Boxing: Joe DeGuardia

Update on 'The Hebrew Hammer'

November, 19, 2013
We last chatted with up 'n comer Cletus Seldin, who, by the way, is still the only Cletus I've ever talked to, in March 2012.

I checked back in with the prospect to see how his career has progressed.

"The Hebrew Hammer" is still unbeaten, now at 11-0 with 9 KOs. He fights this Friday, in Huntington, Long Island, against 12-11 Gilbert Venegas on a Joe DeGuardia card topped by a Vinnie Maddalone-Maurenzo Smith heavyweight tussle.

Seldin last gloved up in February; he's been on the shelf since he tore his rotator cuff and labrum in his right shoulder and had surgery in April. "But I'm back to where I was, which is pretty damn good," he told me. Seldin said the shoulder bothered him for more than 10 years and he just never got it attended to.

The welterweight said he's eager to make up ground for the lost time. "I definitely want to be more active," he said. "I want a minimum of like six fights in a year."

In the near future, the Shirley, L.I., resident wants a TV slot because he thinks his style is extrememly television friendly. "By next year, I want to be on TV once or twice," he said. "I think once I'm on, people will like my style. I always bring it."

Like all area boxers, the fate of Magomed Abdusalamov has been on Seldin's mind. The heavyweight, felled by a blood clot, is currently in an induced coma following his Nov. 2 bout against Mike Perez in NYC. I wondered if such an incident weighs a fighter down, gives them pause about continuing in this sport, which is no game. Seldin allowed that he feels for Mago but prefers not to linger on the matter. "I go about my business, I'm like an old school gladiator, my style is come forward and fight," Seldin said, the implication being that he realizes that no man is immune to paying the ultimate price to participate.

Sparring in Florida with ex-welter champ Randall Bailey, he reported, boosted his confidence level. "Some days I got him, some days he got me," he said. "I had no problem with his power. I know we were using sparring gloves and headgear, but he's one of the strongest punchers at 147, he still has pop, and it gave me confidence."

To be sure, I performed a confidence check. Last time we talked, Seldin thought he should be the main event on an upcoming card. What about this time, I asked him -- do you still feel you should headline?

"Of course, every time I fight I think I should be," he said. "I think I sold $14,000 in tickets, the fight before I sold $7,000 ... six months layoff and it doubled!"

Retirement not an option for Rodriguez

October, 6, 2013
Delvin Rodriguez was kind enough to take a couple minutes with me on Sunday early afternoon, which I appreciated as Saturday night had not been alright for fighting for him.

The 33-year-old Connecticut resident found himself up against a resurgent Miguel Cotto, a guy who fought in the same manner he used to when he had hair.

Under the tutorial watch of Freddie Roach, Cotto looked to land the left hook, heavy and often against Rodriguez in Orlando. In Round Three, two left hooks and a right finished Rodriguez (28-7-3), with the ref not bothering to count.

I asked Rodriguez, promoted by New Yorker Joe DeGuardia, how he was feeling the day after. "I'm alright, I'm OK," he said. "Just landed in New York."

He told me that indeed Cotto was a bit better than he expected, that his left hook when he had a bit of room to throw hurt was "very solid. I got a little too relaxed, I didn't expect the power to be as strong as it was. He caught me early, trying to warm up."

Retirement is not an option, he told me. "I'm a fighter," he said. "I really want to get back to what I used to do, instead of boxing, jumping around. Not fight in a dumb way, but I have power, enough to hurt anyone."

Today, he hurts, his chin and ego having been penetrated. But, he said, he would be cheered up soon enough. He was about to begin the drive to Connecticut, to see his wife, son and baby boy, who just turned one. They won't care about strategy and left hooks, they will be looking for hugs.

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Yormark: Boxing would be key in Coliseum

July, 3, 2013
Brooklyn is a busy borough, one that brings plenty of attributes to the table.

Long Island doesn't have that same cachet, and so I wonder if the Barclays Center crew could in fact replicate their success in Brooklyn on the island.

During a recent interview, Barclays Center and Nets CEO Brett Yormark had the same tone as he had in 2010, when I betrayed a slight degree of skepticism that a renovated building could in fact attract enough boxing fans regularly to make boxing a worthy building block.

"There's a play out there on Long Island for everything we do here, be it boxing, college basketball, [pro wrestling], concerts and so forth," he said.

