Daily News from New York, New York on November 7, 1988 · 68
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Daily News from New York, New York · 68

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New York, New York
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Monday, November 7, 1988
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68
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64 oAtty SPORTS r (f x , 4 x ; t t t t t jt t t f NEWS DfltfeiD IJDDDOirGDQDOD By MICHAEL KATZ Daily News Sports Writer LAS VEGAS - Stanley Ket-chel tried Jack Johnson. Mickey Walker tried half the heavyweight division. And in the same David vs. Goliath tradition, Sugar Ray Leonard meets Donny Lalonde tonight. This time David has been such a heavy favorite over a vegetarian Goliath with a pin in his left shoulder that the world appears to be shrugging- Almost a third of the 15,200 seats are unsold for the outdoors bout at Caesars Palace. Most of Madison Square Garden is still available for the only closed-circuit showing in New York. But Mike Trainer, Leonard's lawyer who is trying to pioneer what he calls "free agency" in boxing wherein the fighters themselves in effect promote the show said these were not valid litmus tests to the bout's appeal. Success will be measured by what people do in the privacy of their own homes: pay-per-view TV sales. Titan Sports, the pay-per-view arm of Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation, has kicked in $9.6 million into the pot and needs 500,000 sales at $29.95 per to break even. Last-minute shopping Jim Troy, the Titan vice president in charge of the promotion, said 300,000 sales had been made going into the final three days when, he said, 70 of most purchases are made. "Part of the appeal," insisted Troy, "is that this could be Sugar Ray Leonard's last fight." The fight is a guaranteed financial success. Caesars Palace has contributed $7.6 million, so the empty seats are the casino's problem. Coors Beer has put in $1 million and foreign TV sales are over the $2 million mark. "It's a home run," said Trainer, knowing that Leon- Pepe' Correa fills out Leonard's LAS VEGAS - Angelo Dundee, unfortunately, won't be in Sugar Ray Leonard's corner tonight against Donny Lalonde. Instead, Leonard will have a man by his side praised as "another Panama Lewis" Jose (Pepe) Correa. Lewis was the brilliant trainer of, among others, Aaron Pryor, who served a prison term for cheating with Luis Resto's gloves in a 1984 bout with Billy Collins Jr. at Madison Square Garden. Collins' face was battered and when he couldn't fight again, began drinking and drove off a road to his fe Q v DONNY-BROOK? Donny Lalonde ard will make at least $15 million and Lalonde at least $5 million. It shows the evergreen, drawing power of the 32-year-old future Hall of Famer who is making only his third start in the last 6Vfc years. He has not looked as sharp or as intense as he was in his preparations for his great upset of Marvelous Marvin Hagler 20 months ago and now is trying someone bigger if not better. Lalonde, the WBC light-heavyweight champion, has a 31-2 record with 26 knockouts against the flotsam of the 175-pound division. Leonard's 34-1 record, with 24 KO's, has been highlighted by victories over such as Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran and Wilfred Benitez. But it has always been one of the intrigues of boxing death. Yet, to be called "another Panama Lewis" is praise when the opinion is that of Panama Lewis, who insists he did nothing wrong. What he meant was not that Correa cheats, but that he can motivate fighters. The Washington-based Correa has been around Leonard for years and helped develop Simon Brown, the IBF welterweight champion, and Maurice Blocker. He will be third man in the corner, behind longtime Leonard handlers Janks Morton and Dave Jacobs. Angelo still will be missed, if not by Leonard, presents the biggest challenge that when a good little guy mets someone bigger. This isn't a middleweight champion against a heavyweight champion, though. Lalonde, at 6-1, is only 3V inches taller. He figures to weigh in today at the 168-pound limit for the new super-middleweight division, though this will be no problem for the 28-year-old drinker of beet juice. Leonard will probably come in at 162, but has said he could still make his old 147-pound welterweight limit. This will be the first time men will be fighting for two titles, but no one is too excited, even though if Leonard wins he will be the first man to win five titles (or second, if one counts Thomas Hearns' 168-pound title for the new BOXING MICHAEL KATZ then by most everyone else. Corny belt The passing last month of Henry Armstrong and I wouldn't argue with anyone who calls him the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in Sugar Ray Leonard has faced World Boxing Association). The first reaction to this bout was apathy. Yes, experts reasoned, Lalonde was bigger, but so what Leonard was better than a 4-1 favorite. . Odds getting even But he's only 5-2 now and part of the increasing belief in Lalonde is the increasing doubt whether Leonard, who insists "I'm not underestimating any world champion," is not overestimating himself. He said Lalonde "doesn't have the type of foot movement that I can't come in when I want to." However, Leonard has lost a tad on his reflexes. The hands may move as quickly, but they take a moment longer to get going. And, Lalonde has this nasty habit of hitting back when he is punched. history puts into sad perspective Leonard's attempt at winning five titles tonight Who cares? Titles are devalued in this era of a new division every heavy meal and with three or four champions per weight class. What is relevant, however, is that Leonard, like Armstrong and Sugar Ray Robinson, is daring to face a bigger man. Good for him . . . Funny, but this year's comeback has been made with almost no references to Leonard's detached retina. I had no objection last "year I figure Ray knows the risks he's taking but what hap D0flU 'Part of the appeal is that this could bo Leonard's last fight.' Promoter Jim Troy "I don't care if he hits me," he said. "I'll gladly trade with him." Lalonde has shown a good chin against bigger men. He has been stopped once, that by Willie (Sandman) Edwards, a legitimate top-10 contender at the time. Lalonde, whose "Golden Boy" nickname is from a landmark statue in his Wini-peg hometown and not from his flowing, once-tinted blond hair, has so far been immune to any attempts at playing with his head. Hagler was affected by the pre-fight buildup last year and came out fighting from an orthodox stance instead of in his usual southpaw style. Lalonde will not start from a southpaw stance, and not because his left hand, injured permanently in a hockey accident, is mediocre. "It's not useless the way everone seems to think," said Gil Clancy. "He just throws it from a different angle that looks bad." Lalonde has worked on pushing and shoving as well as holding and hitting, anything to take advantage of his size and strength. "He can't dance, he can't move around," said Leonard. But Leonard's own dancing began to stop as early as the fourth round against Hagler. If he can't hurt Lalonde, the longer the fight goes, the more chance he will get tired, the more chance he will get hit That's why the pick here remains Lalonde in 10. comer pened to all those caring people who didn't want him to fight? He is still risking his sight. Preliminary report Roger Mayweather, if he's not completely shot, is worth 2-1 to defend his WBC junior welter title against Vinny Pazienza. . . . People tell me rematch of WBC su-perfly title bout may be best fight on card. Gilberto Roman is 8-5 to repeat victory over Sugar Baby Rojas. . . . Ike Padilla of Yonkers, run-nerup to Michael Bent in Daily News Golden Gloves heavyweight division, makes pro debut against 2-2 Tony Hayes of High Point, N.C.

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