WBC Title Fight | A pair of past champions out to rekindle the flame
One comeback will culminate in a world championship and one will likely end when the first title fight in the state since 1988 is held Saturday...
Special to The Seattle Times
TACOMA — One comeback will culminate in a world championship and one will likely end when the first title fight in the state since 1988 is held Saturday at the Emerald Queen Casino.
Vernon Forrest and Carlos Baldomir, a pair of 36-year-old former champions, will meet for the vacant World Boxing Council super welterweight title in a 12-round bout that will be televised live by HBO's Boxing After Dark series.
Both balk at it being called a crossroads fight in their careers, but the winner is sure to get another big pay-per-view payday, perhaps against Oscar De La Hoya, while the loser likely will be irrelevant in a 154-pound weight class full of talent.
Forrest is 38-2 in his professional career with 28 knockouts and both defeats coming against Ricardo Mayorga. He has twice defeated Shane Mosely and comes into the fight with three consecutive victories after taking two years off from the sport. He hasn't fought since last August when he narrowly defeated Ike Quartey.
"I know what he brings to the table, and I'm prepared for a tough fight," Forrest said. "There's a title on the line and somebody's going to win it, and it's going to be me."
Baldomir is 43-10-6 and is coming off a defeat in a title fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in November 2006.
He originally won the title from Zab Judah and successfully defended it against Arturo Gatti.
"I'm coming here to fight, to win a world title and bring it back to Argentina," Baldomir said through an interpreter. "Every time I fight my job is to finish the fight as soon as possible."
Forrest is a boxer-puncher who is being trained by Buddy McGirt. At 6 feet, he is five inches taller than Baldomir, a relentless worker with heavy hands determined to fight inside.
"I have physical advantages as far as height and reach," Forrest said. "But also experience. I've been a champion at every level of boxing from amateurs all the way through the pros."
Even though he admits he's never fought anyone as tall as Forrest, Baldomir is comfortable.
"I had some tall sparring partners practicing getting to my distance," Baldomir said. "I've got to the point where I feel comfortable going in against a bigger fighter. Once I get the distance, all I have to do is do my job and throw some hard shots. That's my style."
Baldomir, who is from Santa Fe, Argentina, and known as the Cinderella Man for his stunning title upset over Judah, suffered most of his defeats early in his career when he would take fights at the last minute. He has lost only once, a unanimous decision to Mayweather, since 1998.
Promoter Brian Halquist said limited tickets are available through Ticketmaster and the Emerald Casino box office, but that all 2,200 seats would be sold.
"I doubt there has ever been a bigger boxing match in state history," Halquist said. "It's going to be something special."
The fight will be shown live on HBO at approximately 7:15 p.m. with Bob Papa, Larry Merchant, Emanuel Stewart and Harold Lederman calling the action.
The six-bout card also features a WBC featherweight elimination bout between Mario Santiago of Ponce, Puerto Rico, 18-0 with 13 KOs, and Hector Velazquez of Tijuana, Mexico, 46-11-2 with 32 KOs. That fight will take place before Baldomir vs. Forrest.
The last title fight in the state was April 11, 1988 when Greg Haugen successfully defended his IBF lightweight title against Miguel Santana.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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