March 29, 2000
Well fight fans, the first quarter of the new millenium is just about
finished. As the year 2000 rapidly approaches the halfway mark, the sport of
boxing promises to get even better.
Among some of the biggest events of the year, Roy Jones, Jr. dazzled fight
fans, as he became the first world championship attraction to literally stage
a boxing event at Radio City Music Hall. Jones, who happens to run Square
Ring, Inc., successfully retained the Undisputed World Light-Heavyweight
Championship with a sound showing against David Telesco, had R&B Recording
Artist, Whitney Houston and Rap Stars, The Method Man and Red Man to join him
In January, Mike Tyson became an overseas attraction, as tickets for his
"no-contest" duel with Julius Francis sold out in 48 hours, continued his
quest toward securing one last world heavyweight title fight with a scheduled
appearance from Milan in May.
While Floyd Mayweather, Arturo Gatti, and Prince Naseem Hamed promises to
keep busy., Zab Judah and Johnny Tapia plans to "hold-it down," as they both
serve as world champion. Hopefully each fighter will find themselves a
"thug-of-war" where each fighter will need more than just power and skills to
In addition, Cedric Kushner's monthly fight cards on the final Thursday from
Manhattan Center in New York City has proven to be an A+ for the sport.
Fighters such as, Shannon Briggs and Monte Barrett have found a new home to
display their talent.
One of the more bigger issues that has grasp fight fans attention is the fact
that Lennox Lewis, the Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion, could be
stripped before having made a single defense of the unified crown he won from
Evander Holyfield in November.
Lewis, who agreed to fight a No. 1 contender after his April 29 meeting with
Michael Grant, says he does not want to fight Henry Akinwande, the WBA
mandatory challenger ever again. The first and only time they fight was in
July 1997. Lewis, who was just the WBC titlist at the time, retained his
title when Akinwande was disqualified in the fifth for holding.
Lewis, who has agreed to fight replacement Johnny Ruiz, must also defend
against David Tua, the IBF mandatory, sometime in November.
For the next three months, the fight schedule will indeed heat-up, as Vitali
Klitschko, the unrecognized WBO heavyweight champion, defends his title on
April 1 against Chris Byrd, a once highly talked-about young heavyweight
sensation. Byrd, who won an Olympic Gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic
games at 165 pounds, has fought professionally for over eight years and has
not received a world title opportunity. At 6'2," 215 pounds, Byrd is going to
have his hands full when he meets the 6' 7," 245-pound machine in Vitali.
Also, in one of the most highly anticipated fights of the year, Fernando
Vargas, in perhaps the toughest fight his career, defends his IBF 154-pound
against a former WBA welterweight king, Ike Quartey on April 15. It would be
Quartey's first fight in over 15 months since losing a close unanimous
decision to Oscar De La Hoya.
Speaking of De La Hoya, the newly crowned two-time, WBC welterweight
champion, will defend his championship against Sugar Shane Mosley on June 17,
live from the Staple Center in Los Angeles. De La Hoya, who in February
stopped WBC No. 2 challenger Derrel Coley in the eighth-round, would move one
step closer towards a rematch with WBA 154-pound king, Felix Trinidad should
he beat Mosley.
Trinidad, thus far is my pick for the fighter of the year, if not De La Hoya.
Trinidad looked so good in stopping the former champion, David Reid in his
tracks through 12-rounds in early March. While Trinidad had to rise up from
the floor again to beat Reid, Trinidad did just that in impressive fashion.
The champion dropped Reid once I the seventh and three times in the eleventh.
De La Hoya-Trinidad II would be a much better fight than the first encounter
last September. Once again, I'd have to go with De La Hoya to beat Trinidad.
That's all for now!