The Olympic Auditorium is scheduled to resume its briefly forgotten tradition of weekly boxing April 18 when Don Georgino opens the doors again, proving that promoters, if not fools, will indeed walk in where angels fear to tread.
Georgino, no fool, has signed a three-year agreement with Olympic leaseholders and hopes to restore the facility to its former once-a-week routine.
Since longtime promoter Aileen Eaton left the Olympic more than five years ago, the once-proud facility has become a hit-or-miss proposition, with first twice-monthly, then monthly and then who-knows-when shows. There was no consistency, and even the most loyal fight fans never knew when to show up.
But Georgino, nephew of manager Bennie Georgino, believes that all the Olympic needs to return to its former greatness is consistency. So he has jumped in, with the three-year commitment, to develop that old-time consistency.
"We have to go back to the way it was," he said. "We have to go every week and build up local talent and Mexican talent."
Georgino, who owns three Realty World franchises, is no rookie at promoting. He was involved in the late Salvador Sanchez promotions and also dabbled in shows at San Bernardino. But he admits this will be different, and hard.
One thing he has done, however, to make sure his talent doesn't get plucked after he has invested in the fighters' development is sign them to five-year promotional agreements. That's something former promoters never did, thus losing their big stars to the big promoters.
"My fighters won't be going with the guy with all the hair after they get rated," Georgino said, referring to a certain internationally known promoter.
His first show will be headlined by Oscar Bejines, whose brother Kiko was fatally injured at the Olympic two years ago. Bejines, who had retired after his brother's death, has since fought twice, losing both times. Still another Bejines, David, the youngest brother, may also launch a comeback at the Olympic, pending a solution to a contract problem.
The next Thursday show after that will feature Masaton Cabrera, sort of a Mexican folk hero. Cabrera, said to be anywhere from 35 to 41 years old, is a light-heavyweight with a bad leg and, according to Georgino, "the biggest, ugliest face you've ever seen."
The bad leg prevents Cabrera from backpedaling, and when he throws his right hand, his right leg gets thrown, too. Now that should be something to see.
Boxing Notes The night after the Olympic's show, the Forum will present its twice-postponed title card. This time, Azumah Nelson, who caused both previous postponements because of fatigue and then appendicitis, won't be around to jeopardize the April 19 date. Featured, as before, will be Julio Cesar Chavez, making the first defense of his World Boxing Council super-featherweight title, against Ruben Castillo. The other title fight has WBC super-bantamweight champion Juan (Kid) Meza making his first defense against Mike Ayala. Featherweight Marcos Villasana, a local favorite who had been scheduled to fight Nelson for Nelson's WBC belt, will be employed in a bout with Juan Antonio Lopez. Former bantamweight champion Lupe Pintor, thought to be retired after his loss to Adrian Arreola, will come back to fight Torito Morgan.
Three nights later, April 22, the Forum will hold its Stroh's tournament. The light-heavyweight division will conclude with Grover Robinson and J.B. Williamson fighting, and the featherweight division will begin. . . . The same night, Bert Lee of Anaheim will be headlining the Irvine Marriott show, fighting Tim Harris of Sacramento. Promoter Don Fraser reports that the show is already 70% sold out. . . . Tuesday night, Richie Sandoval of Pomona will fight Frankie Duarte of Venice in Sacramento. Sandoval's World Boxing Assn. bantamweight title, however, will not be on the line. Sandoval's next title defense will probably be against top-ranked Gaby Canizales this summer.
The undercard for the April 15 Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns middleweight title fight in Las Vegas will include light-heavyweight Ricky Womack, a finalist in the Olympic boxoffs, against David Vedder. Willie deWit, Canada's Olympic heavyweight, in his fourth pro bout, will box Alex Williamson, and Cubanito Perez will move up to junior-welterweight to fight Pat Jefferson.
Tony Tubbs, who will go after Greg Page's WBA heavyweight title at Buffalo, April 29, is training in Los Angeles at the Hoover Street Gym. Cary Medill, Tubbs' manager, said that another of his clients, 7-foot Tom Payne, who got stretched at the Forum, is still trying the fight game and has won two in a row up north. Medill added, however, that Payne may be making more money in acting than in boxing. He'll appear in a TV pilot next year, on a show produced by the makers of "A-Team." Payne will play the bad guy.