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Monday, December 12, 2005
This will be the first major card of 2006 and it looks like a dandy. Unified welterweight champ Zab Judah, originally from Brooklyn, will have the hometown crowd on his side as he defends against Argentinean Carlos Baldomir. There has been a lot of talk about what likely will be Zab's subsequent fight, against Floyd Mayweather Jr., but Zab stated Monday, "I don't want to overlook Carlos before we get to Pretty Girl."
I hope you read the column I did recently for Bodyguard Magazine called "Decoding Boxing" about the meaning of the pre-fight ritual of trash-talking. They haven't posted it, but the point of that essay, written about how Mayweather and Gatti went from dissing each other to loving each other after they fought, was what pre-corporate controlled rap taught: Don't believe the hype.
Zab (34-2, 1 NC, 25 KOs) should not have a particularly difficult time with the 34-year-old Baldomir, with a record of 41-9-6 and only 12 KOs, but who hasn't been knocked out since 1994. This is a showcase fight for Zab and one meant as an appetizer for a spring showdown with Mayweather, which no doubt will be on pay$per$view.
What is the real deal on this card may escape the attention of the more casual fans. Jean-Marc Mormeck (31-2, 21 KOs), who holds the WBA and WBC cruiserweight belts, will be fighting IBF champ O'Neil Bell (25-1-1, 23 KOs) to unify this division's major titles.
Mormeck has mainly fought in France and only twice before in the U.S. Before you start making cracks that belong on Fox News, Mormeck, born in Guadeloupe, decisively defeated then-unbeaten WBC champ Wayne Braithwaite on April 2, 2005, in Worcester, Mass., in the good ol' U.S. of A. to unify the two belts he has. Before that, Mormeck racked up victories over Virgil Hill (twice), Dale Brown, and Alexander Gurov. Mormeck suffered his only two career losses back in his fourth and fifth pro fights, a four-round and a six-round decision, in 1997.
Something tells me that this muscular Frenchman, with the bleached trimmed beard, could just steal the show Jan. 7.
Mormeck also has his own web site, in Francais, at: http://www.mormeck.com/ .
Showtime boxing will also begin a feature on Dec. 19 on their web site where fans can pick a nickname for Mormeck. Once again, France and America collaborate in democracy!
The Showtime telecast in the U.S. will just show these two fights, Judah-Baldomir and Mormeck-Bell. On the non-televised but interesting undercard, Will Grigsby will defend his IBF junior flyweight belt against Ulises Solis, and unbeaten featherweight prospect Elio Rojas of Brooklyn via the Dominican Republic will display his talents.
At the press conference, we got a chance to chat with Teddy Blackburn, who has just published “In the Other Corner: A Tribute to Gerald McClellan” to help raise funds for that stricken ex-boxer. All the proceeds from the sales of that book go directly to assist Gerald. We wrote about this last week, and Teddy said you can also contact him by e-mail to get information on purchasing the book, at this address: TBlackburn@aol.com .
We also heard that the annual New York meeting of the Boxing Writers Association of America has been postponed from this Thursday to Jan. 7, just before this card at the Garden.
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Mormeck, who seems to be media savvy, could wind up having a good career in the US. He's going to move up to heavyweight after the Bell fight, I gather. This should be an entertaining match-up between two aggressive guys. Mormeck ought to have enough to win and to look good in the process.
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