On a picture perfect Friday afternoon in downtown Memphis, the Pepsi Pavilion played host to the pre-fight weigh-in for the “Megafight in Memphis” card this weekend (Saturday, June 18, FedEx Forum). All of the fighters on the eleven-fight card made weight on the first attempt.
Leading off the weigh-in were the two main event participants, Glengoffe Johnson and Antonio Tarver. In town for the sequel to their fantastic twelve-round scrap at the end of 2004, Johnson and Tarver both came in well within the light heavyweight limit at 173 and 173½, respectively. The obligatory stare-down followed, which set the tone for the rest of the late afternoon, as participants from every bout would follow suit. All attempted – and failed – to match the intensity offered by the two best light heavyweights on the planet.
The results and full schedule are as follows:
HBO Main Event: 12 Rounds, IBA Light Heavyweight Championship
Glengoffe Johnson, 173 vs. Antonio Tarver, 173½
HBO co-feature: 10 Rounds, Middleweight
Ike Quartey, 156 vs. Verno Phillips, 155¼
Andre Ward, 160 vs. Ben Aragon, 159
Ann Wolfe, 169 vs. Marsha Valley, 174
Lakva Sim, 137 vs. Shawn Simmons, 139
Vinny Maddalone, 230 vs. Dennis McKinney, 210
Lamont Peterson, 139 vs. John Frazier, 137
Anthony Peterson, 140 vs. Anthony Middlebrooks, 138
Donnell Wiggins, 178 vs. Norman Johnson, 173
Rayonta Winfield, 119½ vs. Terrance Roy, 123
Adam Richards, 246 vs. Tyrone Muex, 216
Joining the fighters on stage were WBO heavyweight champion Lamon Brewster, top contender and three-division world champion James Toney, and Memphis’ own Kennedy McKinney.
The eleven-fight card is promoted by Goossen-Tutor, along with Star Boxing and Prize Fight Promotions. The main event and co-feature will be carried live by HBO’s World Championship Boxing, with a start time of 9:00PM local (Central) time.
BREWSTER LOOKS TO MAKE MANDATORY DEFENSE IN THE FALL
Lamon Brewster confirmed to TSS that his next bout will be a mandatory defense against Luan Krasniqi. The bout will most likely take place in September or October. No official date or location was offered. Brewster was also disappointed to hear that WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko has backed off on his original promise to purse a unification bout. “He said he wanted me… I don’t know what happened with that, but it died down in a hurry. That’s why I have to now take care of this mandatory first.” When informed that Vitali may instead face Oleg Maskaev, Brewster replied, “What the heck is he chasing after that cat for? I didn’t even know Maskaev was still fighting.” A grimace worked its way across the face of James Toney, who was within earshot of the conversation. No comment was offered, as camps for Toney and Klitschko are rumored to be in negotiation for the September 24 HBO slot
WARD SET FOR FIRST PRO FIGHT OUTSIDE OF CALIFORNIA … AND OFF TV
2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward was excited about fighting in Memphis for the first time in his young pro career. “To me, it doesn’t matter where I fight,” insisted a relaxed Ward minutes before the weigh-in. “I consider myself to be a throwback fighter. I’m excited about fighting on this card, and just keeping things going in my career.”
Ward made his pro debut last December, serving as co-feature to Johnson-Tarver I in Los Angeles. His bout was televised by HBO, and his next two contests were aired on FoxSports’ “The Best Damn Sports Show, Period.” This will be his first non-televised pro fight, and in fact the first time he has not appeared on television since before the Olympic Games in 2004. Ward doesn’t care; a fight is a fight.
“Honestly, it’s just a thrill to be part of this card. Like you said, my pro debut was fought when these two (Johnson and Tarver) went at it the first time, so it’s great to be a part of that again. Their first fight will always have a special place in my heart because it’s when I started my career. So it’s only right that I’m fighting on this card as well. I can’t wait.”
Ward plans – or at least hopes – to fight once a month for the rest of the year, and presumably at middleweight. He weighed in at a career-low 160, and appeared to be in excellent shape for his fight with Ben Aragon in the final non-televised bout of the evening.
FAMILIAR FOE FIRST, MAN NEXT FOR ANN WOLFE
Female phenomenon Ann Wolfe confirmed to TSS that she plans to follow through on her “Battle of the Sexes” bout in Mississippi. The rumored opponent for the fight is James Johnson (18-14-2), though TSS was unable to confirm. Also remaining unconfirmed is a date and location. Conflicting reports have the bout taking place either July 8 in Bay St. Louis or August 20 in Biloxi. Members of the Wolfe camp were equally unsure. They expressed disappointment in talks of various commissions – including the ABC – filing a motion to have the fight blocked, expressing safety concerns first and foremost as their reason.
Wolfe plans on going through with the fight regardless of the negative feedback offered. First, she looks to dust off a familiar foe as she takes on .500 fighter Marsha Valley. Wolfe owns a pair of 2002 stoppage wins over Valley, taking her out in six rounds in June 2002 before stopping her in ten six months later in Ft. Lauderdale.
“It’s been rough for me, as far as getting fights,” said a disappointed Wolfe, who was hoping to fight Laila Ali around this time. “I’ve been chasing (Ali) forever, but nothing ever happens. So I have to go this route to keep my name in the spotlight.”
The thirty-four year Wolfe will be making the first defense of her WIBA light heavyweight title.
HATTON TO SERVE AS GUEST HOST ON ESPN2 FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS NEXT WEEK
Ray Hatton confirmed to TSS earlier today that newly crowned junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton will serve as in-studio guest host for next week’s installment of ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights. Hatton is scheduled to arrive in the states on Wednesday, as he will be in attendance for the upcoming showdown between WBC titlist Arturo Gatti and Floyd Mayweather, Jr, Hatton hopes to challenge the winner, and possibly on this side of the pond as he has expressed a serious interest in wanting to defend his title in the States.