Traditional fight mecca growing again
Los Angeles has been the site of many outstanding boxing attractions for more than 100 years, including well more than 100 championship fights. The May 18, 1956 middleweight title match between Sugar Ray Robinson and Carl "Bobo" Olson ranked no. 90 on the Sports Council's list of all-time greatest moments compiled in 1995 and Oscar de la Hoya's 1994 WBO junior lightweight triumph vs. Jimmi Bredahl at the refurbished Grand Olympic Auditorium was no. 97.
Heavyweight championship fights have been held in Los Angeles since 1906, when 24-year-old Tommy Burns won the title over Marvin Hart in 20 rounds on February 23. Burns then held his first three title defenses in L.A. over the next 15 months.
The next heavyweight title fight in the area came on April 17, 1939 when Joe Louis defeated Jack Roper in one round on his "Bum of the Month" tour, the last for 19 years. Floyd Patterson was featured in the sixth L.A.-area heavyweight title fight on August 18, 1958, when he KO'd Roy Harris in 13 rounds.
Although only a North American Boxing Federation title fight, the March 31, 1973 match between Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton held at The Forum was one of the most memorable in Los Angeles history. Norton won an upset, 12-round decision and found out after the fight that he had broken Ali's jaw in the seventh round.
The Grand Olympic Auditorium was the site for the boxing competition for the 1932 Olympic Games, while the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena was the site of the 1984 Olympic matches. The proposed USC Events Center was put forward as the site for the Los Angeles bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Regular cards are booked at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim; the Grand Olympic Auditorium, promoted by de la Hoya's Golden Boy Productions; and the Irvine Marriott's Battle in the Ballroom, also promoted by Golden Boy.
High-profile cards have also been held at Staples Center, including "Sugar" Shane Mosley's 12-round, split decision WBC welterweight title fight over de la Hoya on June 17, 2000 and Roy Jones, Jr.'s unanimous, 12-round decision over Julio Gonzales on July 28, 2001 to win the IBF/WBA/WBC light-heavyweight titles. Staples Center will host the Lennox Lewis-Kirk Johnson heavyweight non-title fight on June 21.