NEW YORK -- The Terry Norris-Vincent Pettway junior middleweight championship fight Feb. 24 promoted by Don King finally has found a home in Richmond, Va.
Why Richmond? Norris, the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation champion, hails from Alpine, Calif., outside San Diego, and Pettway calls Baltimore his home.
King, ever the historian, can explain.
* "This is Black History Month, and the slaves arrived in Jamestown, Va., in 1619 before the Pilgrims."
* "We will be honoring tennis legend Arthur Ashe in his hometown on the third anniversary of his death."
* "Richmond also happens to be my wife Henrietta's hometown, and maybe that should be the first reason," said King, with a deep belly laugh.
Oh yes, the fight. Before the cameras, Norris and Pettway were exceedingly polite to each other. But behind the scenes, Norris and his manager, Joe Sayatovich, landed several stinging jabs against Pettway, the former IBF titleholder.
Looking physically drained, Pettway lost his piece of the 154-pound crown when he was stopped in the 12th round by light-punching Paul Vaden last August. Three months later, Norris pitched a 12-round shutout against Vaden.
"To me, Pettway looked sickly against Vaden," said Norris. "After about the fifth round, he was sitting in his corner and his eyes looked glazed.
"But even if I was sick, I wouldn't let a mediocre fighter like Vaden beat me. No way."
Reminded that Pettway scored a sixth-round knockout of Simon Brown in April 1995, the same Brown who flattened Norris in four rounds in 1993, both fighter and manager had an explanation.
Said Sayatovich, "Pettway caught Brown with a wild hook thrown from left field after he missed a right hand. He won't beat a Terry Norris with a lucky punch."
"Added Norris, "The Brown-Pettway fight didn't show me any boxing technique. It was an old-fashioned brawl, and the guy who landed the last big punch would win. In this case, it was Pettway."
Pettway smiles softly when told of these remarks.
"He's talking like I don't exist," said Pettway. "That's cool with me. A lot of guys get tripped up looking too far down the road. That's what happened when I won the title from [Gianfranco] Rosi."
Actually, Pettway was surprised when the Norris fight developed. He and his veteran manager-trainer, Mack Lewis, had expected to be offered a tune-up before getting another title shot.
"Originally, they scheduled this fight for Feb. 10," said Pettway. "That wouldn't have given me enough time to get sharp. Now I've had six weeks to train."
The Norris-Pettway fight will headline the show at the Richmond Coliseum that will be aired on Fox from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
King also has scheduled a pair of non-title heavyweight bouts featuring former champions Oliver McCall, Tony Tucker and Tommy Morrison. McCall will box unbeaten Oleg Maskaev, of Russia. Tucker is paired against Larry Donald and Morrison will battle Wesley Watson.
Unlike most championship cards, tickets will be priced at $15 to $50.