Unbeaten heavies square off in Shobox co-feature


Unbeaten heavies square off in Shobox co-feature

NEW YORK (April 17, 2007) ? Mike Marrone (17-0, 13 KOs) will face Malachy Farrell (15-0, 12 KOs) in an eight-round battle of unbeaten, hard-hitting heavyweights on Friday, April 20, on ?ShoBox: The Next Generation? live on SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast) from Bally?s Atlantic City.


In the main event that evening, the World Boxing Organization?s (WBO) top two contenders in the junior welterweight division, Kendall Holt (21-1, 12 KOs) and Mike Arnaoutis (17-1-1, nine KOs), clash in a WBO 140-pound title elimination bout. The 12-round fight is one of the most significant fights for both contenders and arguably the most meaningful and compelling match-up in the six-year history of ?ShoBox.?


?I am always ready to step up and take a big fight,? Marrone, of Vero Beach, Fla., said. ?This is a great opportunity to fight on national television and prove to the world that I have what it takes to be a champion.? 


If dedication was a true measure of a boxer?s ability, Marrone already would be a world champion. Considered by many to be ?a gym rat,? Marrone has been a near-permanent fixture at the renowned House of Champions gym in Vero Beach, Fla., since 1994.


 Back then, he was an eager, nine-year-old begging the legendary Lou Duva for a chance to help prepare former world champs Pernell Whitaker, Evander Holyfield and Vernon Forrest for their bouts.


Now, the same Hall of Fame manager that Marrone had to plead with just to help count punches during sparring sessions is preparing him for the most important fight of his life. 


?This is the kind of kid that a manager falls in love with,? Duva said.  ?I am thrilled that we are going to fight Farrell on ?ShoBox.? Farrell is fighting a good, tough kid.? 


            That type of sponsorship means a lot coming from the respected and revered Duva, who has large plans for his young protégé. 


            ?Mike is a star on the rise,? Duva said.  ?He is still just 21 and hasn?t matured yet.  Mike has what it takes to become a champion, and he is looking to prove it on April 20.?


According to Duva, Marrone?s heart and determination are second to none. The six-foot-three-inch boxer spends countless hours each day training, swimming and lifting weights.


?When you see the movie, ?Rocky,? watch how he gets treated, and how it feels to be champion of the world, it is pretty inspirational,? Marrone said who goes by the nickname ?The Italian Stallion?.  ?That has always been a driving force for me.? 


While Marrone gets his inspiration from watching movies and old boxing footage, Farrell?s drive to succeed has a much different, more personal root.


?I dedicate my entire career to my little brother, who passed away from cancer,? Farrell, 27, of Chicago, said.  ?He is my inspiration.  He used to lead me out to the ring with the Irish flag. He loved it. It got him up and gave him something to look forward to. 


?My brother is one of the main reasons that I am still able to do this. I have based my life around that kid, his philosophy and his perseverance.?


Though Farrell and Marrone have faced decent opposition, they both realize this will be their most dangerous assignment to date.


?Farrell is going to be a tough opponent so we?ll see how I attack him,? Marrone said.  ?My style depends on how the other person comes at me, what they do to me.  That is how I determine which way I am going to move and what I am going to do.? 


Said the six-foot-four-inch Farrell: ?If Marrone has Lou Duva behind him, then I am sure he is a smart, intelligent fighter who knows how to use his height. I think it will be a good fight.? 


Like Marrone, Farrell is also a diligent worker between fights.  He, too, understands the need to put in time and hard work if he is to reach the pinnacle of the sport.


?I spar with an array of different-type fighters,? Farrell said. ?The amateur kids give me different looks, and they are a lot faster than the pros. Young energized guys in the ring always help.? 


            Marrone, on the other hand, even spends his free time in the gym. 


?My job is perfect,? said Marrone, who works with younger fighters in the gym. ?It keeps me in a boxing atmosphere the whole time.?


For Marrone, a self-proclaimed boxing historian, watching old tapes and growing up at the House of Champions has shaped him as a boxer and a competitor. 


?I would watch guys like Holyfield and Whitaker and I try to take from their personalities the characteristics that helped make them champions,? Marrone said.  ?Getting to work with these guys as a child and interact with them, then to actually see them fight on TV was an amazing experience for me. It really drives me to succeed.? 


Spoken like a true Gym Rat.


Tickets are priced at $75 and $50, and are available at the Bally?s box office or Ticketmaster at (800) 736-1420 or Bally's Park Place at (609) 340-2000.


Blow-by-blow announcer Nick Charles will call the action from ringside with expert analyst and boxing historian Steve Farhood at his side. The executive producer of ?ShoBox? is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing.


For information on ?ShoBox: The New Generation? and SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts, including complete fighter bios, records, related stories and more, please go the SHOWTIME website at http://www.sho.com/boxing.


About ShoBox: The New Generation

Since its inception in July 2001, the critically-acclaimed SHOWTIME boxing series, ?ShoBox: The New Generation? has featured young talent matched tough. The ?ShoBox? philosophy is to televise exciting, crowd-pleasing and competitive matches while providing a proving ground for willing prospects determined to fight for a world title.  The growing list of fighters who have appeared on ShoBox and advanced to garner world titles includes Leonard Dorin, Scott Harrison, Juan Diaz, Jeff Lacy, Ricky Hatton, Joan Guzman, Juan Urango, David Diaz (interim) and Robert Guerrero.