Crowd Pleasing | NevadaAppeal.com

Crowd Pleasing

Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com
Reno boxer Oscar Vasquez will battle in his fourth Fallon Fights bout in his pro career on Friday at the Churchill County Fairgrounds.
LVN File Photo | LVN

Fight card

TV Main Event

Willie Nelson (22-1-1, 13 KOs) vs. Luis Grajeda (17-2-2, 13 KOs), 10 rounds

TV Co-Main Event

Norbert Nemesapati (14-0, 13 KOs) vs. Jason Escalera (14-2-1, 12 KOs), 8 rounds

TV Opener

Zhang Zhilei (Pro debut) vs. Curtis Lee Tate (7-4, 6 KOs), 4 rounds

TV Swing

Eduardo Alicea (7-0, 3 KOs) vs. Kirk Huff (3-0, 1 KO), 6 rounds

Off air

Joel Diaz Jr. (16, 12 KOs) vs. Kevin Aguilar (8-1-1, 2 KOs), 8 rounds

Oscar Vasquez (6-1, 1 KO) vs. Sergio Lopez (2-1-1), 6 rounds

Ticket info

Gates open at 5 p.m. for the 2014 Fallon Fights and the first bout starts at 6 p.m.

Advance general admission adult tickets start at $12 for adults, $7 for children and $10 for military and seniors. Advance ringside tickets start at $27.

Ringside tables for eight are available for $500 including a cooler of beer, program and special Fallon Fights souvenir. Tickets can be purchased online at www.visitfallonnevada.com/fallonfights or by calling 775-423-4556.

Live sporting events are as good as the atmosphere allows it to be.

On Friday, boxing and fight fans will once again have their chance to let loose, albeit with a national audience tuned in.

The 2014 Fallon Fights will be televised live by ESPN2, and with it, the opportunity to take the event to another level. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the first fight starts at 6 p.m. at the Churchill County Fairgrounds.

But the atmosphere circling the fighters is what holds the key to keep ESPN coming back to Fallon.

Of course, the fights themselves cannot be understated when it comes to keeping the audience engaged, according to Dynasty Boxing co-founder Tommy Lane. But when action does hit a furious or critical point, the fans are what turns a decent TV event into a great spectacle.

“The quality of the fights is key,” Lane said. “I’ve always believed that when you show a fight in a half-empty arena or at some Indian casino in the Midwest and the only thing you can hear is the trainers yelling, it doesn’t come off as important event that people should watch on TV.”

This year’s event is a co-promotion between Dynasty Boxing the DiBella Entertainment. Lane said DiBella owned the TV slot — a 10-round junior middleweight bout pitting Willie Nelson (22-1-1, 13 KOs) against Luis Grajeda (17-2-2, 13 KOs) — and Dynasty supplied the venue.

Nelson brings a draw as he is ranked fifth in the WBC, while many American fight fans will get their first glimpse of Chinese heavyweight Zhang Zhilei, who is promoted by Dynasty.

“I’ve always felt the atmosphere we’ve had in Fallon has been a notch better,” Lane said. “I think that’s do to the atmosphere of the show, being outside and the local crowd being behind it.”

For Fallon fans, however, a familiar face returns, which will help with bringing a vibrant atmosphere to the arena as Reno’s Oscar Vasquez battles Sergio Lopez in a six-round bout.

Although it will not be televised live, Lane said he expects Vasquez-Lopez to be the fight of the night.

“I think it will be an awesome show,” Lane said.

ESPN, Lane said, is and has been looking for different locations to televise its “Fright Night Fights” series. Lane said fights are not broadcast from outdoors due to the unpredictability of the weather.

According to the National Weather Service, Friday’s forecast calls for a high of 96-degrees, a low of 60 with a slight chance of thunderstorms.

“There’s a risk there when your dealing with live TV and elements out of your control,” Lane said. “I think it is a throwback to the early days of boxing. There is an atmosphere, a party atmosphere and you’re not in some ballroom that will be converted into a conference the next day.”

Despite the weather, Lane said his experiences with the city of Fallon and the event will make for a great live TV production. Anchored by a title contender, other up-and-coming fighters and a vibrant crowd, Lane expects Friday’s show to be one the best Fallon has hosted.