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Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith: Battle of Brisbane, Louie Espinoza, Future of the Stars

Boxing Fans, The July 2 ?Battle of Brisbane? pitting 38 year old WBO world welterweight champion Manny ?Pac-Man? Pacquiao (59-6-38 knockouts) and Australian challenger Jeff ?The Hornet? Horn (16-0-1-12 knockouts)is on after preliminary negotiations took a detour and flirted with Amir Khan as a potential alternate foe. Top Rank CEO and Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum announced he favored a fight with Horn in Australia and a news story printed in The Courier?Mail on January 4 broke - telling readers that the Horn/Pacquiao bout was on and would take place in Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium. So, the stage was set, or so it seemed.

Then greed set in! Pacquiao financial advisor Michael Koncz complicated matters by suggesting that Pacquiao could get $49 million for fighting Amir Khan in Dubai. The unsubstantiated bid never came to fruition and on April 5, the arduous task of promoting a championship fight began with the official announcement. Jeff Horn and Duco Events could finally breathe a sigh of relief.

Arizona Boxing News & Notes is particularly happy over the final decision to proceed with the Horn vs. Pacquiao Battle of Brisbane because it means a promise was kept. And the Australian Government and Duco Promotions deserve high marks for staying the course and riding the storm until cooler heads and common sense prevailed. Jeff Horn was put through a roller coaster like experience through no fault of his own.

Arizona Boxing News & Notes expects a number of our readers to travel to Brisbane to watch the event; so, please allow us to play the role of travel advisor; and keep in mind, the flight is an estimated 17 ? non-stop and any layover will only add to your flying time. Bring snacks, something to read and ask for a comfortable headrest. If you take your own pillow, you could be charged for extra baggage, just kidding.

ABNN is booked and ready to depart Phoenix on 6/27 and will arrive in Brisbane on June 29 and return home (Phoenix) on July 3, the day after the fight. At the time of my purchase, a round-trip ticket cost $925.00 and that price has increased dramatically since my buy. However, bargains can be had if you scour the internet.

When you arrive in July, the Brisbane temperatures are expected to range from a low of 45 Fahrenheit to a high of 65 Fahrenheit; it might be wise take a light to medium jacket during your stay in the city known as the holiday capital of Australia.

As for pocket money, I exchanged $233.73 to purchase 300 Australian dollars; doesn?t sound bad at all. According to our investigation, the city offers excellent transportation services which include free travel on the City Hopper Ferry that covers a significant stretch of the waterway from Sydney Street in New Farm all the way to North Quay, running on the half hour, seven days a week. Most of the services have rooftop services; excellent opportunity for Kodak moments.

Brisbane (population estimated at 2.3 million) offers a treasure trove of places to see and a lot of them are free such as, free swimming at South Bank, Mt Coot-Tha Botanic Gardens and explore the Sherwood Arboretum to mention just a few of the free sights available; of course, there are tours that require tickets and visitors can ask the desk clerk at your lodging for more details.

There is a myriad of places to stay in Brisbane including hostels, motels and hotels. Our research found prices from $40.00 (hostel) per night to $300.00 per night with a lot of in-between prices for lodging. The key is to make your reservations as early as possible.

As for Australian food treats to taste while visiting down under, tourists might want to stay away from tasting grilled Kangaroo, (doesn?t taste like chicken) and Witchetty Grubs ( does looks like caterpillar worms). You also might skip tasting Emu, a native Australian animal smoked and served cold as a pizza topping. Safe to try is fish and chips, Barbeque Snags, Pavlova, Cherry Ripe, and Vegemite on Toast and crab sticks. To obtain this short list of popular foods in Australia, we hounded a few Australian/Americans until they surrendered the information.

If you go: Tickets for the Horn/Pacquiao fight went on sale April 27 and are available through Ticketed. Promoter Dean Lonergan (Duco Events) told members of the press that there will be 6,000 general admission tickets at $39.00 27,000 seats available for $100.00.

Promoters of the event are hoping to attract 55,000 fans to Suncorp Stadium, far eclipsing the boxing attendance record set in Australia when Azumah Nelson beat Jeff Fenech at Princess Park in Melbourne in 1992 before a crowd of 38,000.

Corporate tickets for the WBO welterweight title fight are priced from $495.00 per head in a corporate box. According to a published report, patrons will receive free travel to and from Suncorp Stadium on Brisbane Transport bus and Queensland Rail Services.