Yormark said his group has received commitments for more than 200 events in the first year of the rehabbed coliseum, and they plan to host more than 300 events annually there. He said that their research shows eight percent of Nets fans come to Brooklyn from Long Island, and only 13 percent of people attending non-Nets events are from L.I., so that speaks to the room for expansion.

And what role would boxing have at the Barclays-run coliseum?

Yormark said his partner Golden Boy Promotions has committed to bringing some of their shows in the theater. Yormark also hopes to "accommodate some bigger fights there." In addition, he'd like to have Golden Boy put some non-televised cards in that theater, to give the local fighters more reps.

Long Island boxing isn't in a horrid place, with Coram, N.Y. native Jamel Herring's 4-0 record as a pro after making the 2012 USA Olympic squad, and Chris Algieri, a 16-0 junior welterweight, building a fan base on cards run by Joe DeGuardia. But neither man would fill the big, refurbished room. Still, former heavyweight contender Gerry Cooney, who was a certified attraction on Long Island and currently co-hosts a Sirius radio boxing program along with partner Randy Gordon, says it could sustain a regular boxing program.

"Hell yeah," said Coooney, a 56-year-old Huntington, N.Y. product who retired with a 28-3 mark in 1990. "You've got some good kids there. Boxing as a sport has corrected itself, put better fights on. MMA snuck in there and that forced boxing to put on more competitive fights."

He cited his 1980 Nassau Coliseum fight with Ron Lyle, a first-round KO win, as a career highlight. "It can be better than ever," he said.

No surprise, the Madison Square Garden group likes their chances to snag the coliseum and put their stamp on it. A Garden spokesman offered this statement to NYFightblog when asked about their bid: “Madison Square Garden has been the longtime Mecca of boxing. We have terrific relationships with all of the top boxing promoters and, as part of our plan to create a thriving sports and entertainment destination on Long Island, look forward to leveraging those strong relationships, along with our expertise, to deliver boxing excitement to the Nassau Coliseum.”

The Garden's bid is a $250 million package, and they are playing up an Islander-themed sports bar in a nod to acknowledging the Isles' import.
Check back for the final part of this package, which includes Yormark's desire to both close and re-open the "Barclays" Coliseum in grand fashion...

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See Andrade at public workout today

January, 24, 2013
Fight fans can check out prospect Demetrius Andrade when he meets Freddy Hernandez at The Paramount in Huntington, Long Island, on Friday night ... and if they so choose, they can get a sneak peak at the Rhode Island 154-pound prospect when he takes part in a public workout, at Modell's on 234 W. 42nd Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues), today, Thursday, at noon.

Showtime will show the Andrade-Hernandez bout, and an undercard scrap, on their "ShoBox" program (10 p.m.). Joe DeGuardia of the Bronx promotes the Friday show on the Island.

Curtis Stevens rekindles the fire

January, 10, 2013
Curtis Stevens was part of an aggressive and exciting movement in boxing in 2005, part of the crew that married the fight game and hip hop. Promoter Lou DiBella, hip-hop entrepeneur Damon Dash and music producer Chris Gotti came together and looked to push Andre Berto, Stevens, Jaidon Codrington, and Gary Stark Jr., who were supposed to be a resurgent NYC wrecking crew. The marriage, great in theory when executed in January 2005, sought to align demographic groups, but didn't flourish as hoped.

Gotti and his brother Irv getting indicted by the Feds for money laundering didn't help, and though they were acquitted in late 2005, the legal woes were a distraction. Prior attempts to give boxing a hip-hoppy push, such as MC Hammer's entry into the management realm, and KO Nation, the HBO entity which featured emcee Ed Lover from "Yo! MTV Raps," flamed up and then out rather quickly. Losses by Codrington (KO1 by Allan Green in November 2005) and Stevens (TKO8 by Marcos Primera in July 2006) dimmed some of the luster, as well. By 2008, the Dash-DiBella union had basically petered out. In June 2007, Stevens suffered another loss, on Showtime, to Andre Dirrell, and his momentum got stuck in the mud. He's fought six times since then, going 5-1, but the buzz was largely absent.

