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BOXING / MIKE HISERMAN : Bad Night May Lead to a Good Show for Coetzee

August 17, 1995|MIKE HISERMAN

Good news, bad news for Gerrie Coetzee.

The good news: A crowd estimated at 800 last week nearly filled the Warner Center Marriott's Grand Ballroom to watch a six-bout card promoted by Coetzee's organization, Top Ring.

The bad news: There were that many witnesses when Coetzee's great light heavyweight hope, Gary Ballard, was stopped by Roman Santos of Lancaster.

Ballard had only one loss in 20 previous professional fights and was being groomed for a big payday and perhaps a world title fight against Virgil Hill.

So much for the best-laid plans.

Santos rebounded from a first-round knockdown to overwhelm Ballard with a furious combination in the ninth.

Goodby title shot. Goodby payday.

And goodby trainer Jackie McCoy, who was Ballard's tutor since the former South African amateur champion moved to the United States early last year.

Phil Paolina will supervise Ballard's next fight, whenever that might be.

Coetzee, who has invested heavily in Ballard, was despondent after the loss.

But it appears the former world heavyweight champion has resigned himself to rolling with the punches.

Coetzee planned to have Ballard fight for the Penta-Continental title headlining the Marriott's September show.

Instead, he has turned his attention to a potential match between Santos and North American Boxing Organization champion Asluden Umarov of Russia.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

*

Arizona Charlie's Casino in Las Vegas on Tuesday was host to a card that five or six years ago would have been better suited for the Country Club in Reseda.

It featured Michael Nunn, former star of the defunct Ten Goose Boxing Club, fighting on the same show as a Goossen--in this case, P.J., the California junior middleweight champion.

In his third fight since being reunited with trainer Joe Goossen, Nunn won his super middleweight bout by stopping Cecil McKenzie of San Jose at 2:07 of the fourth round.

Nunn improved his record to 46-3 with his 30th knockout. He won the first three rounds easily and prompted referee Toby Gibson to stop the fight by connecting with a flurry of jabs after staggering McKenzie with a sharp right to the head.

On the undercard, P.J. Goossen, who is trained by his father, Pat, won a unanimous decision over Leroy Owens of Las Vegas in a 10-round bout.

Goossen, who had been out of action for four months because of a hand injury, improved to 15-0, although he at times didn't look very sharp.

"The guy flew around the ring like Peter Pan," Pat Goossen said of Owens. "He's a survivor. But running like he did made P.J. look clumsy at times. It threw his rhythm off."

P.J. was fighting on a Top Rank show for the first time since his uncle, Dan, was hired as vice president by Bob Arum early last year. P.J. does not have a contract with Top Rank, but Pat said the two sides have talked informally.

"Arum wasn't even at the show," Pat said. "He was out of town."

But Dan? "Dan was there," Pat said. "Dan is interested."

Pat said his son might box again on a Top Rank card in Palm Springs in October. In the meantime, he plans to talk to Coetzee about appearing in the September show at the Marriott.

*

Carlos Palomino of Van Nuys, former world welterweight champion, recently was reappointed to a second three-year term on the State Athletic Commission by Governor Pete Wilson.

Palomino, who has been in attendance for the past two Marriott shows, held his title from June, 1976 to January, 1979, during an era prior to the fragmentation caused by the current plethora of boxing organizations.

Palomino successfully defended his belt seven times and finished with a record of 29-3 with three draws.

*

First came Robert Garcia, then Fernando Vargas. And now another young product from the La Colonia Boxing Club of Oxnard is making waves.

His name is Mario Aguiniga, who this week in Cincinnati is bidding to become a three-time national Junior Golden Gloves champion.

Aguiniga, soon to be a freshman at Channel Islands High, is 14 years old and weighs 85 pounds. Already he is a two-time Junior Olympics gold medalist and a two-time national Silver Gloves champion.

Joe Salas, a 14-year-old fighting in the 132-pound weight class, also is representing La Colonia at the Junior Golden Gloves competition. Both boxers are trained by Eduardo Garcia, who also tutors his son, Robert, the North American Boxing Federation junior lightweight champion, and Vargas, who is top ranked among U.S. amateur junior welterweights.

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