NEW YORK (January 4, 2005)—Don King Productions has announced seven great undercard matches featuring five undefeated fighters supporting an already fabulous “Undisputed” event Saturday at the Theater at Madison Square Garden headlined by world welterweight king Zab “Super” Judah, from Brooklyn, making a mandatory defense against World Boxing Council No. 1-ranked contender Carlos “Tata” Baldomir, from Argentina; World Boxing Association and WBC cruiserweight champion Jean-Marc Mormeck opposing International Boxing Federation champion O’Neil “Supernova” Bell to determine the undisputed champion at the 200-pound weight limit; and IBF junior flyweight champion Will “Steel” Grigsby making a mandatory defense of his crown against No. 1-ranked Ulises “Archie Solis, from Mexico.
Mark “Poison” Suarez (24-2, 12 KOs), from Riverside, Calif., will meet undefeated James “Spider” Webb (18-0, 15 KOs), from Columbia, Tenn., in a scheduled 12-round match for the IBF No. 1 welterweight ranking.
Suarez is already the North American Boxing Organization welterweight champion and has become the IBF’s leading contender. An all-action fighter, Suarez doesn’t mind taking chances while reaching for greatness.
Webb is a Southern gentleman who was a military champion before turning professional. In his last appearance, he earned the right to fight for the No. ranking by scoring a huge upset over highly regarded Jose Celaya.
The best prospect boxing in New York today, undefeated (and Felix Trinidad look-alike) Elio “The Kid” Rojas (14-0, 10 KOs), from Brooklyn, will face Tiger Smalls (17-9-1, 6 KOs), from San Diego, in a featherweight attraction scheduled for eight rounds.
Rojas has displayed precocious skills—tremendous punching power and blazing speed—in an extensive amateur background and in his early professional career. The former Dominican champion is rapidly approaching a world title appearance.
Smalls, approaching eccentric Californian status after recently appearing on the cover of High Times magazine, is tall, rangy, skillful and is a threat to anyone he opposes.
Undefeated, No. 1-ranked IBF cruiserweight Steve “USS” Cunningham (18-0, 9 KOs), from Philadelphia, will take on Lloyd “Jabba” Bryan (21-11, 9 KOs), from Memphis, in an eight-rounder.
Cunningham, an All-Navy boxer while in the military, served notice on the cruiserweight division last year that he is a force to be reckoned with by winning a split decision over the legendarily tough Panamanian boxer Guillermo “El Felino” Jones and scored a lopsided unanimous decision over former IBF cruiserweight champion Kelvin “Konkrete” Davis.
The slick veteran Bryan will attempt to spoil Cunningham’s plan to face the winner of Mormeck vs. Bell, which will take place later in the evening.
Three-time WBA middleweight champion William Joppy (35-4-1, 26 KOs), from Washington, D.C., will attempt to regain his status in the division against Erik “The Hurricane” Howard (11-9-1, 6 KOs), from Crossville, Tenn., in a scheduled eight-round bout.
Owen “What the Heck” Beck (24-2, 18 KOs), from Nashville via Jamaica, will meet fellow heavyweight Darnell Wilson (18-2-3, 15 KOs), from Middleton, Md.
Beck surprised many last year when he wobbled Monte Barrett early in their match but was unable to finish “Two Gunz” and succumbed to his more experienced foe by technical knockout – although he was ahead on one of the judges’ scorecards.
He met Ray “Rainman” Austin in his last appearance and suffered a narrow split-decision loss.
He will face a huge puncher in Wilson, who would love nothing more than to further his career by handing Beck his third loss in a row in a match scheduled for eight rounds.
The best heavyweight prospect in boxing, Bermane “B.Ware” Stiverne (4-0, 4 KOs), from Las Vegas, will make his New York debut against John Turlington (5-7-1, 4 KOs), from Sullivan, Mo., in an attraction set for four rounds.
This will be Stiverne’s coming out party to display his quick hands and devastating power in front of a huge media contingent assembled for the first major boxing event of 2006.
Zab Judah’s brother, Josiah “Gorilla” Judah (4-0, 1 KO) will attempt to keep his record unblemished when he meets super middleweight contender Franklin Armstrong (3-7-3, 2 KOs), from Winston-Salem, N.C.
Tickets are priced at $505, $305, $205 $105 and $55 are on sale now at the Garden box office and all Ticketmaster locations or by calling Ticketmaster at 212-307-7171, 201-507-8900, 631-888-9000, or 914-454-3388. Ticket prices include a $4.50 facility surcharge. Ticketmaster purchases are subject to a Ticketmaster service charge. Doors will open at 5 p.m. with the first bout shortly thereafter.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV