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Local show has it all at Pier 32

Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, CA) | May 19, 2001
By Jay Heater

There will be professional female models wearing boxing trunks and other apparel, a modern dance troupe from Drake High School-San Anselmo, two kick-boxing exhibitions and a military unit that hums.

Promoter Peter Howes is planning a club sandwich of activities around the boxing matches to take place Tuesday at Pier 32 in San Francisco. His “On the Waterfront” boxing show not only will showcase “Contendahs” but also aims at satisfying the needs of borderline boxing fans. “I am trying to look at the bigger picture,” said Howes, whose previous promotion in San Francisco came at the Longshoreman's Hall in 1997. “I want to provide an entertainment experience that gives people a sense of receiving value and a desire to return.

“My objective is to raise the bar with respect to what people will receive. In doing so, I'll either win their hearts, or I will get the message this is not where I need to go.”

All the other activities shouldn't obscure the fact that boxing fans will get a solid card. Heavyweight contenders Robert Davis (24-1) and Terrence Lewis (29-8) highlight the ESPN2 card, while Stockton junior middleweight Rodney Jones (24-3) meets Tanzania's Rashid Matuhla (22-1-1) in the co-feature. Among the other bouts is a four-rounder featuring San Leandro's Jauquin Gallardo (10-0-1) against Pomona's Salvador Montes (7-5-2). The doors open at 5 p.m. and tickets ($25 through $200) can be purchased by calling 415 392-4400 or at tickets.com.

Howes, who promoted seven of welterweight Paul Nave's fights in San Rafael, said he is looking for “a hero” he can promote in San Francisco on a regular basis. “We need to either develop a local hero or bring one here,” he said. “We need people to have a personal interest.”

TONIGHT'S SHOW: So much for easing talented fighters into the pro game. Main Events is hoping super middleweight Jeff Lacy (2-0 and a former U.S. Olympian), will get a title shot within the next year. Is Lacy worried he will be pushed too hard? “No,” he said. “Everyone sees that I am very calm. I am just going to listen to my management and take it from there.”

Lacy fights Tony Pope (14-7) on the undercard of the tonight’s Showtime card that features super middleweights Antwun Echols (24-4-1) against Charles Brewer (36-7). Also on the undercard is a match between lightweight Francisco Bojado, a former Mexican Olympian who is 4-0 as a pro, and Ernesto Fuentes (9-3-1). Bojado, 18, and Lacy are Main Events' young lions and really are the focus of tonight’s event. “The good Lord put me here to do one thing,” said Bojado, who like Oscar De La Hoya grew up in East Los Angeles. “Hopefully I will get to be one of the greatest like Julio Cesar Chavez.”

PRO SCENE: You’ve got to love promoters. America Presents put out a release chiding heavyweight Vitali Klitschko (29-1 from Kiev, Ukraine) for refusing to fight its fighter, 40-year-old Ray Mercer (28-4-1). HBO had agreed to telecast the bout on July 7 at Coney Island's Keyspan Park. The bout was scheduled to be a co-feature with the Hector Camacho Jr.-Jesse James Leija bout. “Klitschko gives Chicken Kiev' a whole new meaning,” Mercer was quoted as saying in the release. “It seems to me that boxing's Russian Front is in full retreat. He doesn't have the iron curtain to hide behind anymore. I’m on a mission.” It’s hard to picture those words coming out of Mercer's mouth without a little coaching. Main Events is negotiating with Kostya Tszyu, the WBC/WBA junior welterweight champ, to add him to its June 23 Showtime card that also will feature IBF champ Zab Judah. The thought is to showcase them against other opponents, then hold a title unification bout in the fall.