Now it's back. Not to the same degree, no. But Stevens is doing his best to stir it up, get the mojo flowing again. He has a new promoter, Main Events, after falling out with Joe DeGuardia, and gloves up on Jan. 19 against Elvin Ayala at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. (That card is topped by a Gabriel Campillo-Sergey Kovalev light heavyweight scrap, and will run on NBC's cable sports channel.) The Brownsville native sounded like he was brimming with some of the same zest and hopefulness we heard in 2005 while he talked with NYFightblog on Wednesday. "Elvin Ayala is not in my league," said the 27-year-old, who is now living in Queens. "He's in my way right now. When you got something in your way, you got to run it over." Ayala, age 31, is a Connecticut resident with a 26-5-1 record. He is on a six-fight winning streak.

Out of the ring in 2011, fighting just once in 2012, Stevens says the time out of the spotlight helped him. "It matured me, it humbled me," he said. During that time, he helped his mom out at her day care center, Little Libby's Angels, in Brownsville, shuttling the children. "I'm grateful I got another chance to show my skills."

Stevens will fight Ayala at middleweight but is willing and able to go to 154 to git 'r done, he said. "K9 Bundrage, he wants to bully people, I'd like to smash him," Stevens said. "Canelo is looking for super fights but if he wants to get in the dog cage we can do it. Gennady Golovkin, they say he's a big puncher, I'd like to sit him on his ass. I want to be the first guy from Brownsville to win a title since Zab Judah. I don't want nothing easy, I want to take it. I'm ready for anything, I'm ready for war. Two years off, I'm ready. It's no time to play. I'm watching guys with titles get easy fights. That's what boxing is turning into. I'm here to put a stop to that."

Nov. 17 Deguardia show is OFF

November, 16, 2012
The Saturday, Nov. 17 boxing show set to run at The Paramount in Huntington is off, because of the damage brought by Hurricane Sandy.

Promoter Star Boxing plans on going back to The Paramount on January 25th.

"We very deeply regret having to cancel this show but given that the people in the area are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy we felt this was the wisest and most compassionate course of action," Star chief Joe Deguardia said. "The Paramount has become a terrific home for our events and we plan on making our January 25 show a sensational evening for our fans."

Refunds for all tickets purchased for Nov. 17 should be obtained at the point of purchase.

Kinda beats Arnaoutis

October, 15, 2012
Issouf Kinda, the Burkina Faso immigrant now living in the Bronx, beat Mike Arnaoutis on Saturday night at the NYCB Theater in Westbury, Long Island. He dominated the Queens resident over 10 rounds, actually, and upped his record to 15-0. The 24-year-old Kinda retained his New York State junior welterweight title by scores of 100-90, across the board. Arnaoutis moved to 24-8-2 (11 KOs).

"Kinda continues to look sharper in each fight," said promoter Joe DeGuardia.

Issouf Kinda headlines on Long Island

October, 12, 2012
Boxing gets hammered quite a bit by folks who think it is a brutal exercise reserved for throwbacks and misfits with nothing else going for them but a useful amorality.

But the overwhelming majority of fighters who take part are for the most part decent souls, and most of them see the sport as not a degrading enterprise or last-resort vocation, but rather a valiant endeavor which allows them to focus on a mighty goal and give them a compelling reason for being.

Issouf Kinda is one of the decent souls; the Burkina Faso product who lives in the Bronx is one of the athletes the sport should be spotlighting that much more, because his is a quintessential American-New York immigrant tale.

The 24 year-old Kinda excelled in Africa and was hoping to make the 2008 Olympics. But the Olympic plan didn't come to fruition. He knew to make a leap, and cover ground professionally, he'd do better in the U.S., so he came here in 2007. "He had zero money in his pocket," his manager, Long Island-based Jack Stanton, told NYFightBlog. "And he didn't speak a word of English." Yet he found a gym -- you can picture Kinda making punching motions toward strangers, shrugging his shoulders, hoping they could read minds and point him to a gym -- and started teaching himself English.

He turned pro in January 2009, and has amassed a 14-0 record, with 5 KOs. Saturday night, he fights in the main event of a Joe Deguardia card in Westbury, Long Island, taking a considerable step up in competition to face off with 24-7-2 Mike Arnaoutis, a 33 year-old Astoria, Queens, boxer who is trying to get back to contender status.

Stanton, whose brother Larry is remembered as a decent welter who boxed from the '60s to the early '80s, clearly adores Kinda. He said the boxer works full-time at a soul food restaurant in Harlem, and then trains after that. Stanton said that the eatery boss tells him Kinda is the type who eagerly accepts any and all tasks with a smile.

