It's the week for female fighters to take the spotlight

Female boxers highlight this week's boxing activities both inside and outside the ring.

We'll start with the professional debut of Laila Ali, the 21-year-old daughter of living legend Muhammad Ali, who fights April Fowler (0-1) Friday night at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y.

"It's a lot of pressure on me," Laila told The Associated Press. "There are so many expectations I must meet but I'm serious about this. All I can add is April Fowler will suffer a painful defeat."

Sounds a little like her dad, wouldn't you say?

The scheduled 4-round fight, in the super middleweight (168-pound limit) class, is a prelim fight on the undercard of the Donovan "Razor" Ruddock main event fight but Ali's fight figures to get more attention from both the media and fans.

"My dad doesn't want me to get hurt but he supports me 100-percent," she said in the interview. "My mother (Veronica) isn't comfortable with me going into the ring but she knows that I know what I'm doing."

There is no TV for the card but I'm sure the highlights will be shown on all the sports shows afterwards.

- The lowlight fight of the week takes place at Seattle's Mercer Arena Saturday and features the first-ever male-female fight! Or farce, if you prefer.

Margaret McGregor, a 36-year-old female boxer is no novice. She was 8-0-1 as a professional female kickboxer and is 3-0 as a pro women's boxer. Her opponent is Loi Chow, a former jockey who is now 0-2 as a pro fighter but hasn't fought since 1996. Chow, 34, runs a gym and is a weight lifter.

"I predict this fight will be over within a minute," a confident Chow said in an AP interview. "The first combination I land, the fight will be over. I hope I don't hurt her."

The fight will take place in the junior lightweight (130-limit) class and is set for four rounds. When McGregor was asked about her fighting a man she replied "Why not?"

Personally, I think it's a joke, a disgrace to the sport that just shows how far boxing has fallen in recent years. What's next? Maybe she'll wrestle Dennis Rodman or Jesse Ventura.

Anything for a buck these days. I'm surprised Don King isn't involved in this promotion but if it makes money, you can bet the "Only in America" man will have his hand in the pot some way or another.

Thankfully, there is no TV set for this but I'm sure they'll show the lowlights on many sports shows afterward unless the female fighter gets clocked too badly.

- One of the best female fighters around, Christy Martin, fought Saturday night on the Las Vegas Hilton card that was shown on Showtime. Martin (8-2-2, 30 KOs) fought Daniella Somers (9-2, 4 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round junior welterweight (140-limit) fight and it was target practice for Martin, who fights out of Orlando, Fla. She pounded Somers at will until a right hand shot to the temple put Somers, who is from Belgium, out on her feet and the one-sided fight was stopped at the 1:37 mark of round five.

"I never imagined it would be so easy," Martin said about her win. "I was ready to fight tonight."

That fight was the first on the three-hour telecast. It was followed by the Julio Cesar Chavez fight against unknown Willy Wise, which, as it turns out, wasn't a wise move for Chavez. The Mexican hero lost just about every round to Wise in their 10-round welterweight (147-limit) fight and lost by lopsided scores on all three judges scorecards. This fight was supposed to be an easy tuneup for Chavez, who was set to fight Kostya Tszyu in December for the title.

Chavez, who promoter Don King thought was fighting a "safe opponent," showed absolutely none of the skills that made him a great champion. Chavez, now 103-4-2, 86 KOs, is 37 years old and washed up! He was an 8-1 favorite at the Vegas books going into the fight.

If Chavez couldn't beat Wise, who came into the fight with three straight losses and a mediocre 23-6-4, 7-KO record, he should quit. Wise dominated the action and there was no doubt the 32-year-old Wise won. Even the Vegas judges couldn't screw this one up, and they didn't.

The main event on that card had little excitement as Ricardo Lopez of Mexico City remained undefeated by pounding out a unanimous 12-round decision to capture the IBF junior flyweight (108-limit) title from Will Grigsby. Lopez is now 48-0-1 with 35 KOs. Grigsby fell to 14-2-1, 6 KOs.

- And the female fighter not in the ring this week but a fighter who will be seen by more people than those others mentioned is Mia St. John. She is on the cover of the November issue of Playboy magazine (on sale now) and there is more of Mia to be seen inside. St. John is 12-0 as a pro, but against inferior foes and probably wouldn't do very well against the top female fighters. She sure is a worthy cover for Playboy, though.

- One of the best fights of the year took place Friday night on the ESPN2 live telecast. Mickey Ward and Reggie Green went at it for 10 tough rounds with both taking turns teeing off on the other until Ward, trailing on the scorecards, unleashed a flurry of punches in the final round and stopped Green with just 30-seconds left in the fight ... A real war that was very entertaining.

By the way, ESPN2 always reruns the Friday night fight card on Monday, usually in the 9 p.m. time slot, but sometimes a bit later if a game goes late. So if you miss them, you can see the fights on Monday.

- Another fighter who should quit is Gabe Ruelas, who fought Sunday night on the FOX card main event against Mexico's Manuel Garnica. Former two-time world champion Ruelas (46-6, 24 KOs) lost the junior welterweight fight by decision to the unknown Garnica (18-3, 11 KOs), whose previous fights had all taken place in Mexico.

Ruelas showed nothing and should quit the ring now. He is going nowhere but downhill and could possibly get hurt before all is said and done.

- The Las Vegas Hilton has Mike "I'll bite again" Tyson listed as a 9-1 favorite over Orlin Norris for their Oct. 23 fight in Vegas that will be shown live on Showtime. Norris, another washed-up fighter, is listed at +6-1. But with all the strange stuff that's going on in boxing, I wouldn't be surprised if Norris puts up a competitive fight until Tyson knocks him out.

Alan Rogers is the Nevada Appeal boxing writer.


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