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Broudy Takes On Challenge : Boxing: Promoter will try to make action in the ring a hit in The Pond, starting Feb. 4.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Orange County’s boxing legends--former world champion Carlos Palomino, recent Orange County Hall of Fame inductee George Latka and trainer Jackie McCoy--were out in force Wednesday to wish promoter Peter Broudy luck on his attempt to bring big-time boxing to The Pond.

But Broudy will need more than legends and luck to succeed in a county where others have failed. In the past, promoters have staged cards at UC Irvine’s Bren Center and the Santa Ana Bowl, but both promotions failed miserably.

Though Broudy’s risk is greater at The Pond than it would be at the Bren Center or the Santa Bowl because of the arena’s high rent, he believes his chances of success are also great. And Broudy is basing most of beliefs on the premise that The Pond is a great environment to watch boxing.

“The No. 1 reason people don’t go to the fights is because safety is a big turnoff,” said Broudy, citing Los Angeles’ Olympic Auditorium and the Hollywood Palladium as examples. “It’s the perception more than anything. The venues themselves are not dangerous, but it’s the areas around the venues. This is a beautiful building. I think people will come en masse.”

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The people will get their first chance to watch boxing at The Pond on Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. Broudy, whose wild hairdo closely resembles promoter Don King’s, is promoting a card that will include former world junior lightweight champion Jaime Garza and two-time former world lightweight champion Raul Perez. Two other 10-round bouts will feature former world junior featherweight champion Junior Jones and junior middleweight Cassius Clay Horne of Phoenix.

Next month, Broudy is hoping to sign up highly ranked welterweight Yori Boy Campos of Mexico, and he also talked with Joe Sayatovich, manager of former world champion Terry Norris, about scheduling a fight.

Ringside seats will sell for $100 with others going for $85, $75, $50, $35 and $15. Broudy said 9,000 of the 18,000 seats will be priced at $15.

Promoter Roy Englebrecht, who has filled the Irvine Marriott Ballroom to 90% capacity over the last 10 years, wishes Broudy luck, but he is skeptical.

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“Several of the fighters he has in his main event, Sammy Stewart and Paris Alexander, we’ve had at the Marriott in 1994,” said Englebrecht, who negotiated with The Pond a few years ago to bring boxing to the arena. “I don’t know that they’ll go see them for $100 when they can see them at my place for $35.

“The last row of seats for us, the 14th row, is only 52 feet from the ring. You’re a lot further from the ring at The Pond. We also have waitress service and free parking.”

But Broudy insists he is not competing with Englebrecht for fans. He said his monthly Thursday night shows will not conflict with the Marriott’s, which are held on the last Thursday of each month.

“I think I can help (the Marriott’s cards),” said Broudy, who is also promoting fights at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills. “I’ll bring more attention to boxing and that can only help the Marriott.”

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However Englebrecht sees it the other way around.

“Our success over 10 years will only help him,” Englebrecht said. “We’ve brought boxing in Orange County where it’s never been. He will feed off us if anything.

“I wish him well though. I want to see everybody do well.”

John Nicoletti, spokesman for The Pond, said Broudy is getting the chance to succeed because he offered more than other promoters could.

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“We had about every major promoter contact us,” Nicoletti said. “Peter is the only one who stepped forward with a commitment to rent the facility.”

Said Broudy, who has signed with the arena for only one show but has reserved dates for 11 more: “They’ve got no risks. The risks are mine and I know them. . . . I’m either going to be a genius or the biggest idiot in boxing.”


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