"He's so grateful, every day, he takes out the garbage with no problem, and he does the same thing in the ring. And he supports his whole family in Africa," Stanton said. If he's not the blessed with A-grade fluidity and arsenal, Stanton said he makes up for it with willpower. "He has more desire than 10 normal kids, and it will overcome any athletic shortcoming," Stanton said.

Arnaoutis was on a severe slide, losing to Victor Ortiz on 2009, starting a five-losses-in-six-fights skid. But he's won his past two, and has to know that his chances to get back to a decent place are getting scarce. Kinda will be scheduled for 10 rounds for the first time. The scouting report on Kinda tells us that Arnaoutis best be ready to rumble, and keep up a stiff pace, the whole 10.

The card unfolds at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury, located at 960 Brush Hollow Road. First bell is 7:30 p.m.

Boxing comes back to Albany

September, 24, 2012
Heavyweights tangle at the Times Union Center in Albany on Saturday, Oct. 27, as Joe Hanks (20-0; from Newark, N.Y.) meets Fred Allen (14-0-1; from Texas).

Hanks is promoted by Joe DeGuardia, and his profile and buzz has risen some in the last few months. I haven't seen Allen, so maybe some readers can give us a scouting report in the comments section ...

DeGuardia on his near-death experience

September, 20, 2012
Joe DeGuardia has done the same thing a hundred times, driven back from a show in the early AM, when traffic is light and his mind drifts to the riveting battles between the hungry boxers on his Star Boxing roster.

On this night, though, fate offered something very different than a pedestrian ride back from Long Island to his Westchester residence.

On the early morning of July 29, promoter DeGuardia was driving eastward on the Long Island Expressway, in the middle lane after his show in Huntington, when he saw something come at him -- a car in the wrong lane, headed in the wrong direction.

"Originally, I didn't realize what it was," DeGuardia told NYFightblog. "I never expected an object to be there. It was dark. Once I hit, I realized it was a car. 'Oh, s---,' I thought, 'this is a real accident. I'm dead.' I thought of my kids. 'What are my kids gonna do?'"

DeGuardia, 49, had reached 20 years in the business on the night of the crash, and was pondering how much work it had taken to stay in the game for two decades. Then, in a split second, he was wondering how sons Joe, 15, and Andrew, 10, would fare without him.

Upon impact, his airbag deployed and smashed him in the face. "I felt like my face was on fire," he recalled. He blacked out, then came to, and knew he had to get out of his wrecked Mercedes. The other car was smoking, and he didn't know if his car was going to blow up. He tried to push his door open, but it wouldn't budge. A mystery man, a good Samaritan, yanked it open and ushered DeGuardia out of the crumpled car.

"I really didn't know if I had legs," DeGuardia said. "Cars were flying by us. But I was happy to be alive."

Sadly, the man driving the other car perished in the accident.

I asked if DeGuardia was scared. "Survival takes over," he said. "I was trying to survive. It was a frightening experience, but at the time, I was not thinking that. I was thinking of my kids, 'I got to try and survive.'"

DeGuardia went to the hospital, and just about right away, the fighter in him -- he was a fine amateur fighter, who won the Golden Gloves in 1988 -- kicked in. He wanted to get off his stool, get back in the mix. An MRI showed his brain was OK, and his hip, his arm and legs were a little busted up, but after two days, against medical advice, he decided to stand up and walk. After three days, he left the hospital.

"I'm stubborn," he said, chuckling. "I did it my way. I'm a crazy person. I got out of the hospital, I stopped by the office to get paperwork, get the mail."

His face betrays no signs of the impact, but he is doing physical therapy four days a week. "I throw a baseball, throw a football with my kids," he said. "I want to throw like I was able to. I can't lift my arm high, but I want to do those things, I want to be sparring again."

Has the experience changed him? "I know a lot of people depend on me," he said. "My kids, I want to be able to still be there for them, be able see them grow up. My wife, my father, mother, brothers and sisters, fighters, a whole host of people get impacted from something like this. And I don't know who that good Samaritan was. Hopefully I can track him down. We're doing a show in October, hopefully I can invite him.

"But I'm happy to be alive. I've always appreciated life, now I got a real appreciation. Now, the little things are less important. I don't get caught up in the day-to-day nonsense. Sometimes you forget how good it is to see the sun in the morning."

What does Riley have left?

August, 20, 2012
Floyd Mayweather's jail stint served to raised his profile a notch further.

Yathomas Riley's two years in jail, charged with attempted murder of his ex-girlfriend, didn't do him any such favors.

