The stars are coming out Friday night for the “Homecoming” Pro-Am boxing show, co-promoted by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc., and Guilty Boxing, at the New Haven Athletic Center. World Boxing Council Youth middleweight champion “Bad” Chad Dawson (16-0, 11 KOs, 1 NC), rated No. 14 by the WBC, defends his title against Efrain Garcia (17-4-1, 11 KOs), of Texas, in the 10-round main event.
Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Paz, Marlon “Magic Man” Starling and “Irish” Micky Ward will become the first inductees into the CES Ring of Honor. CES president Burchfield will conduct official induction ceremonies during intermission of the “Homecoming.”
“We’ve turned this into a party for New Haven,” Burchfield said. “Not only are we promoting a world-class show, but it’s going to be like a Who’s Who of boxing with some of the best fighters of yesterday, today and tomorrow in attendance. Plus there will be other celebrities.”
Paz (50-10, 30 KOs) retired last year after winning his 50th pro fight. His 21-year career was highlighted by five world titles, including the WBA light middleweight and IBF lightweight crowns, as well as his courageous return from a broken neck suffered in a car injury. Paz defeated legendary Roberto Duran twice and he won two of three against Greg Haugen in their celebrated trilogy. Vinny also defeated the likes of Harry Arroyo, Gilbert Dele, Lloyd Honeyghan, and Dana Rosenblatt.
Starling, the pride of Hartford (CT), fought from 1979 to 1990, and he registered a 45-6-1 (27 KOs) record. Marlon captured the WBA & WBC welterweight titles and beat Floyd Mayweather, Sr. twice, Mark Breland, Simon Brown, and Honeyghan,
Ward (38-13) capped his 18-year career (1985-2003) with his memorable trilogy against Arturo Gatti. Micky was involved in three “Fights of the Year,’ awarded by The Ring magazine – 2001 (WDEC10 against Emanuel Burton), 2002 (WDEC10 against Gatti) and 2003 (LDEC10 to Gatti). Ward captured the WBU light welterweight belt with an upset of previously unbeaten Shea Neary and he also defeated Reggie Green and Alfonso Sanchez.
The Contenders reality series will be well represented by participant Peter Manfredo, Jr., NABO junior middleweight champion, Frank Stallone and Jackie Kallen. Stallone is part of the CN8, The Comcast Network announcing team along with Paz and Ed Berliner, host of Sports Pulse. Kallen, whose life story was made into a movie last year (‘Against The Ropes’ starring Meg Ryan as Kallen), is involved with The Contenders and she also manages two-time Everlast Under-19 champion, Manchester featherweight Matt “Sharp Shooter” Remillard, who is making his pro debut in a four-round bout versus Arlington Pandy (0-1), of Brooklyn (NY);
“Homecoming” will be taped live and air on “Guilty Fight Night” (check television listings) and CN8, The Comcast Network. Guilty Productions, along with its parent company, Guilty Boxing, annually provides a minimum of 48 episodes of “Guilty Fight Night” shown now in more than 100-million households worldwide via America One and The Urban Network in the U.S., Fox Sports International in the Middle East and portions of Africa, BEN Television in Great Britain and Ireland, and other cable outlets. On CN8, The Comcast Network will broadcast “Homecoming” on Saturday, April 9 at 7:00 PM/ET to 6.4 million homes from Maine to Maryland. CN8’s coverage of “Homecoming” will also be available on Comcast Digital Cable’s ‘ON DEMAND” service and online at www.cn8.tv
Also scheduled to fight on the card is Providence’s unbeaten super middleweight Joey “KO Kid” Spina (14-0, 11 KOs), now fighting out of Las Vegas, in the eight-round co-feature against former four-time Muay Thai champ Manu Ntoh (15-9-1, 9 KOs). Four-time U.S. National amateur champion, undefeated cruiserweight Matt Godfrey (6-0, 4 KOs), faces Tony De La Garza (4-1-1, 1 KO) a six-round match.
Also slated to fight in separate four-round bouts are 2004 U.S. Olympian, heavyweight Jason “Big Six” Estrada (1-0), of Providence, against Jerry Lee Simpson (1-1-1), of Tallahassee (FL); Irish super middleweight Joe “Sugar” Rea (3-0, 2 KO, 1 NC), now fighting out of South Boston, making his CES debut versus Cory Phelps (2-0, 1 KO), of Kentucky. All matches and fighters are subject to change.
Guilty boxing announcers include former welterweight champion and International Boxing Hall of Fame member Carlos Palomino, former five-time world featherweight champion Manuel Medina and ex-NFL kicker Benny Ricardo. Former world light heavyweight champion Eddie Mustafa Muhammad will be working Spina’s corner, while ex-world heavyweight title-holder Tony “TNT” Tubbs trains Simpson.
Also lending their support are NABC, IBU & NABF super middleweight champion and the WBC No. 1 rated contender Scott “The Sandman” Pemberton, former IBU lightweight title-holder Gary “Tiger” Balletto, former world light welterweight champ Jaime “Hurricane” Clampitt, former USBA & NABF lightweight champion Pito Cardona, of Hartford, undefeated Irish middleweight John Duddy (9-0, 9 KOs), and light heavyweight prospect “Lighting” Les Ralston (14-1).
Several amateur matches are slated, one featuring New Haven’s Ring One 65-pound National Silver Mittens champion Tramaine Williams, the 12-year-old affectionately known as the “Mighty Midget,” along with New Haven’s 10-year-old Georgie Nacierio, USA rated No. 4, and New London’s Ricky Ledesma.
Doors open at 6 pm, first bout at 7 pm. Tickets are priced at $100 (Platinum), limited $60 (Gold), $40 (Silver Reserved), $25 (General Admission) and $15 (Students). Tickets may be purchased at the New Haven Athletic Center box office the night of the fight, or by calling CES’ corporate headquarters (401.724.2253/2254) or its Connecticut office (860.432.4253).
For additional information visit CES’ web site at www.cesboxing.com