Crowned twice in unsuccessful bids, Essett gets another 168-pound title shot

Phil Jackman

March 25, 1992|By Phil Jackman

News from the Cauliflower Patch: Either Ron Essett is the luckiest fighter since Chuck Davey or the super middleweight who used to fight out of this precinct is getting very close to becoming what in boxing is referred to as an "opponent."

Unsuccessful in earlier bids for the WBA and WBC 168-pound titles, the latter coming last summer in Sicily, Essett gets another chance April 25 in London. Chris Eubanks' WBO crown will be at stake this time.

Baltimorean Tommy Rothe manages the Florida fighter and he had pretty well given up after Essett turned in such an uninspired performance against WBC champ Mauro Galvano. "Then Ronny beat a good young fighter named Frank Winterson [50-2] a couple of weeks ago, and things came together when a guy Eubanks was supposed to fight, Juan Carlos Gimenez, hurt his hand," relates Rothe.

* Things are looking up for local fighters, and the good times will continue if they're up to posting wins on Stu Satosky's next show at the Pikesville Armory April 15.

Eddie Van Kirk (24-6) takes on Edwin Curet (26-11) in the main 10-rounder with a shot at the vacant WBO welterweight title a possibility for the winner. It won't be easy for Van Kirk, who showed a very noticeable lack of defense in his last fight, a last-round knockout of Jose Torres.

Curet was off for a year prior to climbing into a ring in Paris last week and losing a 10-round decision to the highly regarded and unbeaten Lodovic Prondo.

Lou Benson (19-7) draws Jason Waller (12-4) in a cruiserweight 10 and, if successful, plans are under way to match the "Fighting Sheriff" against Mo Wilson (10-1) for the Maryland State title at 190 pounds.

The other top bout pits popular Les Johnson (15-1), who has already unloaded 200 tickets on his Rockville fans, going against Tim Knight (13-5) in an eight-rounder. Knight has beaten Mark Buchanan twice and Buchanan's the tough egg who handed Willie Gallawingo his first loss after 14 wins.

There will be seven fights on the card, which begins at 7:30 p.m. (estimated time). Ticket information is available at 528-1932.

* Obviously, some guys just never learn. Carl "The Truth" Williams, once a top-flight heavyweight contender and a guy who still figured prominently in things with the likely absence of -- Mike Tyson, took a bout with Jerry Jones over the weekend. No sweat, he figured, the guy's a blown up cruiserweight. With a right hand.

Washingtonian Jones, who won a decision atop a Josh Hall show in Glen Burnie last month, put Williams down twice with looping right hands and handled him quite nicely over 10 rounds in Atlantic City to capture a unanimous decision. Next up for Jerry, the biggest payday of his career.

* It's hard to recall any fighter fitting the definition of the term "warrior" more totally than Iran Barkley. When he flattened Tommy Hearns four years ago, they called the upset victory a fluke. Last week, he whipped him over the course of 12 rounds as The Hitman's legs are totally gone.

It wasn't too long ago that Iran had 20/400 vision in his left eye. Two operations for a detached retina and further surgery to install a silicone implant after a cataract procedure and Barkley was ready to resume his career. And he's no fancy dan. Win or lose, there's no mistaking Iran's having been in a fight.

* One of the worst things that could happen did happen in St. Louis last weekend: Leon Spinks won. The former heavyweight champ took a decision from a 34-year-old Rick Myers, who at least talked a good game by saying, "I went into the ring expecting to fight a bum. I wound up fighting a man." Before retiring in 1988, Spinks was 1-8-1 in 10 bouts, some of them being contested in rings set up in parking lots outside bars. Leon's 38 and looks every minute of it.

* With all the problems Nevada-Las Vegas has with its reputation, one wonders why the school (with the permission of the basketball team, no doubt) hands over its arena, the Thomas & Mack Center, for the George Foreman-Alex Stewart fight April 11 on HBO.

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