Boxing match has international flavor |

Boxing match has international flavor

Tim Parsons
Rafael Marquez

MontBleu will get a chance to show off Tahoe’s blue sky Saturday when it puts on an outdoor boxing event for an international pay-per-view audience on Showtime.

A crowd as large as 4,000 is expected to fill the facility completed this week for a seven-bout card beginning at 4:30 p.m. The main events will start around 6 p.m.

It will be the first outdoor boxing event at Stateline since July 1991.

“I’ve been here since 1990 and I remember very distinctly how well received the outdoor arena was by the public,” said Paul Reder, the president of entertainment at MontBleu. “Caesars did not want to move outdoors for one reason or another, but (new owner) MontBleu is enthused about bringing outdoor events to Lake Tahoe.”

There also will be a beach volleyball event at the arena Sept. 14-17 to be nationally televised by Fox Television.

A crowd of 5,000 to 7,000 is expected across the street at Harveys for an outdoor concert by Sammy Hagar and the Wabos. Parking could be a challenge all over Stateline on Saturday night, so boxing and rock ‘n’ roll fans are advised to come early.

Scott Magruder of the Nevada Department of Transportation said no extra crews have been asked to be put on duty, but there will be no road construction work in the entire region. On the California side of the state line, patrols will be standing by in case there is a major traffic event, said South Lake Tahoe Police Lt. Martin Hewlett.

This weekend’s boxing card will have two main events featuring brothers Rafael and Juan Manuel Marquez, each of whom will earn $140,000.

In a rematch of their Nov. 5 bout at Caesars Tahoe, Mexico City’s Rafael Marquez (35 wins, 3 loses, 31 wins by knockout) faces South African Silence Mabuza (19-1, 15 KOs) for the IBF bantamweight championship. Mabuza, who will make $50,000 Saturday, suffered his only loss when the referee stopped the fight because of a cut Mabuza said was caused by a Marquez head butt.

“I will fight like a lion to retain my title,” Rafael Marquez said.

In a battle for the WBO interim featherweight title, Juan Manuel Marquez (44-3-1) fights Thailand’s Terdsak Jandarng (24-1, 15 KOs), who will get a $60,000 payday.

Oddsmakers, perhaps anticipating a large number of Latino bettors, have made the Marquez brothers big favorites. Moreover, Rafael Marquez has won all three of his rematches by a knockout and Juan Manuel Marquez has never lost two fights in a row.

The local favorite will be Reno’s Joey Gilbert, who starred on the reality television show “The Contender” and who in his last fight won the North American Boxing Organization middleweight championship.

On Wednesday, Gilbert’s opponent was named: 25-year-old Jason Aaker (8-4, 5 KOs) from Grand Forks, N.D. The eight-round super middleweight bout will be the final contest of the evening, which should ensure most of the crowd will stay for the entire card but also makes it unlikely to be included on the television broadcast.

Gilbert (11-1, 8 KOs) won his title at the 160-pound middleweight limit. He said he is comfortable fighting at 160 to 175 pounds. He expects to be about 167 pounds.

“I am fit and trim and have been working very hard,” said Gilbert, who worked out until 11:30 p.m. Wednesday at Push fitness club. “I want to look the part and make sure the people see that I am in shape and I’m serious.”

Gilbert trained the final two weeks before the fight in a ring in front of the casino. He had several sparring sessions with Sacramento middleweight Jeff Regan, the IBA champion.

Gilbert said he will defend his middleweight crown in October against an opponent to be determined.

A late addition to the card is James Kirkland, an undefeated junior middleweight with an impressive knockout record (14-0, 12 KOs). Kirkland will face journeyman Carl Cockerham (12-11), who early in the week was being considered as the opponent for Gilbert. Dan Birmingham, Gilbert’s trainer, rejected Cockerham, whose last fight was stopped after he head-butted his opponent. Cockerman, a former UNLV football player, reportedly is still not adverse to tackling his opposition.

There is a slight chance of thunder showers on Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service.

The card is a “rain-or-shine event,” said Reder.

Tickets range from $40 to $200 and can be purchased at the gate.

After the beach volleyball competition, the bleachers will be taken down for the winter.

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