "opponent," Jose Torres (10-44-2) of Hartford, CT. Muniz is coming off a decision loss to Brockton's Tim Flamos in a battle for the Mass State Cruiserweight title.
Edwin Santana (26-3-5), the feared featherweight from Lawrence, MA will battle Greg Torres (14-2) of New Jersey in the 8-round co-feature. Also slated to appear on the card are jr. middlweight, Jimmy LeBlanc of South Boston, Dorchester heavyweight, Willie "Bad News" Barnes and Lawrence's Gil Reyes (2-0, 2 KO's), in separate 4-round attractions. Tickets are on sale at Funky Fresh Records (617-427-6316), Mattapan Music (617-296-3445) and Nubian Notion (617-442-2611).