Caesars to host title bouts |

Caesars to host title bouts

Showtime and Tribune reports

Reno’s loss is Stateline’s gain.

Raul Marquez was scheduled to defend his International Boxing Federation bantamweight title against Silence Mabuza last Saturday on “The Lights Out in Reno” boxing show.

But Marquez (34-3, 30 KOs) of Mexico City became ill and the 118-pound bout has been switched to the Nov. 6 show at Caesars Tahoe.

Mabuza (18-0-0, 15 KOs) has taken little time to climb the ranks to No. 1 IBF contender. The Johannesburg, South Africa native will be making his third appearance in the United States.

“I feel very good about my chances against Marquez,” Mabuza said. “This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me.”

Headlining the Stateline show is unbeaten Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy, the IBF and International Boxing Organization super middleweight champion.

Marquez will bring a 13-fight winning streak, including 10 by knockout, into the title bout. His three defeats have been by knockout.

Lacy (20-0, 16 knockouts) of St. Petersburg, Fla., will trade punches with No. 5 IBF contender Scott “The Sandman” Pemberton (29-3-1, 24 KOs) on the Showtime Championship Boxing card. In his short time as a champion, Lacy has become a crowd favorite because of his willingness to mix it up.

“I go into every fight with the same mindset and that is to put on a good show and, most importantly, to win,” Lacy said. “For me, it’s all about winning.”

Lacy was in line to fight undefeated Joe Calzaghe in a 168-pound title unification bout, but Calzaghe broke his hand in his last fight on Sept. 10.

Naturally, it would be an ideal time for a letdown.

“I am concentrating on Pemberton and nobody else,” Lacy said. “This is going to be a great fight. There is no way I will underestimate him, or anybody who wants what I have.

“He is a really good fighter. We both fought Omar Sheika. He stopped him; I did not. The fans are going to be treated to a tremendous action fight.”

Pemberton of Fair Haven, Mass., will be making his first appearance in a world title bout, even though he does own the International Boxing Union and North American Boxing Federation 168-pound titles.

“I welcome a fight with Lacy,” Pemberton said. “He is a warrior and I am a warrior. I personally do not think Lacy has fought anyone that can hit as hard as I can.”

Pemberton captured the IBU crown on March 21, 2003 and the NABF belt with a 12-round split decision over Sheika on July 25, 2004.

Although Pemberton and Lacy are about to fight each other for the first official time, they have been in a ring together before.

“I sparred with Lacy in Big Bear a few years ago,” Pemberton said. “He is a great fighter and a dynamite guy. I like him, but that will not affect the fight. You can be friends, but when you step into the ring, it’s all business.”

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