There was good news and bad news yesterday for Baltimore's two best fighters -- welterweight Vincent Pettway and junior welterweight Chuckie Sturm.
Sturm received the good news. The popular club fighter will get his first national television exposure when he meets Vinnie Burghese of Philadelphia at Harrah's Marina in Atlantic City, N.J., Nov. 5. The 10-round bout will be telecast by SportsChannel.
But Pettway appears to have lost out on a possible television rematch with Victor Davis of Washington.
"We're ready," said Sturm's trainer-manager, Frank Gilbert, who has matched his fighter carefully as Sturm has built a 22-2-1 record since turning pro in 1985. "The only thing I don't like about this match is that Chuckie hasn't been more active the past year."
Sturm, who has fought as a lightweight, underwent surgery on his left elbow after a truck accident last February. He bounced back to win several fights, including a fifth-round knockout of Darryl Richardson in Washington two months ago.
"Surprisingly, the surgery has made Chuckie a better puncher with the left hand," said Gilbert, "but he knocked Richardson out with a right hook to the belly."
Burghese (20-2-1) has faced better competition. His only two losses were knockouts last year by former International Boxing Federation lightweight champion Vinnie Pazienza and Johnny Rafuse. He has a victory over Baltimore junior welterweight Eddie Van Kirk.
vTC The bad news came for Pettway, who was eyeing a rematch Nov. 13 on USA cable network with Davis.
The two engaged in a non-stop battle last April, with Davis winning after Pettway suffered a deep gash over his left eye and the ring physician stopped it after the ninth round.
At the time, Davis was slightly ahead on the three judges' cards. The loss knocked Pettway out of the IBF world rankings.
USA labeled it the "fight of the year" and had hoped to close out its boxing schedule with the rematch. But Davis' father-manager, Adrian Davis, balked when his son was offered $7,500 by promoter Frank Gelb.
"If this was the network's best fight, Victor deserves more than a $1,000 raise from the first fight. I'd say the same for Pettway," said Adrian Davis. "If they raise the offer to $10,000, we'll fight Pettway tomorrow. And this time, Victor will knock him out
Pettway's manager-trainer, Mack Lewis, took a different view.
"Victor is actually afraid of Pettway," Lewis said. "He's running for the hills. If he's so sure he can beat us, the money shouldn't be that important."
Both Pettway and Davis have alternative plans. Philadelphia promoter Russell Peltz is considering matching Pettway (30-3, 24 knockouts) against Javier Suazo of Las Vegas on Nov. 13. Painters Mill Theatre in Owings Mills is a possible site, and Stuart Satosky would be co-promoter.
L Suazo knocked out Pettway in the eighth round in April 1988.
Davis has been offered a possible over-the-weight, non-title match against IBF welterweight champion Simon Brown at the Starplex Armory in Washington on Nov. 27.
A major stumbling block is Brown's contract hassle with his manager, Al Balbion, and his promoter, Don Elbaum. If the dispute is settled, Elbaum hopes to match Brown against Roberto Duran, who held titles in three weight classes.