Undisputed at Madison Square Garden January 7th 2006

Official press release.

Don King returns to the Theater at Madison Square Garden to promote a blockbuster card with three world title fights—two of which are for undisputed world championships—on Jan. 7.

Don King Productions has also announced seven great undercard matches featuring five undefeated fighters supporting an already fabulous “Undisputed” event Saturday at the Theater at Madison Square Garden headlined by world welterweight king Zab “Super” Judah, from Brooklyn, making a mandatory defense against World Boxing Council No. 1-ranked contender Carlos “Tata” Baldomir, from Argentina; World Boxing Association and WBC cruiserweight champion Jean-Marc Mormeck opposing International Boxing Federation champion O’Neil “Supernova” Bell to determine the undisputed champion at the 200-pound weight limit; and IBF junior flyweight champion Will “Steel” Grigsby making a mandatory defense of his crown against No. 1-ranked Ulises “Archie Solis, from Mexico. Also on the card are Undefeated No. 1 IBF Cruiserweight Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham, Heavyweight Contender Owen ‘What the Heck’ Beck, Three-Time WBA Middleweight Champion William Joppy, Leading IBF Contender Mark ‘Poison’ Suarez and Undefeated James ‘Spider’ Webb Meet for No. 1 Ranking; Brooklyn’s Undefeated Featherweight Elio ‘The Kid’ Rojas, Undefeated Canadian Heavyweight Knockout Artist Bermane ‘B.Ware’ Stiverne, and Zab Judah’s Undefeated Brother Josiah ‘Gorilla’ Judah Will All Appear

“Zab Judah is the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world no matter what anyone else may want you to believe,” King said, “and he will prove it to any non-believers when he knocks out Carlos Baldomir and then Floyd Mayweather.

“It just makes this event that much more super-sensational to also have the two world champions Mormeck and Bell fighting to determine the undisputed cruiserweight world champion as well.”

Judah feels as though his prayers have been answered to be fighting in New York.

“It means so much to me to again be fighting in my hometown and at The Garden,” Judah said. “I want to celebrate a successful defense of my undisputed world welterweight championship with all my fans in Brooklyn and all of New York. I’m not overlooking or disrespecting my opponent but I have to score a knockout when I’m fighting at home.”

Judah (34-2, 1 NC, 25 KOs), a Brooklyn native, is a three-time world champion who is one of the few gifted boxers possessing the dangerous combination of both speed and power. A two-time world champion at 140 pounds, he became the undisputed 147-pound champion by avenging a 2004 decision loss at the hands of Cory “The Next Generation” Spinks—Judah’s first fight at welterweight—by scoring a ninth-round technical knockout in their rematch on SHOWTIME earlier this year.

Baldomir (41-9-6, 12 KOs), from Santa Fe, Argentina, has fought all over the world but this will mark both his first appearance in New York and his first world championship contest. He hails from the same hometown as the most famous Argentinean boxer in history, International Boxing Hall of Fame middleweight world champion Carlos Monzon. He not only shares the same birthplace with Monzon, but he also uses the same trainer, Amilcar Brusa.

“This is the biggest opportunity of my career,” said Baldomir, who has won five in a row and is unbeaten in his last 19 starts (17-0-2). “I know I’m the challenger and I know I’m fighting the best welterweight in the world but I’m coming to win. That’s why I am training harder and better than I ever have in my life because I know this may be my first, last and only chance to become world champion.

“I will be very determined. I have the heart and the will to defeat Judah.”

The chiseled Mormeck (30-2, 21 KOs), from France, won the WBA cruiserweight crown by stopping Virgil Hill in Marseille, France, on Feb. 23, 2002. He became unified champion by defeating longtime WBC champion Wayne Braithwaite in a showdown in Worcester, Mass., on SHOWTIME April 2 in a dominating 12-round performance. He became the first Frenchman to become unified world champion.

The hard-punching Bell (25-1-1, 23 KOs), born in Jamaica and a longtime resident of Atlanta, has not lost a fight since 1998. He became the No. 1-ranked IBF contender in 2004 and stopped No. 2-ranked contender Ezra Sellers in just two rounds on Sept. 4 of that year, making him the mandatory challenger to then-IBF cruiserweight champion Kelvin “Konkrete” Davis.

Unfortunately for Bell, Davis cancelled their scheduled meeting at the Savvis Center in St. Louis on Feb. 5 and was subsequently stripped of his title. Bell then fought Dale Brown for the vacant IBF title, winning a unanimous decision on May 20, 2005, at the Hard Rock Hotel Casino in Hollywood, Fla.

“I spoke to Jean-Marc in France by phone and told him he can bid adieu to his titles,” Bell said. “Mormeck needs to be ready to face the most devastating fighter in the sport.”

Mormeck was unfazed by Bell’s challenge.

“Bell was mistaken,” the clever Mormeck said. “He must have meant I am the most devastating puncher in boxing. I proved to the world that I am a very special boxer when I defeated Braithwaite. I am very excited for the opportunity to become the undisputed cruiserweight world champion.

Mormeck added special thanks to King for matching him “with his latest victim,” and has said that if he wins the match he would like to discuss with his promoter the possibility of moving up to heavyweight.

The Frenchman also noted with great pleasure that he received many e-mails from American boxing fans after he became unified champion, many of which suggested he should adopt an intimidating nickname. He said he will bring the list to America and decide a moniker before the fight with Bell.

The winner of this bout will be the first undisputed cruiserweight champion since Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield held that distinction in 1988 after he defeated Carlos “Sugar” De Leon.

