Caesars had solid outdoor boxing card in 2005
April 21, 2015 3:00 AM
by Mark Mayer
Ten years ago during the week of April 21 we had a boxing event that at the time was as meaningful as the upcoming Mayweather-Pacquiao megafight.
Four fights on one card at Caesars Palace, welcoming the iconic resort back to the sport that helped make it famous worldwide. Sugar Shane Mosley and Antonio Margarito (he of the altered gloves) headlined the card, though not facing each other.
GT and Hall of Fame boxing writer Michael Katz gave a breakdown of the matchups, which consisted of Mosley against David Estrada, Margarito vs. Kermit Citron, Juan Diaz opposing Ebo Elder and the heavyweight tilt between Jameel McCline and Calvin Brock.
Chuck Esposito, the current race and sports book director at Sunset Station, at that time held that position at Caesars. He told GamingToday of that night, “The fact that Caesars Palace and boxing are in the same sentence is something else. Just to be outdoors again brings back memories of Hagler-Hearns.”
I covered the fights and while none of the four stayed in my memory bank, the Caesars Palace experience did. It was my first check mark on the bucket list to see the outdoor venue that was the center of the boxing world before it shifted to the MGM Grand – home for Floyd and Manny.
Of the McCline-Brock matchup, Katz made a comment that still applies 10 years later, “the best bet being to avoid Wladimir Klitschko.”
Wladimir is still hard to track down.
Our “Movers & Shakers” column focused on another boxing icon, Gene Kilroy, the former business manager, longtime friend and confidante to Muhammad Ali. We wrote, “Gene turned the power lunch into an art form.”
Kilroy supplied two numbers – Larry Holmes and Karl Malone. We
called, they answered.
“He never pulled any punches with me,” said Holmes, perhaps boxing’s most undervalued world heavyweight champion. “Gene took care of all that was significant to me. He made my boxing dream come true.”
Malone, the second leading scorer in NBA history behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, explained his first meeting with Kilroy.
“I met him at the Golden Nugget as a rookie with Utah,” Malone recalled. “I was out of money and losing at the tables. Gene took care of me without any hidden agendas. A little bit of him rubbed off on me. His kindness and generosity are unmatched.”
As they are to this day.
Encore: Ten years ago Malone was interested in buying a future NBA franchise and had Las Vegas in mind. “I’ve had very preliminary discussions about Vegas and would love to be a part of that project.”
No NBA team here for now, but with the NHL a strong possibility perhaps interest will kick up again with a new commissioner in power and a 20,000 seat arena in the works.
Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at MarkMayer@GamingToday.com