Only a few years ago, the Maryland area was in need of a boxing promoter. Now, it has no fewer than four fight cards scheduled across the state in the next three weeks.
The swinging begins at La Fontaine Bleu in Glen Burnie o Thursday night, with Josh Hall promoting a dinner-boxing card featuring welterweights Victor Davis and Sam Gervin.
Adrian Davis, Victor's father who doubles as his trainer an manager, also will get his first taste at promoting when he joins Washington businessman Kenny Wills in showcasing his unbeaten lightweight, Shamba Mitchell (20-0, 11 knockouts), against Ken Austin of New York on Jan. 16 at La Fontaine Bleu in Lanham.
Then it is Don Elbaum's turn to hold his monthly program at th Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza in Rockville on Jan. 21. Light heavyweights Phil Gilberti of Hagerstown and Dean Moore of North Carolina headline the card.
Stuart Satosky will close the busy month of boxing at Painter Mill Theater on Jan. 24 with 1988 Olympic light heavyweight champion Andrew Maynard of Laurel meeting Robert Curry of West Virginia in one 10-rounder and undefeated welterweight William Galliwango of Richmond, Va., meeting Mark Buchanan, of Norfolk, Va., in the co-feature.
Victor Davis, 24, has been the busiest fighter in the state, tryin to reclaim his top-10 world ranking by the International Boxing Federation that he gained by knocking out Vincent Pettway last April, but then lost by being defeated soundly by left-hander Darryl Lattimore.
More recently, Davis (22-8-1) beat journeymen Edwin Curet an Nick Parker. Parker had a 15-21-1 record. Gervin, Davis' opponent Thursday night, is only 16-37 as a pro, but has a reputation of being a stubborn, hard-to-catch opponent.
Adrian Davis won't apologize for the quality of his son's
"I'm just trying to keep Victor busy, figuring he can only improv by fighting," Adrian said. "The trouble with Victor is that he can look like a champion one night in beating Pettway, and then lose every round to a Lattimore.
"Victor is like a basketball player who has a real bad first quarte but winds up winning the game with a hot shooting streak in the last quarter. He's always blowing hot and cold.
"Even though he beat Curet, I thought Victor did a lot o amateurish things, walking right into punches. That's why we're spending a lot of time watching fight tapes, especially of Muhammad Ali. I've got to get Victor to improve his defense."
Adrian Davis is hoping to hear from Dan Duva of Main Events
Promotions or Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc. concerning a possible title match this spring against WBA champion Aaron Davis or WBC king Maurice Blocker.
"A guy like Aaron Davis might think Victor is easy pickings,"
Adrian Davis said. "But when people take him for granted, that's when he surprises them and fights like a tiger."
In the meantime, Adrian Davis is entertaining an offer to matcVictor against Eddie Van Kirk at the Baltimore Arena on March 4 for the Maryland 147-pound title. Elbaum is promoting the match.
"I don't see Van Kirk as any kind of a problem for Victor," Adriasaid. "He's strictly a street fighter. He's tough, but very limited in his ring skills. Even on an off-day, Victor should stop him."
Italian stallion: Francesco Damiani of Italy, who puts his Worl Boxing Organization heavyweight belt on the line against Ray Mercer at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., on Friday night, is not impressed by Mercer's gold medal from the 1988 Olympics.
"It's the right match at the right time for me," said Damiani. "It wil be a tough fight, but I know Mercer is not out of my league. If I can beat him with the whole world watching, it will be the key that finally opens the door to the big time for me."
More boxer than puncher despite 25 knockouts in 28 pro bouts Damiani never sets out to destroy his opponent.
"I climb into the ring to demonstrate that my style is cleaner an more efficient," he said, sounding like a window salesman.
Damiani, 32, who lost a close decision to Tyrell Biggs in the 198 Olympic super-heavyweight finals, was once in line to fight former heavyweight Mike Tyson. Tyson's ex-manager, Bill Cayton, envisioned them meeting in a 100,000-seat soccer stadium, but the bout never materialized.
"Damiani would have made $2 million and Tyson $12 million, said Cayton, who lost a power struggle with Don King to control Tyson.
King seemed ready to match Tyson with Damiani for the title tw years ago, but reportedly offered the latter only $500,000, a purse that was rejected by Damiani's representative, Umberto Branchini.
Damiani's earnings barely surpass $1 million, but a victory ove Mercer would guarantee seven-figure fights.