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Poor crowds for Northern Nevada pro fights

Alan Rogers

The numbers are in from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for the three professional fight cards held in Northern Nevada in July and the numbers are dismal.

The July 20 card at Harrah’s Reno, promoted by Mills Lane’s “Let’s Get It On” Promotions and featuring Carson City’s Miguel Angel Ruiz in the main event, drew just 360-paid admissions and the gate was $10,595 … Not good numbers.

Lane’s company has another pro card set for Harrah’s Reno on Friday night, Aug. 24. We’ll have more details and the latest matches for that card next week but let’s hope they do better this time around.

The July 6 Reno Hilton fight card did even worse, drawing just 325 paid admissions for a gate of $10,250. That same night they had some competition because Harrah’s Tahoe also had a fight card at the same time.

The Harrah’s Tahoe card didn’t do very well either, drawing just 470 paid admissions for a gate of $17,550.

However, the Harrah’s card was televised live on ESPN2 with no local blackout and every fan I spoke to said virtually the same thing: “Why buy a ticket when I can watch it for free at home?”

That, and the fact that the Reno Hilton was going the same night, did contribute to the low attendance at both cards, but at least Harrah’s Tahoe got some TV money to ease the pain.

Hopefully, since we get so few live pro cards in Northern Nevada, the commission will not OK two fight cards on the same night again …

The commission also announced Ruiz, who lost his first main event fight by TKO in round two on that Lane card, has been suspended until Sept. 4 with no contact of any kind allowed until after Aug. 20th.

n This Saturday, Showtime has heavyweights David Tua (38-2, 33 KOs) and Chris Byrd (33-2, 19 KOs) in the main event of a card that comes from Las Vegas and starts here at 11 p.m.

They also have a “Newcomers” fight card that begins the same day at 5 p.m. Those figure to be mismatches designed to build the records of up-and-coming fighters by matching them against opponents who aren’t in the same class.

This is not to say those won’t be good fights, it’s just that when you know who is going to win before the first bell ever rings, the fight isn’t as interesting as it could be. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

n Last Saturday, HBO featured some U.S. 2000 Olympic fighters in a three-fight telecast from Little Rock, Ark.

First up was heavyweight Michael Bennett, who turned a rematch against Wes Taylor into a one-sided show. Bennett, now 5-1 with 5 KOs, whacked out Taylor (4-5-1, 4 KOs) at the 1:13 mark of round one to avenge his first-round TKO loss to Taylor a few months ago. Bennett has yet to see round two in any of his fights as they all have ended in the opening round, win or lose.

In an 8-round junior welterweight fight, undefeated 20-year old Ricardo Williams (4-0, 3 KOs) stopped 30-year-old Rodney Jones (25-4, 12 KOs) in round three after knocking him down in round two in a ho-hum fight. Williams was a silver medalist at the Olympic games in Sydney.

And undefeated Jermain Taylor (5-0, 3 KOs), who won a bronze medal in Sydney, knocked Efrain Garcia (15-3-1, 10 KOs) down twice in round five of their scheduled 6-round middleweight fight, forcing the referee to stop the one-sided contest at the 1:25 mark of that round.

n A couple of good fights highlighted the Friday night live ESPN2 card from the Foxwoods casino in Ledyard, Conn.

In the main event, Ben Tackie and Ray Oliveira went to war for 12 rounds in their NABF junior welterweight fight. When the smoke had cleared, Tackie took the fight, and title, by split decision to improve to 23-2 with 14 KOs. Oliveira fell to 42-8-1 with 19 KOs.

The semi-main saw Julian Wheeler (26-1-1, 8 KOs) and Daniel Alicea (24-4-2, 19 KOs) battle to a 10-round draw in their lightweight fight.

This Friday ESPN2 features Cory Spinks (27-1, 11 KOs) going against Larry Marks (22-4, 13 KOs) for the USBA welterweight title. The action starts at 6 p.m.

P.S. Don’t look for the ESPN2 Tuesday night fights tonight or in the near future. They ended their 13-week summer run last week and won’t return until next summer.

However, there is an ESPN Classic fight tonight at 6 p.m. – and it is a classic! Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali in the first of their three fights. Now that’s a fight!

n Heavyweights were featured on “Fight Time on FOX” Sunday night. There were big heavyweights, too. Paea Wolfgramm, from the Island of Tonga, brought all 292 pounds of himself into the ring to take on 290-pound Corey Sanders, who fights out of Washington, D.C.

Wolfgramm (20-4, 14 KOs) and Sanders (21-6, 13 KOs) were slow and lumbering and spent a lot of time leaning on each other for the first eight rounds of the fight before Sanders surprised everyone, including himself, by knocking Wolfgramm down in round nine and stopping him at the 1:54 amrk of the round in a mild upset.

Also on the telecast, junior middleweight Jason Papillion (33-6-1, 22 KOs) won a 10-round split decision over Michael Lerma (24-6-1, 18 KOs) in a good action fight. FOX shows pro boxing every Sunday, starting at 6 p.m.

n Univision’s live Sunday card featured Antonio Diaz (35-3, 25 KOs) and Oscar Delgado (22-15, 10 KOs) in a welterweight fight. Diaz won when Delgado quit on his stool after round five ended. They showed three fights on the live telecast.

Next Sunday, Univision has Jorge Paez in the main event. The telecast starts at noon.

Alan Rogers is the Nevada Appeal boxing writer.