News from the Cauliflower Patch:
It happens every year about this time. As the leaves turn color and begin falling off the trees, cluttering up the drainpipes and downspouts, boxing comes alive and fight cards spring up like crysan. . . chrysanthe. . . pansies.
The thinking is that as the holiday season approaches, money and time off become more plentiful, and what could be more festive than attending a show or dialing up pay-per-view?
Besides the usual venues of Lost Wages and Atlantic City, cards will be staged in Phoenix, Tulsa, New York, casinos in Connecticut and Mississippi and the famed Fargodome in Fargo, North Dakota.
The Halloween Show on pay-per-view Oct. 30 is a keeper if you enjoy fighters who possess offense, defense and special teams, in other words, the whole package.
Despite what is said about Pernell Whitaker, Terry Norris, Julio Cesar Chavez, etc., the guy who might be the best pound-for-pound fighter today, Michael Carbajal (29-0), heads the show taking on Domingo Sosa (28-1).
Carbajal is coming off a one-punch (left hook) victory over tough South Korean Kwang-Sun Kim, his eighth successful title (IBF-WBC) defense and figures to have a title unification bout in his immediate future.
Supporting is Oscar De La Hoya (10-0), a bigger but less experienced Carbajal, going against Narcisio Valenzeula (35-12) at 130 pounds and Verno Phillips (21-4) testing Lupe Aquino (45-5) in a super welterweight scrap.
De La Hoya, a star at the 1992 Olympics, best not have too tough a time of it because he's scheduled into a 10-round main event in the Big Apple at the beginning of December.
* The folks at Top Rank sent out a copy of a television spot advertising the Ray Mercer-Jesse Ferguson tiff in Atlantic City Nov. 19 and, after a quick glance, the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board started screaming.
Promoter Bob Arum put the tag "The Final Verdict" on the matchup, a reference to what happened the last time these two met: Mercer reportedly offered Ferguson a bribe to throw the fight, for which he has been indicted.
The athletic board suggested it was better that the matter best be decided in court, not in the ring.
Recall, Mercer was slated into a big-money bout against champion Riddick Bowe, but he was pummeled by journeyman Ferguson, who subsequently got the title shot against Bowe and thoroughly embarrassed himself and the Rock Newman-RFK Stadium promotion.
While on the subject of Bowe, his title defense against Evander Holyfield is only a couple of weeks away (Nov. 6), but stories persist that Riddick still looks as if he could play the lead in a remake of the "Hindenburg."
Ollie Dunlap, for years a Sugar Ray Leonard associate, says he saw Riddick at a supermarket not too long ago and he was "huge. He wasn't doing his shopping with one basket; he needs two. That's a sign of not being a very professional person."
Bowe insists he'll be in at around 240 pounds and, to date at least, he's shown that increasing size hasn't hampered him. Of course, he's still fairly young.
Holyfield, meanwhile, an easy but unimpressive victor in his last bout against Alex Stewart, is promising he won't underrate Bowe this time.
"I was amazed he was still standing and so strong at the end of the last fight. I never dreamed he could last through such a tough fight. I'll use my boxing skills a lot more this time," says the ex-champ.
* Following a week off to give the CBS and the World Series a break in the ratings war, USA will be back with Vinny Pazienza (34-5) taking on Robbie Sims (37-9) next Tuesday.
Paz says he expected his next fight to be a tuneup for a proposed bout against Roberto Duran early next year, but when he heard it was Sims, "I kicked my training into overdrive. Sims is a tough guy and he's been in with everybody."