A dedicated few tried to spread the word that they thought Riley was being falsely accused. Michael Miller of the Miami New Times wrote about the case, and friends sent around articles and poked journos to please take a look.

On Friday, vindication came, when the system decided that the evidence against Riley, a light heavyweight from Florida who built an 8-0 (6 KOs) record fighting for Star Boxing of New York, was not sufficient to maintain a case against him. After cooling his heels in lockup waiting for a trial, Riley was released, and charges against him were dropped.

We know that Mayweather, with a comfortable nest egg and support staff at his beck and call, will proceed to his next extravaganza seamlessly. But what about Riley? He's 30 years old, his last bout occurred in April 2010 (TKO2 win over Walter Foster in Connecticut), he's been away from the gym and under severe mental duress since he called 911 the night of June 10, 2010, told the operator his girlfriend had tried to kill herself with a gun, and then was accused by the woman of being the trigger-puller.

I asked Star Boxing matchmaker Ron Katz about Riley's prospects after a lengthy layoff. "Riley was a beast," Katz told me. "Search-and-destroy and one of the best pure punchers I've seen, God gifted power." Riley had dedication issues and was prone to lose focus outside the ring, Katz noted. "If he dedicates himself, and trains hard and has something left he can be a force to be reckoned with, he has really big-time power."

Rooney Jr. hangs up the gloves

August, 1, 2012
Kevin Rooney Junior's stint as a publicist and boxer is over. The 27-year-old, who does media relations for Lou DiBella, has hung up the gloves after six professional fights.

Since turning pro in April 2011 with a UD4 win over David Navarro, Rooney found half-measures meant he couldn't focus fully on growing his expertise in the world of boxing promotion and in fighting. So, something had to give.

"Is this a hiatus or am I retiring? I'm leaning toward retiring," he told NYFightBlog. "I was giving fifty-fifty on the job and at the gym. My mom is pretty happy, while my dad would probably say keep going." Rooney's father is former pro Kevin Rooney (21-4, fought from 1979-1985), best known for training Mike Tyson during his early and best days as a pro.

If he hit the Lotto and had a fat nest egg to sustain him, Rooney Jr. would probably dive full-on doing the fighting thing, but he doesn't. Purses for a young middleweight with a 4-2 record weren't going to get it done in the Empire State. So, when he started this experiment, Rooney worked for Joe DeGuardia, who didn't run as many shows or have as large a stable as DiBella. That made the juggling act more manageable.

So, is he happy with his won-loss record standing firm at 4-2? "No," Rooney said, with a grin.

The two losses were both to southpaws, so I put it to Rooney. Was he will replaying those bouts in his mind, and figuring out ways to handle a lefty? "Every day," he said, leaning back in a chair, grinning again, but with a hint of a ruefulness on his visage.

We joked about the inevitable comeback and Junior didn't battle back too hard at the notion. There is no sport harder to get out of your blood than boxing. I figure the urge to lace the gloves back on will tug at Junior until he's, like, 50.

Promoter DeGuardia survives car accident

July, 30, 2012
Promoter Joe DeGuardia of the Bronx was on his way home from a successful show on Huntington, Long Island Saturday night, when he was hit head-on, on the Long Island Expressway, by a driver going the wrong way, and reportedly with his lights off. The driver was killed upon impact.

Miraculously, DeGuardia, whose company, Star Boxing, was celebrating 20 years in the business at The Paramount theater, walked away from the vehicle and is now home, resting.

A Nassau County police sopkesman said both cars were thrown about 150 feet from the point of impact, and both vehicles were destroyed, at around 4:15 AM. DeGuardia, age 49, was riding in a brand-new Mercedes and his air-bag was deployed.

"I'm incredibly lucky to be alive," said DeGuardia, a former amateur boxer, graduate of Hofstra Law School, and prosecutor. "I'm in quite a bit of pain, but I'll be fine. I wish to express my deepest and most sincere appreciation for the outpouring of true concern. I am humbled and honored by the emails, calls, texts, Twitter, Facebook and all other means of support I have received from all over the country and world from people in all aspects of my life, particularly including those in boxing, fans as well."

The name of the late driver, a 23 year old man, was not released, nor was the name of his passenger. She suffered internal injuries and is in critical condition, according to the NY Post.
Our man Vinny Maddalone, you might remember, has been on a final run.

