Max, Baldy And Leslie Rise From Fontaine Bleu Canvas


February 24, 1991|By Pat O'Malley

Max is on the rebound while Baldy and Leslie just keep on rolling.

Yes, those are three names from Maryland Showcase Boxing's dinner shows of the recent past. No longer does Brooklyn Park's Max Kisner promote dinner and boxing at La Fontaine Bleu with Baldy More handling the public relations and Leslie Glass brightening up the ring as the ringcard girl.

Instead Josh Hall and Victoria Savaliski of Point Pleasant have been passed the torch of presenting pro boxing to local fans at La Fontaine Bleu in Glen Burnie. They had a successful show back in Januaryand have another planned for March 14.

Max, Baldy and Leslie, three major players in the pro boxing renaissance that began about four years ago, are no longer a part of it locally. The unique trio, each with individual trademarks, are into other things, but have fond memories of those dinner and boxing shows at La Fontaine Bleu.

"Oh yeah, I miss it, but I had to get myself together," said Kisner, whose canceled shows put him in financial straits. "I got knocked out physically, mentally and spiritually."

When Kisner started the dinner and boxing shows, he had some big ideas and at first things went smoothly. But the last year-and-a-half of his ill-fated promoting career was nothing but frustration after frustration.

Kisner let his genuine love of boxing, along with a State Boxing

Commission that doesn't really protect promoters, take him under.

"My goals when I startedwas to promote boxing and develop a new breed of fans, couples, withwomen discovering the sport," said Kisner, who has started a painting company with his brother Brian and the help of close friend and former boxing backer Murph Fraley.

"My mistake was letting my love ofthe sport overrule good business sense."

Out-of-town fighters, who took the money and ran, never showing up after making commitments to box at La Fontaine Bleu, KO'd Kisner. Unfortunately because of thecurrent state boxing regulations, there wasn't much he could do.

"If I ever get back into it again, it would have to be after changes were made at the commission to protect promoters," said Kisner. "The commission needs to license fighters more than a week before a show and hold them liable if they don't show up.

"What we need, and I'vetold the commission this, is a committee of volunteers who know boxing and who could approve fighters coming into Maryland and license them well in advance of a show."

As it is, decisions are made the very day of a show, and sometimes problems arise that result in cancellations and very disappointed fight fans. It almost happened at the last Hall-Savaliski show when a couple of fights were canceled at the last minute. After planning seven to eight bouts they ended up scurrying around at the last minute to fill a four-fight card.

Last fall,the Baltimore metro area was about to have its first nationally televised fight at Painters Mill. But the night of the event, Baltimore promoter Stu Satosky had to scratch it when he learned one of the fighters had been suspended in California.

"That's something that should have been known 30 days before scheduling the show," said Kisner. "It's stuff like that which sets back the sport and makes the life ofa promoter very difficult. That's why a committee, maybe headed up by a knowledgeable state commissioner like Al Flora, could prevent those types of things from happening."

For now though, Kisner doesn'thave those headaches anymore and is concentrating on his Maryland Showcase Painting Co.

"I owe a lot to Murph (Fraley) who helped us get the painting company started and who helped me many times to keep the boxingshows going," said Kisner.

Kisner also is very interested in amateur boxing and always has been. He's hoping Annapolis and Anne Arundel County soon will have a gym to train young amateur fighters and eventually have amateur shows become a reality.

Near the endof the Mayor Dennis Callahan era in Annapolis, an appropriation was made to purchase amateur boxing equipment, but as of yet there is no place to put it. There are no available gyms, but Kisner is optimistic Annapolis housing director Harold Green, a former pro boxer, will make it happen in the near future.

Green, who helped develop a Silver and Platinum Gloves amateur program in upstate New York before coming to Maryland, is very interested in amateur boxing. He has had talks with Kisner and others such as Navy boxing coach Jim McNally and ex-Navy coach Emerson Smith about getting an amateur program off the ground.

Smith, who is an international boxing ambassador from Annapolis, actually trained 25 coaches more than a year ago in hopes of getting them -- and their future students -- into a gym.

"Emerson recently got out of the hospital and is anxious to get going again," said Kisner. "We're all looking for locations and I hope eventually something will be worked out."

In the talking stages at the moment are amateur shows to be conducted in the county with foreign teams suchas the Irish, Ja

maican and even Soviet teams.

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