Sugar adds spice as promoter

Jan 21, 2003 12:26 AM
It¡¦s as if the sport of boxing is saying ¡§Come on in, the water is fine.¡¨ Sugar Ray Leonard, six-time World Champion, visited Las Vegas last week in his new role as boxing promoter. Leonard visited Sam¡¦s Town to promote his Feb. 7 card that will be televised nationally on ESPN2. The main event features a 10-round bout between top-rated welterweights Omar Weis (35-4-3, 16 KO) of Los Angeles and Emanuel Augustus (27-19-5, 14 KO) of Miami. Weis beat Hector Camacho Jr. last year and lost a controversial decision to former world champion Zab Judah. Augustus (formerly Emanuel Burton) scored his biggest career win with an eighth-round knockout of Wilfredo Vilches, ranked No. 4 by the IBF. ¡§I am thrilled to be coming back to Las Vegas to bring an evening of exciting, entertaining and competitive fights to Sam¡¦s Town,¡¨ Leonard said at the press conference in the Virginia City Room. Leonard¡¦s return to Vegas coincides with Caesars Palace once again becoming a player in the sport. Caesars is hyping its Feb. 15 bout between undefeated IBF bantamweight champ Tim Austin and No. 1 contender Rafael Marquez at the Pavilion. Las Vegas Sports Consultants has not yet posted odds on either bout. *** Tyson sighting: Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, a Las Vegas resident, was seen riding around town last week. Tyson is a -600 favorite for his Feb. 22 bout in Memphis with Clifford Etienne. Promoters hope that Tyson¡¦s second fight at the Pyramid turns out much better than his last one did against Lennox Lewis. Tapia fights back: Johnny Tapia was upgraded last week from critical to fair condition prior to being released from the University Medical Center in Vegas. Tapia, who recently lost to Marco Antonio Barrera, was treated for head trauma that left him unconscious. His dramatic recovery is great news for a sport that doesn¡¦t have enough class guys.