Old-school fight fans should know that MSG has started a new series, called "Friday Night Fights," hosted by Mark Breland and John Duddy, which spotlights classic bouts and allows the hosts to examine and dissect the duels.
On Friday at 9 p.m., Breland's first title victory as a professional, a stoppage win over Harold Volbrecht in Atlantic City, will be the featured.
The WBA welterweight title was up for grabs on Feb. 6, 1987, when Breland, arguably the most celebrated amateur in U.S. boxing history, gloved up against the rugged South African lefty.
The Brooklyner told NYFightblog that he went into the bout with a 16-0 record, dripping confidence, knowing he'd prepared more than adequately. "I worked hard in training, and we'd used southpaw guys to get ready," said Breland, the 1984 Olympic gold winner. "In my amateur career, I'd fought so many different guys, with different styles, so my confidence level was very high."
Breland grew up in Bed-Stuy, lives in downtown Brooklyn and is deeply involved in the Mark Breland Foundation, which seeks to advance the treatment of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the progressive disease affecting many people who have suffered multiple concussions.
Breland, who turned 50 in May, teased NYFightblog with a promise. "I will do a big reveal on the show, a big surprise, about something that happened before the fight," said the man who won five N.Y. Golden Gloves crowns.
I couldn't weasel even a solid hint from the ex-champ, who hung up the gloves in 1997 with a 110-1 amateur record and a 35-3-1 professional mark. So I will just have to tune in.