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ALLAN MALAMUD

Notes on a Scorecard

March 29, 1995|ALLAN MALAMUD

Open the doors to a state-of-the-art arena in Orange County and they shall come. . . .

The Mighty Ducks sold out their last 25 games at The Pond of Anaheim last season and have sold all 17,174 tickets for each of 12 games so far this season, despite their last-place standing in the NHL Pacific Division. . . .

The Clippers, who have the worst record in the NBA, have averaged 17,699 in five regular-season games at the Pond. . . .

Concerts have drawn as many as 18,500. . . .

Now enter the sweet science. . . .

The box office has been boffo for the first boxing show at the Pond, a quadrupleheader Friday night that will feature three world title bouts. . . .

At last count, 8,500 tickets had been sold. The projection is for 12,000 fans and a $400,000 gate. The promoter is Forum Boxing, whose largest crowd at the Forum since 1982 was 10,300. . . .

*

The little big man on the program is 5-fooot-1, 108-pound Humberto (Chiquita) Gonzalez, who will defend his World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation light- flyweight titles against Jesus Zuniga in the main event. . . .

Of the 67 champions in 17 weight divisions, Gonzalez is the only one recognized by more than one of boxing's alphabet groups. . . .

He is best known for his three-bout series with Michael Carbajal. . . .

Gonzalez was knocked out in the seventh round of the first Carbajal fight, one of the greatest I've ever seen, and won decisions in the rematches that were something less than scintillating. . . .

"I did what I had to in order to beat Carbajal twice," Gonzalez said. "I boxed. I used my brain. That was the right style. I promise you that I will be more exciting in Anaheim." . . .

He will be paid $250,000 Friday and has invested the earnings from 16 world title bouts wisely enough to contemplate retirement by the end of the year. . . .

He got the nickname "Chiquita" not because of his dimensions, but from the name of the small butcher shop that his father owned. . . .

He is in the meat business himself now and also has built a banquet hall in his hometown of Ciudad Neza, a suburb of Mexico City. . . .

The first event in the hall will be a joint birthday party next Monday night--the ninth for daughter Nancy and a belated 29th for Chiquita, who was unable to celebrate last Wednesday because he was training in Los Angeles. . . .

The godfathers of Nancy and her brothers, Humberto Jr., 6, and Alberto, 3, are Mexican boxing idols Julio Cesar Chavez, Pipino Cuevas and the late Gilberto Roman. . . .

"Chavez is still the country's most popular fighter," said Gonzalez's adviser, Rafael Mendoza. "But Chiquita is getting closer all the time." . . .

Further evidence will be the crowd count Friday at the Anaheim mint. . . .

*

A cinch sellout at the Pond next Dec. 9 will be the second John R. Wooden Classic, matching UCLA against Maryland and Purdue against Villanova. . . .

New Raider Coach Mike White is saying all the right things. . . .

I especially like his plan to give Rocket Ismail more work. . . .

How could the Philadelphia Eagles release their leading rusher from last year, Herschel Walker? Maybe it's because Walker gained only 528 yards, an average of 33 a game. . . .

Mara Hunter, USC assistant athletic director and a member of the athletic department for 19 years, has left the school to pursue an advanced degree in family and marriage counseling. . . .

A prominent fund raiser at USC, Hunter was a member of the L.A. Olympic Organizing Committee in 1984 and the host committee for the 1992 Women's Final Four at the Sports Arena. . . .

The youngest trainer at Santa Anita, Casey Maslonka, 21, has won with four of his 13 starters during the meeting. . . .

Broken Bow, Okla., the hometown of Oklahoma State guard Randy Rutherford, should not be confused with Broken Arrow, Okla., the off-season home of Dodger Coach Bill Russell. . . .

Consider yourself a replacement baseball fanatic if you remember the name of the Dodger pitcher who was given the opening-day assignment.

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