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STYLE & CULTURE

L.A. knockouts

A few fight fans buck the regional trend and go glam for a big-ticket bout at Staples.

June 23, 2003|Mimi Avins | Times Staff Writer

Live, from Los Angeles, it's Saturday night! It's no ordinary evening out when a heavyweight championship bout between Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko is the main event at Staples Center. An important fight provides an excuse to bring out the bling-bling and put on the dog -- at least that's the word from Las Vegas, where the crowd at a hot-ticket boxing match is usually packed with hip-hoppers laden with baubles and scantily clad women who would be flattered to be thought of as escapees from a Dolce & Gabbana runway.

Most of the Staples Center crowd, alas, didn't get the memo. They just threw on T-shirts and jeans, the sort of sloppy weekend garb they'd wear to a midseason Laker game.

Men who didn't look as if they'd found their outfits at the top of the laundry bag relied on business casual looks. "Curb Your Enthusiasm" creator and star Larry David arrived in an oversized brown suede jacket, loose green khakis and sneakers.

Todd Burkouras of Newport Beach was conspicuous in the lucky zebra-print shirt he's worn to every Lennox Lewis fight since 1994. "All over the world, people dress up for the fights," he said, looking around at men in Dockers. "This is L.A. People are laid-back, I guess."

But a round of applause for the exceptions, please. A number of men and women who obviously spent some time in front of a full-length mirror before leaving the house chose white suits. Some were relaxed and baggy. More tapered models brought to mind John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever."

The number of fat, gold chains surrounding size 20 necks was a further clue that the '70s never died. Or perhaps "The Sopranos" has become a fashion guide.

Women acknowledged date night in towering stilettos, paired with tight, low-cut trousers and halter tops or minidresses that advertised, "Next stop -- a club!" Cropped satin cargo pants, worn with snug tops and low-heeled mules, defined casual elegance.

Kevin Fuller, a marketing consultant from Carson with a shaved head, was conspicuous in a blue crepe six-button suit that he bought at the Carson Mall with matching mock croc oxfords and belt. "I dress up specially for the fights," he said.

If more fans did the same, an amusing round of people-watching could lift the spirits when the entertainment ends after six rounds.

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