After Jimmy Lange’s impressive ninth round technical knockout win over Jonathan Reid Saturday night at the Patriot Center, his father and manager, Johnny Lange, said he wants to bring a world title fight to the Patriot Center.
A crowd of about 3,000 on a rainy night showed up to watch Jimmy Lange — the boxing franchise in this town, the local fan favorite from Great Falls, Va. — and an undercard that included District native and former World Boxing Organization junior welterweight world champion DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley win an eight-round unanimous decision over Harrison Cuello.
Johnny Lange said the crowds they have gotten at the Patriot Center for the eight shows they have put on there — some as many as 5,000 fans, a remarkable turnout for what amounts to club fight cards — have convinced him the arena could host a world championship title fight for Jimmy Lange and not go to Atlantic City or Las Vegas, where most title fights take place.
“We would try to get a title fight at the Patriot Center,” Johnny Lange said.
The Patriot Center has proved to be a great site for combat sports events, from the Lange fights to the mixed martial arts shows they have hosted by the Ultimate Warrior Challenge, the local promotion that is putting on a show at the arena on Oct. 3. And when UFC vice president Marc Ratner spoke to me last month in Philadelphia about the likelihood of putting on an UFC event in the Washington area next year, he talked about the Patriot Center being a site they are interested in.
In order to host a title shot, the Langes would have to prove they could bring in a crowd of about 10,000 for such an event. Given the right opponent, the right promotion and the right fight date, I think they could do it.
First Jimmy Lange (31-3-2, 21 knockouts) has to be recognized worthy for a title shot as a super welterweight. He holds some obscure lower level World Boxing Council championship, and is ranked 11th by the North American Boxing Federation. But the goal is the WBC or some other major recognized sanctioning organization’s top title at 154 pounds. At some point, Jimmy Lange needs to be ranked among the top contenders, but his management team believes they are working toward that.
He looked as good as I’ve ever seen him Saturday night against a tough opponent. He looked to be in great shape, coming in a few pounds under the 154 pound weight limit, and had a very sharp jab working and some decent power. He spent way too much time on the ropes and got hit too often, but despite his own tough criticism — “I made a lot of mistakes,” he said — it was a strong showing.
In other action, middleweight Tony Jeter of Columbia, Md. had the knockout of the night when he stopped Keith Gross with a devastating shot at 1:22 of the first round.
All in all, it was a better night for boxing fans than sitting at home and watching another boring heavyweight title fight — this one Vitali Klitschko pummeling the HBO-propped-up heavyweight Cris Arreola. It was a shame that it was coupled with HBO”s showing of Floyd Mayweather’s magnificent win over Juan Marguez last week.
It may not have been an exciting fight, but if you are a fight fan, Mayweather is very entertaining to watch because he is so smart in the ring — and so good. I still believe he handles Manny Pacquiao if and when that fight happens.
I was wrong when I predicted that Mayweather would be lucky to get 500,000 pay-per-view buys. The bout generated one million buys, a very strong showing, particularly going against an UFC pay-per-view the same night, albeit not a strong card. HBO did a great job of promoting the event. If Pacquiao gets by Miguel Cotto in November — which he should — it sets up a massive pay-per-view event between Mayweather and Pacquiao.
Another interesting fight coming up in December is Paul Williams vs. middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik on Dec. 5 in Atlantic City. Both are punchers, so it should be an entertaining bout. Williams was in the audience Saturday night at the Lange show.
Also reported over the weekend was a tentative fight between two senior citizens, Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones, Jr., providing Jones gets past Danny Green in December. This is a rematch of their 1993 bout, at RFK Stadium in Washington, when Jones decisioned Hopkins to capture the International Boxing Federation middleweight championship. It is a rematch that should have taken place a long time ago. I’ve always that Jones has been an overrrated boxer, the Harlem Globetrotters of boxing, always fighting his version of the Washington Generals. And I think Hopkins has a more impressive place in boxing history.
This will be a lot of fun — until they step into the ring. Neither has ever been an exciting fighter, and I expect that bout — if it does happen — to be a snooze fest. But the pre-fight circus will be great.
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For more information about Thom Loverro, go to www.thomloverro.com