ST. LOUIS-While this town has a rich and colorful boxing history, it?s been awhile since The Lou last hosted a truly big-time card, and even longer ? like forever ? since it hosted a world title fight tripleheader, so perhaps a few hiccups were to be expected at Friday?s weigh-in at Kiener Plaza.
With a scale stationed in the shadow of the Gateway Arch and the historic old courthouse where the Dred Scott decision was handed down, Peter Vaccaro, the St. Louis announcer emceeing the proceedings, introduced Devon Alexander?s opponent Andriy Kotelnik as ?the evil Ukrainian.? Don King introduced the Hon. Lewis Reed as ?the President of the Board of Aldermens.? And Ryan Coyne, the xx year-old St. Louis cruiserweight fighting on the undercard, removed his shirt to reveal a tattoo that reads ?Vini, Vidi, Vici? (sic), which the best we can tell means ?I drank a bunch of wine, I saw, I conquered.?
Alexander, defending his WBC and IBF junior welterweight titles in his hometown for the first time, weighed in at 138 ?, while Kotelnik scaled 139 ?. IBF light-heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud was a half-pound under the divisional limit at 174 ?, with 41 year-old Jamaican-born challenger Glen Johnson 173.
The participants in the other title bout on Saturday night?s card at the Scottrade Center, IBF junior middle champion Cory Spinks and his Emanuel Steward-trained opponent Cornelus Bundrage, both weighed 153 ?.
Coyne weighed 192 ? for his undercard bout against Kentuckian Warren Browning, 198 ?.
Other weights: Vardan Gasparyan (Armenia) 150 ?, Jesse Davis (Savannah, Tenn.) 150; Ramzan Adaev (Russia) 142, Chris Tyler (St. Louis) 140 ?. Mexican lightweight Jorge Espinosa weighed 131. His substitute opponent Ryan Pederson was en route from Kansas City and will be allowed to weigh in on Saturday.
ST. LOUIS-The ?leak,? if you can call it that, originated with Don King himself, who in Friday morning?s wee hours sent out word (?to friend and foe alike??) that Floyd Mayweather, Evander Hoyfield and Mike Tyson were en route to St. Louis and would be at ringside as his special guests for Saturday night?s ?Gateway to Greatness? title fight tripleheader at the Scottrade Center.
The inclusion of Mayweather on the guest list, coming as it did just days after Manny Pacquiao?s promoter Bob Arum had said that King replacing Golden Boy?s Richard Schaefer at the negotiating table could salvage a Pacquio-Mayweather mega-fight that otherwise appears doomed.
?King is the most persuasive guy I?ve ever met,? Arum told the Los Angeles Times. ?With enough time, he?ll get this kid to come over. Don?s no fool. He knows how to make a fight.?
While King did not discourage such talk, there is no indication that Money?s presence in St. Louis would make a Pacquiao fight any closer.
The dual presence of Holyfield and Tyson is sure to fuel talk of a third bout between the two, although that is a notion so far-fetched that King himself was constrained to throw cold water on the suggestion a few weeks ago.
On the other hand, it would signify a further thaw in the relationship between King and Tyson, who described the promoter as ?a wretched slimy reptilian motherfucker? in James Tobak?s ?Tyson? film last year. Since the movie?s release there has been a rapproachment of sorts, and last October Tyson worked the online telecast team (along with Col. Bob Sheridan), calling the Joseph Akbeko-Yonnhy Perez undercard for DonKing.com.
If the timing of the leak has nothing to do with Pacquiao-Mayweather or Holyfield-Tyson III, then, what was it all about?
The cynic might suggest a last-minute run on the Scottrade box office.