Kevin Kelley mounting another comeback


Kevin Kelley mounting another comeback

Press Release: Boxing returns to the Las Vegas Hilton with former featherweight champion Kevin Kelley facing Abdul Malik Jabir (11-6) in a lightweight bout and undefeated super middleweight Aaron Pryor Jr. facing Arturo Ortega (12-7-3). Ricco Rodriguez of North Hollywood, Calif., who stopped Randy Couture for the UFC heavyweight championship, and 6-foot-9-inch heavyweight Kaspars Kambala, who played basketball for UNLV, headline the undercard.  The card will take place on July 8, 2008. 

“Boxing has been part of the history of the Las Vegas Hilton,” said Ken Ciancimino, executive vice president.  “We’re delighted to be bringing it back and making it part of the mix of entertainment and special events here.”

This will be the first boxing card at the Las Vegas Hilton in six and one-half years, since February of 2002.

Pryor faces Arturo Ortega of Phoenix in a 10-round bout and Rodriguez meets Emile Whiterock of North Las Vegas in a four-round fight while Kambala takes on an opponent to be determined in another four-round contest.

Other bouts include super welterweight Lottery Smith of Denver against Mario Evangelista of Los Angeles in a four-round fight and a six-round fight between opponents to be determined.

Tickets for the card presented by Sterling Promotions of Las Vegas are on sale at, through Ticketmaster outlets and at the Las Vegas Hilton box office daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Pacific) or by calling 702-732-5755 or 800-222-5361 during those hours.

Kelley, a southpaw who has a record of 59-8-2 with 39 knockouts and has won eight of his past 11 bouts, was scheduled to fight on the Shane Mosley-Zab Judah card May 31.  However, when an injury to Judah caused the cancellation of that card, Kelley became available to fight at the Las Vegas Hilton July 8th.

Kelley faces a stern test when he meets Jabir, who has a record of 11-6 with nine knockouts, but already has fought in nine 12-round title bouts.  Jabir, who trains with ex-WBC featherweight and super featherweight champion Azumah Nelson, is the former African Boxing Union featherweight champ.

The 6-foot-4-inch Pryor Jr., son of former champion Aaron Pryor, has a record of 10-0 with seven knockouts.  Ortega has a mark of 12-7-3 with seven knockouts.

The Las Vegas Hilton has a long and storied history in boxing.  The list of legends and luminaries who have competed at the Las Vegas Hilton starts with Muhammad Ali, who fought there in 1978.
Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes also fought at the Las Vegas Hilton during the 1970s and 1980s. 

The biggest attraction at the Las Vegas Hilton during the 1980s was Mike Tyson, who fought there six times and in 1986 won his first title to become at age 20 the youngest heavyweight champion ever. 

Also fighting at the Las Vegas Hilton was Julio Cesar Chavez during the 1980s and 1990s and Thomas Hearns during the 1980s.

Rodriguez has a record of 1-0 with one knockout after leaving mixed martial arts for boxing.  Whiterock has a record of 0-1.  

Kambala has a record of 2-0-1 with one knockout. 

Smith, who’s making his pro debut, is the second boxer on the card who has a former world champion for a father.  He’s the son of Las Vegan Lonnie Smith, who was the WBC super lightweight titlist.  Evangelista has a record of 1-1 with one knockout.