Built in 1967 the LA Forum besides being the former home of the Los Angeles Lakers, world-class concerts and the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, also has a rich boxing history. The program named Forum Boxing was developed by the late great Lakers owner Jerry Buss who put on shows at the arena in the 80s and 90s. Despite losing millions of dollars, Mr. Buss kept the fight cards until 1999 when he pulled the plug on the bleeding business. In its glory days, the Great Western Forum, its official name at the time, hosted who’s who of fighters who were stars then or would be in the future, Mexicans Marco Antonio Barrera, Rafael Marquez, Israel Vazquez, Jorge Paez, Humberto Gonzalez, Daniel Zaragoza and Genaro Hernandez all fought at the Forum. Shane Mosley, Mark Johnson, Johnny Tapia, Azumah Nelson, Acelino Freitas and Thomas Hearns also performed at the venue in Inglewood, California.
Oscar De La Hoya even made his pro debut in 1994 at the place.
A renovation of the Forum began two years ago and it is rumored that now it is ready to once again host the “red light district of sports”, boxing. The bout considered for the first in the newly designed building is Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Mike Alvarado on Saturday, May 17th. The bout has been discussed in the last couple days between Bob Arum, head honcho of Top Rank and Alvarado’s promoter, and Fernando Beltran, leader of Zanfer who negotiates for Marquez.
The forty-year-old Marquez is no stranger to the Forum since in his early fights this side of the border with twelve of his first twenty-four professional fights held in the building.
Marquez has not climbed in-between the ropes since a spit decision loss to Timothy Bradley last October. Since then Marquez has been beating the gong for a rematch with the undefeated WBO welterweight champion but on his terms, mainly to be held in his hometown of Mexico City. No surprise that Bradley wants to part of the proposition and instead has signed on to rematch Manny Pacquiao in a very lucrative deal on April 12th.
There is no word if the proposed match-up between Marquez and Alvarado, who in his last fight was stopped in ten by Ruslan Provodnikov before allegedly dropping a SUV into a lake in an out of the ring situation, would be on HBO PPV or Championship Boxing. I would find it hard to believe that Top Rank would program two monthly PPVs with the aforementioned Bradley-Pacquiao in April and this one in May.
If that is so, the saving grace for the card would be that it is being said that it might be paired with the much anticipated face-off between Mikey Garcia vs Yuriorkis Gamboa in the lightweight division.
The early odds are that Juan Manuel Marquez is the clear favorite if the fight were to happen but how appropriate would it be if miraculously win, lose or draw, Marquez would ride out into the sunset into the tunnel of the Forum?