He's been in a last bid to get over that proverbial blasted hump and get that long-desired title shot. When he hangs up the gloves, he can know that he at the least made it to the promised land, even if perhaps he was stopped at the gates.

Well, that climax might not be in the cards for the Queens-based boxer, who went in against Brit contender Tyson Fury on Saturday night in Engalnd, and was stopped in the fifth round.

The WBO Intercontinental title was up for grabs, and no, that's not one of the coveted crowns. But a win here could have put Maddalone in the mix, perhaps, for a title crack at maybe Alexander Povetkin, the WBO heavyweight champion.

It didn't go as he would've liked, though. The 6-9 24-year-old Fury, on the short list of future foes for the Klitschko brothers, buzzed Maddlone in the first, and the Queensman was never able to get untracked. He ate leather in the fourth and a bad cut under his left eye opened up. The New Yorker came off his stool for the fifth, to applause from fans at Hand Arena in Somerset, England impressed with his heart. He kept winging shots, when he could. But he didn't have enough in the tank to do more than cover up and throw the odd desperation overhand right. The ref saw enough midway through the round, and you know he made the right call, because Maddalone didn't protest. He knew he was cooked.

I asked his promoter Joe DeGuardia on Monday afternoon, is that it for Vinny? At age 38, a pro since 1999, with his legacy as a fan-friendly bomber intact, should Maddalone hang up the gloves?

"I will talk to him later this week," said DeGuardia, who has promoted Maddalone the whole way through. "He's a good guy. We'll make sure we'll do the right thing."

I pressed, curious if he'd lobby for him to step away. (I have to note, a promoter is in a difficult place. If he advises a client, like a Maddalone, to walk away, he is taking money out of his own pocket, because that part of his stable is now absent.)

DeGuardia, an attorney who formerly worked as a prosecutor, responded that we don't tell lawyers or judges who are over the hill to exit their field. Yes, I said, but those guys don't eat punches for a living. DeGuardia agreed, but noted that lawyers and judges who have lost it impact others with their subpar work, while a fighter does damage only, by and large, to himself.

DeGuardia firmly told me, to his credit, that whichever way he feels about the subject, he will sit down with Maddalone, and convey it to him.

Far be it from me to read between the lines .. but, if I may ... If Maddalone showed a bit more against Fury, I think I might have heard that from his promoter. DeGuardia didn't point out any elements, beyond Maddalone's immense heart, which were in evidence Saturday. My guess is he might offer his opinion that Vinny leave his record at 35-8.

I have been tending to lobby fighters less and less to leave. It is easy for me to sit on the sidelines and opine that a Maddalone, or a Roy Jones should walk away. But fighting is in their blood, their heart, and every bone in their body. It isn't so easy to leave the stage.

'Comanche Boy' signs with DeGuardia

July, 9, 2012
People in the fight game tend to move slowly, even when faced with hard, irrefutable evidence. That's not always a bad thing; to be knee-jerk is to ensure you leave out evidence when making a move. But more and more, promoters are realizing that fight fans really gravitate to traders, to boxers who press the issue, who like to strive for the kayo. Sublety, in a world of realistic video games and MMA, is out.

This is why Joe DeGuardia, of Star Boxing in the Bronx, signed middleweight prospect George Tahdooanippah, a 33-year-old, 5-foot-10 hitter based in Lawton, Okla., with a 30-0 record and 22 KOs.

The middleweight, who goes by the nom-de-guerre "Comanche Boy", because he is from Comanche and Choctaw stock, will likely debut for Star in Oklahoma in August or September.

"I'm excited about the signing," DeGuardia told me. "He's got a great record, and there's a uniqueness about him, being Native American, who is proud of his heritage." DeGuardia recalled that the last Oklahoman to make a heavy mark in the sweet science was Sean O'Grady, a lightweight champ in the early '80s. "Comanche Boy is strong, and I love the pure boxers, the sweet science, but this kid is fan friendly. I want more of those guys in my stable."

And of "those guys," DeGuardia means boxers who throw tons of punches, who want to make the fight.

Comanche Boy hasn't been thrown into the deep water -- all but one of his bouts has been in Oklahoma -- so don't expect DeGuardia to proclaim him ready for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. by the holidays. But he'd like to get him on TV, let fans see his flashy ring walk, and the stunning headdress he wears, and then see what happens. "He's got a lot of flair and knockouts, and I'm hoping he'll rise to championship stature."