ABNN is waiting for the under-card to be announced and Top Rank will soon be releasing broadcast details for the fight.

Future Stars of Boxing: Several young Phoenix boxers are waiting for this column to tell them the details of the Roy Jones Jr. Invitational ?Future of the Stars? event. Our seven minutes of research led us to learn that Roy Jones Jr. Promotions is one of several sponsors presenting a boxing tournament that will provide a platform for amateur boxers to perform on in the fighting capital of the world, Las Vegas, Nevada. Tell the kids to close the best sighted eye when they walk through the casino, just kidding.

The event will be held at Sam?s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall on Friday June 23 and conclude on Sunday June 25. The tournament is sanctioned by USA Boxing and the sanction holder is Gilberto Martinez/Elite Boxing. Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Invitational is sponsored by: Art of Music, Roy Jones Boxing Promotions, Sam?s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall, Ringside Tournaments and Gil Martinez Elite Boxing Las Vegas. Sam?s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall is located at 5111 Boulder Highway, Las Vegas Nevada 89122.

Ticket prices for spectators are: ($10.00 per day or at bargain rate of $25.00 for three days). Tickets can be purchased at: http// and all taxes and fees will apply. Registration begins on Thursday June 22 and coaches & teams can complete the process by going online: The hotel is offering a special ?Future Stars of Boxing? package that includes room nights starting at $30.00 Sunday-Thursday and $100.00 for Friday & Saturday. Taxes and fees will apply. The offer is valid until June 5. To book: visit Special thanks to RJJ Media specialist Lisa Veltre for emailing tis information. Don?t forget to sign an injury waver and if you need more info; call Gilberto at 700-378-8364. The facility has four rings and all fighters will be accommodated according to Gilberto Martinez.

Louie in the House: I met two time world champion Louie Espinoza for the first time when he attended a special ceremony honoring six time world champion Michael Carbajal during an intermission break of the Iron Boy 38 boxing show at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. It seemed like everybody at the Celebrity recognized Michael Carbajal; but, few fans in the house recognized the first native born Arizona fighter to win a world title; that was on 7/15/1987 when he won the WBA World Super Bantamweight belt. He would win his second world title by capturing the WBC World Featherweight title on 11/11/1989.

Michael and Louie have been friends for years and they try to see each other 2-3 times a year. Louie told me he wishes their visits were more often; but, he has a family and his job as a carpenter keeps him real busy.

Louie was born in Globe, Arizona. His family moved to nearby Winkelman, Arizona where they stayed until moving to Phoenix when he was 10. He did ?okay? at West High and after graduating went to a vocational school where he learned electronics. Ironically, he began working as a carpenter and never really used his knowledge of electronics.

As an amateur boxer he compiled a 41-4 record and decided to focus on a pro career after watching Sugar Ray Leonard fight Roberto Duran in 1980. He recalls watching the bout on a closed circuit screen at the Memorial Coliseum on the Arizona State Fairgrounds and becoming motivated to take up prize fighting as a career.

During an interview conducted with his former trainer Wily Borchert, the aging mentor had the following to say about his former boxing pupil: ??I knew Louie would become a world champion the day when he said he wanted to go pro. Louie is a very strong willed person. When he sets his mind to do something, nothing will stop him. If he did not want to be a world champion, he would not have gone pro. He had the support of the gym, his girlfriend at the time, now his wife and his entire friend??.Wily Borchert 2016. *Wily retired a few years ago and now resides in Tennessee.

Mr. Borchert and Louie had a spat and split up and he was replaced by Danny Carbajal who trained Louie until the end of his career. The issue was over nothing according to Louie and the mentor & former pupil patched things up during a reunion held last year.

The wife referred to is Priscilla, they have been married for 33 years and he affectionately refers to her as his ?ball and chain. In the next breath, he admits that he married a good one of MVP caliber. Together they raised two children: Alexis Ray Espinoza and Angelica who are grown and very successful. And if you?re wondering, his son is named after champion boxers Alexis Arguello and Ray ?Boom-Boom? Mancini.

