The Harder They Fall Returns to the Doghouse
By Kent Wallace with Cindy “Boom Boom” Podgorski, Dog House Boxing (Sept. 8, 2015)
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“I had a real weird dream last night Boom Boom,” I said, shivering down the last of my shot, she just stared. “I dreamt I was Sunset Thomas and I was writing for Dog House Boxing and there was a ghost in the dream too—some guy named Frankie Gambino—very weird…”
“Well, it’s just you me now,” Cindy said, hiding a smile behind the lip of her glass…
I haven’t published a column for over a year, not since I moved from Vegas to Hollywood but boxing came to my new hometown and in a big way this past September 5th.
The Heavyweight Factory (based in Hollywood) was promoting a mega fight event in conjunction with the Seminole Hard Rock Casino—the card was good, the boxing royalty in attendance was enviable even by Vegas standards! Ed Keenan was the point man for the event, a seasoned pro and go-to guy when you want things to click and he issued our credentials despite a fairly late request on my part.
But see, I had to be at this event. Not only was it a thrill to know that boxing was back (and in a big way) right in my backyard, but some of the cast were figures and friends from my past.
Mike Marrone, who was to fight in the Main Event against the resurging Shannon Briggs was a kid I’d written about in DHB for years. When Reno Ring LLC (of which I was a partner) put on cards in Reno and Tahoe with Duva Boxing, a young Mike was on the undercard of each.
I was even there when he fought on television for the first time at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. But we’d lost contact, Mike and me (he had, in fact, left the sport for some time) and so seeing him back in action and in the main event made my appearance mandatory.
And then there was Lamon Brewster. See, this event at the Hard Rock was not just eight Heavyweight bouts, it also came with a cavalcade of boxing royalty in attendance.
Lennox Lewis, Larry Holmes, both the Klitschko boys, both Spinks brothers, Evander Holyfied, James "Bonecrusher" Smith—the list went on and on. And among that list was Lamon Brewster, a fighter I first wrote about in Puff Daddy’s Notorious magazine back in 1999.
Lamon and I had kept in touch for a while back then and I followed his career to his eventual Heavyweight Championship victory. But we’d lost contact years ago and so I wanted to bridge that gap.
That’s the thing about the Sweet Science that these mixed martial art organizations simply can’t provide—legends and history. The viscosity of the fraternity of fighters is so visceral that goose-bumps are a common side-effect of being in their presence.
So while Cindy and I mingled with in the Court of Champs, it was a chance to honor and reacquaint and bask in the glory of the evening.
And then there was the card… There is no doubt Shannon Briggs is back and a serious contender. He seems to be in the best shape of his life, far from the overweight, party animal of the past. Briggs made short order of Mike Marrone, knocking out the younger fighter with a fierce body shot in the 2nd Round. This night of Heavyweights had its share of KO’s and TKO’s starting with the first two bouts of the evening when Quincey Palmer was stopped in the 3rd by Quadtrine Hill and then Edwin Alvarez continued to a 5-0 record with a first round KO of Steve Teagle.
By the seventh fight (the Co-Main Event) the energy in the packed house was pumping and to Boom Boom Podgorski it was palpable (it didn’t hurt that the ring announcer was now the fabled Michael Buffer).
“You can tell the caliber of boxing has just stepped up in class,” she noted as Joshua Tufte and Jamall Woods began banging. And while she wondered aloud how a guy with an 18-1 record (Tufte) was in with an opponent with a 7-20 record, it didn’t take long to see that Woods was no push-over. The fight went the distance (eight rounds) and a split decision was awarded to Tufte. Boom Boom objected the judge’s decision and went out for a beer.
While in Press Row we had the pleasure of meeting Robert Weneck of Don King Productions. Weneck raved about two King Fighters that are really making names for themselves and South Florida boxing—Trevor Bryan and Amir Iman.
Weneck was equally lavish in his praise of the pugs but also as proud as both Boom Boom and I that there seems to be a concerted effort to bring the fight game back to our shores. Hey, Briggs calls Hollywood his home (as do Cindy and I) and the Hard Rock is a real gem in our sometimes left out of the conversation little burg. So if Don King and/or the HEAVYWEIGHT FACTORY can put us on the map—I’m all for it.
Hollywood is a hip-hamlet of artists and culture with a sweet dash of unrefined charm. Frankly, characters like Shannon Briggs fit right in. I’m hopeful to begin writing my column on a much more regular basis now—South Florida is making a comeback and Boom Boom Podgorski and I are riding the train…