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Valley Expected to Get Rematch : Boxing: Despite snafus on opening night in Woodland Hills, another fight card planned.

November 04, 1994|MIKE HISERMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WOODLAND HILLS — Did you hear about the woman whose boyfriend visited the restroom Wednesday night during the second bout of a five-fight boxing card at the Warner Center Marriott?

She didn't see him again until Thursday morning.

True story. One of several such stories.

Professional boxing's initial foray into the upscale neighborhood of the West Valley was, by most accounts, a smashing success. With one major hitch:

A last-minute change in the seating configuration inside the hotel's Grand Ballroom resulted in hundreds of angry fans being locked out during the first two bouts of the five-fight card. Some fans held tickets for seats that had been moved or eliminated. Others left their seats to venture out to the lobby for drinks or to stop by the restrooms and were not allowed to return.

By the time order was restored, the fight card was delayed almost 40 minutes, promoter Peter Broudy had issued refunds for about 300 tickets, and organizers were wondering whether boxing-by-chandelier would survive in the San Fernando Valley.

The short answer is, probably.

Bryan Nadley, point man for the hotel's boxing venture, said Thursday that he expects a second show to be set for Nov. 23.

By then, hotel representatives, fire department officials and Broudy will have settled on a permanent seating arrangement.

"It looks like we're going to do it again," said Nadley, who expects to announce a final decision early next week. "The first two fights were chaotic, but after we cleared some people out, the last three fights were fine. The people were into it, it was fun, and, the bottom line for us, the hotel made money.

"Our numbers came out very, very good."

About 6 p.m., two hours before the show's scheduled start, fire officials threw a haymaker at event organizers. Mac Treasure, an L.A. Fire Department inspector, said the venue, as it was, did not meet safety regulations.

After seats were shuffled, capacity was reduced by 140 to 1,204--and some parties were separated.

Most of the inconvenienced fans--even the ones who asked for refunds--attributed the confusion to first-time mistakes. "We're angry right now," said one, an attorney. "But we'd probably try it again next time. If there is a next time."

Otherwise, the show exceeded every expectation. Almost every available seat was filled, and the boxers fulfilled their end of the equation with an action-packed five-bout card that featured a fifth-round knockout, a seventh-round technical knockout and three decisions--including a controversial choice in the feature match between super-welterweights P.J. Goossen and Irish Pat Lawlor.

Goossen, 24, improved his record to 13-0 by winning a split decision over Lawlor, a 30-year-old former contender from San Francisco.

In undercard bouts, Santiago Negro Franco of Torreon, Mexico, won a majority decision over Juan West of Riverside in a welterweight fight; Anthony Johnson of Los Angeles won a unanimous decision over Tony West of Bermuda Dunes in a junior-welterweight bout; Obed Sullivan of Lancaster knocked out Jim Mullen of Simi Valley at 2 minutes 15 seconds of the fifth round in their heavyweight match; and Robert Allen of San Diego stopped 1988 Olympic bronze medalist Chris Sande with a seventh-round technical knockout in a super-middleweight bout.

Notes

Jim Mullen, who dropped like a felled tree after a left to the head by Obed Sullivan in the fifth round, said Thursday that his head was "really sore." However, the 25-year-old former amateur kickboxing champion predicts he will be back in the ring just as soon as the State Athletic Commission allows. "My ego is shot a little bit," Mullen said, "but I'm the kind who when they fall off a horse is going to get right back on." Boxers are prohibited from boxing for 45 days after suffering a knockout.

P.J. Goossen is scheduled to have his right hand examined by doctors today. Pat Goossen, P.J.'s father/trainer/manager, said his son periodically has experienced pain in the hand for six months. Pat Goossen said he would not rule out a rematch against Lawlor for his son's next fight. One condition: "If the money is right."

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