Both Mormeck and Judah have also been awarded The RING belt signifying the magazine’s belief they are the best boxers in the cruiserweight and welterweight divisions, respectively.

Don King Productions has promoted more than 500 world championship fights and holds the distinction of having promoted seven of the 10 largest pay-per-view events in history, as gauged by total buys, including: Holyfield vs. Tyson II, 1.95 million buys, June 1997; Tyson vs. Holyfield I, 1.6 million buys, November 1996; Tyson vs. McNeeley, 1.58 million buys, August 1995; and Bruno vs. Tyson, 1.4 million buys, March 1996.

Mark “Poison” Suarez (24-2, 12 KOs), from Riverside, Calif., will meet undefeated James “Spider” Webb (18-0, 15 KOs), from Columbia, Tenn., in a scheduled 12-round match for the IBF No. 1 welterweight ranking.

Suarez is already the North American Boxing Organization welterweight champion and has become the IBF’s leading contender. An all-action fighter, Suarez doesn’t mind taking chances while reaching for greatness.

Webb is a Southern gentleman who was a military champion before turning professional. In his last appearance, he earned the right to fight for the No. ranking by scoring a huge upset over highly regarded Jose Celaya.

The best prospect boxing in New York today, undefeated (and Felix Trinidad look-alike) Elio “The Kid” Rojas (14-0, 10 KOs), from Brooklyn, will face Tiger Smalls (17-9-1, 6 KOs), from San Diego, in a featherweight attraction scheduled for eight rounds.

Rojas has displayed precocious skills—tremendous punching power and blazing speed—in an extensive amateur background and in his early professional career. The former Dominican champion is rapidly approaching a world title appearance.

Smalls, approaching eccentric Californian status after recently appearing on the cover of High Times magazine, is tall, rangy, skillful and is a threat to anyone he opposes.

Undefeated, No. 1-ranked IBF cruiserweight Steve “USS” Cunningham (18-0, 9 KOs), from Philadelphia, will take on Lloyd “Jabba” Bryan (21-11, 9 KOs), from Memphis, in an eight-rounder.

Cunningham, an All-Navy boxer while in the military, served notice on the cruiserweight division last year that he is a force to be reckoned with by winning a split decision over the legendarily tough Panamanian boxer Guillermo “El Felino” Jones and scored a lopsided unanimous decision over former IBF cruiserweight champion Kelvin “Konkrete” Davis.

The slick veteran Bryan will attempt to spoil Cunningham’s plan to face the winner of Mormeck vs. Bell, which will take place later in the evening.

Three-time WBA middleweight champion William Joppy (35-4-1, 26 KOs), from Washington, D.C., will attempt to regain his status in the division against Erik “The Hurricane” Howard (11-9-1, 6 KOs), from Crossville, Tenn., in a scheduled eight-round bout.

Owen “What the Heck” Beck (24-2, 18 KOs), from Nashville via Jamaica, will meet fellow heavyweight Darnell Wilson (18-2-3, 15 KOs), from Middleton, Md.

Beck surprised many last year when he wobbled Monte Barrett early in their match but was unable to finish “Two Gunz” and succumbed to his more experienced foe by technical knockout –although he was ahead on one of the judges’ scorecards.

He met Ray “Rainman” Austin in his last appearance and suffered a narrow split-decision loss.

He will face a huge puncher in Wilson, who would love nothing more than to further his career by handing Beck his third loss in a row in a match scheduled for eight rounds.

The best heavyweight prospect in boxing, Bermane “B.Ware” Stiverne (4-0, 4 KOs), from Las Vegas, will make his New York debut against John Turlington (5-7-1, 4 KOs), from Sullivan, Mo., in an attraction set for four rounds.

This will be Stiverne’s coming out party to display his quick hands and devastating power in front of a huge media contingent assembled for the first major boxing event of 2006.

Zab Judah’s brother, Josiah “Gorilla” Judah (4-0, 1 KO) will attempt to keep his record unblemished when he meets super middleweight contender Franklin Armstrong (3-7-3, 2 KOs), from Winston-Salem, N.C.

Don King Productions has promoted more than 500 world championship fights and holds the distinction of having promoted seven of the 10 largest pay-per-view events in history, as gauged by total buys, including: Holyfield vs. Tyson II, 1.95 million buys, June 1997; Tyson vs. Holyfield I, 1.6 million buys, November 1996; Tyson vs. McNeeley, 1.58 million buys, August 1995; and Bruno vs. Tyson, 1.4 million buys, March 1996.

DKP promoted or co-promoted 12 of the top-20 highest-grossing live gates in the history of the state of Nevada including the top five: Holyfield vs. Lewis II, paid attendance: 17,078, gross: $16,860,300 (NOTE: Also highest live-gate gross for any event in the history of the world.), date: Nov. 13, 1999; Holyfield vs. Tyson II, paid attendance: 16,279, gross: $14,277,200, date: June 28, 1997; Holyfield vs. Tyson I, paid attendance: 16,103, gross: $14,150,700, date: Nov. 9, 1996; Tyson vs. McNeeley, paid attendance: 16,113, gross: $13,965,600, date: Aug. 19, 1995; and De La Hoya vs. Trinidad, paid attendance: 11,184, gross: $12,949,500 (Also garnered the most pay-per-view buys for a non-heavyweight fight at 1.4 million.), date: Sept. 18, 1999.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can email Philly Keith at keithfmt3@hotmail.com

Return to www.phillykeith.com for more great sports coverage

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