January 9, 2000
Scratch that Friday, January 21 fight card at the Roseland Theater in
Portland, OR. The date has been shoved back to an unspecified date in
Jim Cassidy, the Executive Director of the Oregon State Police Boxing
and Wrestling Commission says no bouts had yet been proposed and none of
the required paperwork for a show had made it to his desk. According to
Cassidy, his phone calls to the promotion and to matchmaker Thad Spenser
have not been answered.
Given that situation it may have been a relief for Spenser to be able
to claim that the reason for the cancellation is that local Jr.
middleweight, Quandray "Candy" Robertson of Salem, OR bowed out of his
scheduled main event against veteran Rudy Lavato.
The 27 year-old Robertson had been riding a two year win cycle,
running up an 8-0, 6 KO record against flabby vegetable opposition under
the guidance of his original manager, Fred Ryan, and trainer Ed Milberger.
In the autumn of '99, Robertson's contract with Ryan ran out and the
fighter asked long-time master manager Mike "Motormouth" Morton of
Portland to take him on.
The 87 year-old Morton was making his own comeback from massive
health problems--a stroke, broken hip, gall bladder removal, and more--and
the defection of his formerly ranked Jr. lightweight Miguel Arrozal. But
Morton agreed to work with Robertson, hooked him up with Arnold and James
Manning to train him, and made a fight for him with a respectable payday
in the main event at Legends Casino in Toppenish, WA last Nov. 5.
After less than a month of training with the Mannings, Robertson
stepped in with banger Carlos "El Elegante" Bojorquez of Mira Loma, CA.
After a fairly close bout Bojorquez backed the tiring Robertson into a
corner in the 9th round, bent him over with a body shot and then cold
cocked him with a right to the chin. Robertson spent several seconds in
the crocodile zone. He was grumpy when he woke up, and blamed the Mannings
for trying to change his style. Various witnesses said Candy was doing
fine until he reverted to his old wild, winging style.
Bojorquez improved to 10-1-4, 7 KO's. Robertson suffered his first
loss and was handed a medical suspension for sixty days. Morton told him
to keep doing his roadwork and come back to the gym after the holidays.
Enter matchmaker Thad Spenser who was planning the January 21 show at
the Roseland for promoters Dave Leiken and Ivan Kafoury. Spenser, an old
friend of Morton's, got a promise for Candy Robertson to fight his main
event. When the time came for Robertson to return to the gym, Candy wanted
the Mannings to drive from Portland to Salem every day to train him. Not
practical. Manager Morton talked coach Wally Jorgenson into training
Robertson at Jorgenson's gym in Salem.
Robertson didn't get started at the gym.
On Thursday, Jan.6, Robertson let Morton know that he couldn't make
the January 21 date. Candy explained that he is breaking up with his wife
and planning to move to Vancouver, WA to live with his brother, or maybe
to Portland to live with his Dad. In addition, Robertson had recently lost
his job in a Salem warehouse.
This being a bit of a triple-whammy (a first loss by serious knockout
followed by traumatic breakup of family and sudden unemployment) it might
be reasonable to suppose that Robertson would take some time to get his
act together. But the amazing Morton grabbed the phone to persuade
matchmaker Thad Spenser not to get a replacement main event, but to
actually move his show a month to wait for Candy. The shortage of official
paperwork suggests that Spenser's arm didn't need much twisting.
The news broke late on Thursday and, by uncomfortable coincidence,
an advertisement for the fight on the Jan.21 date ran on Friday in The
Oregonian newspaper. On Saturday, FASTIXX was still selling tickets for
the Jan. 21 date.
Developments as they appear......