3 More Rounds

There’s something about boxing at the Stub Hub Center

Photo: Esther Lin / Showtime

Photo: Esther Lin / Showtime

This weekend the venue known recently as the Home Depot Center, and as of last year by the name of the Stub Hub Center, pumped out yet another gem of a fight from its 8,000 seat open-air tennis court in Carson, California.

This is without a doubt the premier locale for Southern California boxing and the place where well, the ‘magic happens’.

The tennis court with a square canvas in the middle and ropes strung around it even spawned a piece by veteran fight scribe Kevin Iole, who penned down his top ten fights that have taken place at the venue.  Of the ten, this writer had the privilege to cover seven of the fights listed for 3MR.

Of those ten fights, four were named ‘Fight of the Year’ by various media outlets, and if the Lucas Matthysse/John Molina thriller earlier this year holds up and wins the honor, it would make it five FOTY fights in the last seven years to take place in the tennis court.

Even this weekend’s clash between Robert Guerrero and Yoshihiro Kamegai became a fringe contender for FOTY honors for 2014 as the two waged a 12 round war in the middle of the ring.

The Stub Hub Center is simply a perfect venue for the sport, sporting sunny and breezy California weather, and when the sun goes down, the air cools and the scent of a green medical plant spots the air.

No fight fan in the joint has a bad seat with the outdoor, Roman style seating, and I have yet to recall going to the SHC and NOT seeing at least one fight break out in the seats.

Kudos to Showtime for addressing the commotion in the stands during the main event; this wasn’t your typical boxing fight in the stands; this one spread across seats and even had a Bowe-Golota riot feel to it as SHC security were outnumbered by the fight fans throwing their fists.

It seems as though even fighters and celebrities know how special the place is, as you can see many stars of the sport, as well as in the entertainment biz in the crowd.  This weekend in attendance were the aforementioned Broner, Josesito Lopez, Leo Santa Cruz, trainer Robert Garcia, Alfredo Angulo, Shawn Porter, Gennady Golovkin and Sergio Mora, as well as celebrity Regina Hall of ‘Scary Movie’ fame and ‘Saved By the Bell’ alum Mario Lopez, who sat next to Oscar De La Hoya.

Mora gave an impromptu introduction of himself to an exiting GGG during the main event, perhaps in effort to lure GGG into a fight.  The moment was caught by reporter Elie Seckbach of ‘reporting!’ fame:

At the March 1, 2008 Fight of the Year featuring Israel Vasquez and Rafael Marquez, ‘Rocky; himself, Sylvester Stallone, sat ringside next to a star and lifelong boxing fan who can simply go by one name: Jack.

Yep, once again, there is something about the Stub Hub Center…

BEWARE THE ‘CULERO

If you are a SHC regular, then you’ve heard the chants bestowed by the crowd of ‘culero! culero!’ as certain fighters, and even some celebrities, make their way into the venue. Following his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Victor Ortiz entered the night during a SHC fight card and received the merciless chant.

Last year Andre Berto went nose to nose with Jesus Soto Karass to the delight of the crowd and was ‘culero’d’, and this past Saturday controversial boxer Adrien Broner was the recipient of the derogatory chant.

(Culero means “asshole” in Spanish)

GOLDEN RANK PROMOTIONS

Vasyl Lomachenko vs Gary Russell JrIt was kind of odd to see both Top Rank Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions PR personnel walking around the venue at various times during the day and into the night, promoting their fighters and even in the same ring together following the Vasyl Lomachenko/Gary Russell Jr. fight.

These are the people you see in the background, taking care of media, shuffling in various celebrities and boxers into their seats and taking notes directly from the fighters in the ring following bouts.

During a break in the action, I leaned over to fellow fight scribe Igor Frank and told him it would be great to see Oscar De La Hoya (GBP) and Bob ARUM (TR) take a seat next to each other ringside for a fight. Reports were that Arum was to undergo hip surgery in New York and would not attend the fight.

However, with the ‘Cold War’ thawing between the two companies, we may soon see this ultimate show of solidarity between the two fight promoters.

Perhaps we will. Perhaps we will.

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