The presser to officially announce the Adrien Broner vs. Vicente Escobedo fight was recently held in Cincinnati. The “Battle on the Banks” as they are calling it, has this boxing fan completely geeked! For one, I am very high on Broner as a talented fighter, but even more so because he is from here in “the Nati”. While larger cities like New York, Chicago, and Detroit may get most of the fame (and deservedly so) for producing good American fights and fighters, Cincinnati has had its share of champions and boxing history.
John L. Sullivan fought here twice. First against Professor John Donaldson at a place called the Pacific Garden, a saloon long since gone. The Cincinnatian, a hotel/landmark here in the city, now covers the property where the bar once stood. His second fight in Cincinnati was fought in Chester Park against Dominick McCaffrey. Chester Park also gone, was on the property that now belongs to the Cincinnati Water Works. More importantly though, after winning this bout, Sullivan became recognized as the first heavyweight champion of the world under the Marquess of Queensberry Rules.
On the west side of the city there is a street named after the “Cincinnati Cobra” Ezzard Charles. Widely regarded as one of the best light heavyweights of all time, he also beat America’s champion (and by many accounts faded) Joe Louis for the world heavyweight title and defended it successfully against some of the best fighters of his day. Though many of his biggest fights were fought in other cities, his 1949 fight against Joey Maxim, at the Cincinnati Gardens, still holds the attendance mark for a boxing event in Cincy.
In the late 70′s and throughout the 80′s, the Queen City was on “Hawk Time” as Aaron Pryor went through opposition like a buzz saw. His 35 KO’s in 40 fights are a testament to punching power and his stamina. Though never landing a megafight with “Sugar” Ray Leonard, he did have a win over Tommy “Hitman” Hearns in the amateur ranks, and his duel knockouts of Alexis Arguello were two of the most exciting fights of that decade.
Now, I’m not trying to insinuate that “the problem” is anywhere near the level of these great champions, yet, but on July 21st I plan on being in attendance at U.S. Bank Arena to witness the continuation of the newest chapter in Cincinnati boxing history. A very flashy chapter (with great hair)I might add.