Professional boxing goes to college on Sept. 23, when local promoter Stuart Satosky will stage a show at UMBC Fieldhouse to be televised by ESPN.
This is the first live fight card in memory to be held at a Baltimore-area college. Fittingly, it will feature unbeaten middleweight Dana Rosenblatt (21-0) of Malden, Mass., an honor student at Bunker Hill Community College. Four of Rosenblatt's knockouts were recorded in Baltimore.
Satosky is seeking an attractive opponent, with former title contender Tyrone Trice a possible choice.
Already booked is a 10-round heavyweight bout pitting Virginia slugger Jason Waller and Maurice Wilson of Washington, who recently fought a draw with former World Boxing Organization champion Ray Mercer.
The undercard will feature an eight-rounder matching Baltimore junior welterweight Ed Griffin (7-0) and Lyndon Paul Walker of Norfolk, Va.
For Satosky, who has been running profit-making club shows the past two years at the more intimate Martin's West catering hall in Woodlawn, the ESPN show presents more of a financial risk.
He paid $30,000 to buy the television rights from Top Rank Inc., headed by Bob Arum. Top Rank, in turn, pays for the fighters' purses.
Satosky's revenue will be generated strictly from gate receipts and concession sales.
"I see this as a real test for Baltimore," he said. "If we can't do well with a TV fight and Dana Rosenblatt on top, then professional boxing won't work here.
"We're competing against the gambling casinos. All these new casinos on the Mississippi coast are trying to get instant credibility. They can take a loss and make it up on the tables. That's why grass-roots guys like myself are having a hard time negotiating to get TV fights."
Martin's West, because of its low ceiling, was found unsuitable by cable technicians.
Satosky sought an alternate site and found UMBC Fieldhouse to be a perfect fit.
"It's a cozy place, with some 4,500 seats in the place, most of them elevated with excellent sight lines," he said. "We'll have 1,800 reserved at $35 and the rest general admission [$25]."