Don King and Company’s heavyweight title tilt in ballpark

Sergei “White Wolf” Liakhovich (23-1, 14 KOs), hailing from Belarus but now living and fighting out of Scottsdale, Arizona, will defend his WBO title against Brooklyn’s own Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs (47-4-1, 41 KOs), the No. 3-ranked WBO contender, this Saturday on Showtime Championship Boxing.

The bout’s promoter, the indefatigable Don King, says he wanted the fans to be as close to the action as possible, so he only put 20,012 of the 49,800 available seats on sale, with the ring placed over the pitcher’s mound.

It was important to me that the people of Phoenix have the best seats possible to witness the first world heavyweight championship decided on Arizona soil, said King with his usual ballyhoo and brio. I have also put together a wonderful card with three world championships and many other great fights so it will be action-packed from the afternoon on into the evening.

Bobby Goodman, King’s longtime Vice President of Boxing Operations and Public Relations, visited Chase Field in Scottsdale on Thursday and said it brought back a lot of memories.

We were out at the pitcher’s mound where the ring will be set up on Saturday and I got goose bumps, Goodman said. I was there for the last world heavyweight championship staged at a Major League Baseball park back in 1976 when Muhammad Ali met Ken Norton for the third and final time at New York’s Yankee Stadium. The only difference is the site lines and weather will be better here in Phoenix.

The doors to Chase Field will open at 2:30 PM, when the first of nine scheduled matches will begin. The co-featured main events will start at 9 PM ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) and feature undefeated WBA lightweight champion Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz (30-0, 15 KOs), from Houston, taking on Fernando “La Fiera” Angulo (18-3, 11 KOs), from Caracas, Venezuela, immediately followed by Liakhovich vs. Briggs.