Now, if only card can live up to billing


With any luck, the fights will be as good as the news conference to announce them.

Promoter Don Elbaum was in the process of letting the world know about a boxing show planned for the Arena March 4 when Eddie Van Kirk, one of the participants, casually mentioned what he thought might happen in another bout on the card.

Besides Van Kirk taking on Victor Davis for the state welterweight title over 12 rounds, Vincent Pettway is scheduled in a 10-rounder against New Yorker Kato Wilson. "Wouldn't surprise me if Wilson knocked Pettway out," Eddie said none too innocently.

Pandemonium. Instantly, manager-trainer Mack Lewis, a total gentleman, was up defending his man Pettway. He was steamed. Pettway grabbed the microphone. "Pettway vs. Van Kirk could have happened a long time ago. I signed the contract; he never would."

The Davis camp, feeling left out of things, pointed out that its man had starched Pettway in a momentous fight last year and was "upset" to be fighting for the Maryland title instead of a world title.

Van Kirk smirked, "I'll take Davis whether he fights hard or takes it easy."

Pettway intoned, "I'm pulling for Davis. But no matter how it turns tTC out, I'm looking to fight the winner to get the title, which should be mine anyway."

Davis said, "First, I'll get Van Kirk out of the way and see where we go from there."

Meanwhile, the managers were getting demonstrative, the TV cameras were grinding away and there stood Elbaum with a grin from ear to ear. Could it be that he had scripted the show? Naw.

The promoter started out by saying that the show "would signal a return to big-time boxing in Baltimore," but promoters have been saying that for years around here. Unfortunately, rare has it been that local fighters had the staying power to turn on the masses.

Oh, Sugar Ray Leonard did it here and at the Capital Centre. But everyone knew he was just passing through.

With Van Kirk, famed for the number of friends and family he draws, Davis, who has a healthy following in the Washington area, and Pettway, still a craftsman despite a few disappointing losses lately, there's a good chance this show and the follow-up will do brisk business.

Elbaum is confident to the point where he's almost ready to promise the big shed on Baltimore Street will play host to "three or four major shows over the next 10 or 12 months."

In addition to the headliners, some interesting, uh, sideshows are lined up for the preliminaries. For instance:

There's David Izegwire of Washington, of whom Elbaum says, "His father's the chief of police of Lagos, Nigeria. He's one of the hottest designers in the world and he dresses like you wouldn't believe. He's a great story."

There's Lou Benson, the "thirtysomething plus" fighting sheriff who's attempting a ring comeback after five years. It's best local fight aficionados forget Lou's last attempt at a return to the ring wars a few years back.

There's the professional debut of "Irish" Carson McCourry, who lacks amateur experience save for "busting heads in Baltimore bars," according to co-promoter LKB Productions.

Seven fights are scheduled, beginning at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are going for $25, $30, $40 and, for golden ringside, $60.

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