It’s time to see the Minnesota boxing scene grow and change. Time to see someone rise and someone else fall. Time to get behind a local heavyweight hero.
There’s going to be a reorganization in Minnesota boxing at the Target Center on Friday night; either Joey Abell or Raphael Butler is going to come out of this scrap as Minnesota’s main man in the biggest division in boxing. For whichever man wins, this is going to be the biggest win of his career. On the flipside, the conventional wisdom seems to be that for the loser, it’s the end of the road. I don’t happen to think that’s really the case. The loser of this fight will just have another loss on his record, and that’s really nothing new for either man.
No, the real significance of this fight isn’t who comes out the loser, because both men have lost before and will again. In boxing, every man not named Marciano or Calzaghe eventually loses. The real significance is going to be who walks out of Target Center with with the wind at his back.
It’s a little disappointing that there hasn’t been more media talk about this upcoming fight. It seems that the fighters have done their part to promote the show, but where are the TV commercials, the print ads, the radio spots?
There’s been some talk, both publicly and privately, about how Raphael Butler is finally taking his boxing career seriously, finally taking responsibility for his weight and cardiovascular fitness. A public example would be this article from Todd Bechthold at MNboxingleague.com. I can’t give you a private example, for reasons that should be obvious.
Joey Abell isn’t a trash talker by nature – in my experience he doesn’t seem to be much of a talker at all. Butler also seems like a good-natured guy, but he found it in him to make some provocative statements about this fight for the sake of the media. I feel like an old-time yellow journalist when I say that it’s too bad these guys like each other so much, because it would make for better press if they were at each other’s throats!
Mostly forgotten in all the talk about the main event is the fact that Zach Walters has been matched with a pretty good fighter who isn’t washed up. To put it gently, that doesn’t always happen. Although Sharpe is at a significant size disadvantage, it’s worth noting that he is coming off a first-round demolition of Bruce Rumbolz, who beat Shawn Hammack, and who Matt Vanda was unable to put away in eight rounds just last year.
There hasn’t been much talk about it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Tony Lee-Hector Orozco fight is the most entertaining bout of the night. Lee is an excellent fighter with a fine amateur pedigree, and Orozco is a comer who has sprung a surprise before.
Former KSTP sportscaster Robb Leer is the guy who issued my press credentials for this event. Seems he’s gone rogue and started an independent PR firm, Leer Communication & Consultants. I’m sure this isn’t news to newspeople, but it was to me, because I’m just a schlub. Learn more about Leer’s outfit here.