News from the Cauliflower Patch: Ron Essett, the super middleweight fighting out of Baltimore, scored a TKO victory over Jimmy Shavers in Madrid in his last outing and is readying for a tuneup bout against Sylvester White in Paris next month.
Essett (25-3) is top ranked by the WBC and gets a mandatory shot at the organization's 168-pound title against the winner of the Mauro Galvano (champion) and Juan Carlos Jimenez title go May 1 in Italy.
* Former heavyweight champ Ken Norton says George Foreman is going to beat Evander Holyfield April 19 for the simple reason, "George punches harder than anyone in boxing. Holyfield's smaller and he's going to drop when hit."
Jorge Paez, the highly entertaining lightweight (now) who shows up in the ring with various messages shaved on the back of his head, will be on the Holyfield-Foreman undercard. He will take on Lupe Suarez before Tommy Morrison gets a chance to beat on Yuri Vaulin, one of those Soviet imports, for 10 rounds . . . The night before the biggie, Bruce Seldon (17-0) and Oliver McCall (15-4) are scheduled to get it on at the Taj Mahal . . . The afternoon after, Riddick Bowe (22-0) takes on former champion Tony Tubbs (30-2) in a scrap that will be seen on ABC.
* The gent Tommy Hearns (48-3-1) challenges for the WBA light-heavyweight crown June 3 has to be the most active, least known champion fighting today. Almost unnoticed, Virgil Hill (30-0) won his title more than three years ago and he hasn't really been extended in 10 defenses since. The oddsmakers know, making him an early 4-to-1 favorite.
* Rick Kulis, the man who knows more about pay-per-view and closed-circuit fights than anyone, has this to say about monthly PPV shows on the tube: "You can't just put anything on pay-per-view. That's the fallacy that exists today. The monthly shows proposed by both TVKO and King Vision-SET will not sell without a marquee value fighter. It's a proven fact that two-tenths of 1 percent of the 16 million addressable PPV homes are hard-core boxing fans who will buy any fight available. But in order for a fight to make money you have to attract the general sports fan. This fan provides the 1 to 3 percent buy rate that makes the event money."
* A big, gala dinner in Philadelphia April 14 will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the "Fight of the Century," Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier I, with the participants being honored for their athletic and humanitarian achievements. Jim Brown will be the guest speaker.
* Promoter Stu Satosky sends along word that due to the recent fire at Painters Mill he has suspended operations until the fall, probably at the Arena.
* The self admission of drug and alcohol abuse by Sugar Ray Leonard between 1983 and 1986 was contained in testimony in supposedly sealed court documents. Which begs the question, what exactly does sealed mean?
* Several Baltimore fighters, including Donnie Parker, taking on Kelvin Daly in the main event, will be on the card scheduled for the Bethesda Hyatt Hotel Saturday night. Johnny Keys, Mike Padeletti and Carson McCourry also will see action.
* Mirage Hotel owner Steve Wynn reportedly requested 3,000 tickets for his gambling clientele for the recent Mike Tyson-Razor Ruddock bout and was turned down cold by his co-promoter of the show, Don King. Should make for a fine working relationship when the two bombers do it again June 28 in Las Vegas.
* The top boxing quote uttered during March came from Razor Ruddock: "I'm from Jamaica, mon. There are guys down there who can scare the paint off a house."
* Fight cards are ready to go at the La Fontaine Bleu restaurant in Lanham with unbeaten Sharmba Mitchell (22-0) topping the first show April 10 against Darryl McGue (18-9). In another 10-rounder, Sonny Speed (18-0) tests Kevin Marston (19-3) . . . Andrew Maynard (15-1) makes his next start April 20 when he takes on Governor Chavers (9-0-1) in Lake Tahoe, Nev.
* The latest platoon of fighters readying for induction into the boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y., includes Tony Zale, Dick Tiger, Floyd Patterson, Sonny Liston, Beau Jack, Marcel Cerdan, Rocky Graziano and Gene Fullmer.
* Mike McCallum, who looked sloppy in his last bout on TV, is obviously still struggling. He retained his WBA middleweight title in Monte Carlo the other night by split decision over Patrizio Kalembay . . . Believe it or not, Matthew Saad Muhammad is still fighting, the former 175-pound champ dropping a decision to Ed Mack a while back . . . The top drawing heavyweight fight of all time was the Jack Dempsey-Gene Tunney bout in Philadelphia in 1926: 120,757. The "Long Count" return in Chicago the next year did 104,943.
* Larry Holmes makes his return to the ring Saturday night in Hollywood, Fla., taking on the redoubtable Tim Anderson. Like they say in the Army, some guys just never get the word.