At one time, Louie was managed by Dave Wolf who also managed Mancini and Dallas Cowboy Footballer Ed ?Too Tall? Jones who used the boxing threat to settle his dispute with team management. The two men (Wolf & Louie) parted waves and the reason given wasn?t really clear; but, when I suggested that the reason for the discomfort between the two men might have been the difference of styles, he bought that rationale. I knew Dave Wolf and the difference was night and day. He was surprised to know that Dave Wolf had passed away several years ago after a long battle with leukemia.

I was surprised he didn?t know what BoxRec was and when I told him that BoxRec had included a picture above the stats of his career, he was once again surprised. The only thing he knows about boxing is to fight and he said he never eased up on the gas pedal when he was in the ring even if he was told to.

I asked him what role boxing plays in his life now and he said he might watch a fight on HBO occasionally; but, that is the extent of his current interest in the sport. He was sorry that he lost his last two fights; but, as he simply put it,? I left everything in the ring. His intense fight with Jorge Paez that ended in a draw was memorable and both men thought they won; Paez won the rematch.

He is quite taken by hunting and loves to hunt with a bow and arrow and has 12 guns: six handguns and six rifles. His bucket list includes a hunting safari in Africa; but, he said he would have to win the lottery before he could afford to go. His biggest kill with a 70 pound test bow is a Javelina and he hopes this year he will be able to bring down a deer or elk. If he sets his might to it, I am sure he will. ABNN would like to thank the two time world champion for taking time out of his private life to talk with us.

Boxing News: Rumors have Phoenix Super Bantamweight Carlos Castro (18-0) taking on Diego De La Hoya in the near future for a world title belt. De La Hoya has to get past Erik Ruiz (16-6-1) in Tucson (Casino Del Sol) on May 18 before he can even consider Castro or a title shot. If that matchup is just a rumor, I would like to propose Castro fight fellow Phoenix bantamweight Alexis Santiago (24-4-1) at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix on June 24, the fixed date for the next Iron Boy Show at the Celebrity?.We hear rumors that Star Boxing plans to approach Canelo after his fight with Chavez and demand their money that they won in a judgment case against the Mexican superstar. 8 million dollars is a lot of cabbage??? Retired referee Richard Steele will present a young Cuban fighter on the next Iron Boy Card, June 24?.Arizona welterweight Abel Ramos expects to fight on June 2 against a TBD opponent at an undetermined venue?.? sorry to hear Phoenix super featherweight Cesar Alan Valenzuela (14-5-1 lost his bout with Carlos Morales in Vegas on 5/5 by split decision, tough loss? Ryan Riddell (2-0) has been added to the FHP show in Mexico as well as young Arizona amateur Zeus Pinder? Andrew Hernandez is also on the card across the border. Phoenix fighter Edgar Brito was stopped by 2016 Olympic medal winner Shakur Stevenson in California recently and it wasn?t pretty. ?. Arizona boxers Alexis Zazuetta, Trevor McCumby and Luis Olivares are still waiting for fights and the three prospects should think about giving their matchmakers or managers a pink slip? McCumby and Zazuetta are managed by Cameron Dunkin and Luis is handled by Tony Gonzales in Miami Florida. .. .. ABNN reader Andy Garcia was at the Alvarez vs. Chavez Jr. weigh-in on Friday 5/5 in Las Vegas and spent a dime or so to tell ABNN that both fighters came in weighing 164 lbs., 4.5 under the catch weight agreed upon. It was printed that if Chavez showed up over the contracted weight, he would have to pay $1 million dollars for each pound over limit. Arizona Boxing News & Notes will watch the May 6 event at the popular sports bar and grill-Twin Peaks on Camelback Road & 22nd Street in Phoenix. A second Twin Peaks is located in Scottsdale. A minimum $20.00 spend per person is required instead of doling out a cover charge then paying food and libations. If the bout lives up to the hype, it will be worth the wait and money. It is perhaps one of the most hyped non championship fights to receive the PPV treatment. As you know by now unless you were in the bushes of the most remote area of Ghana at the time of the announcement, the fight is an HBO PPV presentation and the winner can possibly run successfully for the presidency of Mexico just as Manny Pacquiao has, some would say, boxed his way into the Philippine Senate. The under-card is very strong with David Lemieux vs. Marcos Reyes, Joseph Diaz Jr. vs. Manuel Avila and Emmanuel Taylor vs. Lucas Matthysse ?Enjoy your Cinco de Mayo weekend??Until Next Time!

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Don Smith.

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