Middleweight Mike Baker, Edward Bennett Williams' fighter, has a tough assignment Friday, March 9, in Madison Square Garden, in a preliminary to the Wilfredo Gomez-Baba Jiminez bantamweight bout.
Baker will fight Casey Gasic of Cleveland,who had a small war with Leo (Kid) Saenz of Potomac in ABC's U.S. Boxing Championships series.
If Baker wins, matchmaker Eddie Hrica plans a show featuring him at Capital Centre later in March. Hrica wants to have regular shows on a "club-fight," or development-program, level. Hrica now is grateful that a show scheduled at the Centre for Feb. 19 did not materialize because of the snowstorm.
Hrica also conducts bouts in Baltimore and has Sugar Ray Leonard engaged to fight there May 12, probably against a junior middleweight.
Leonard's next bout, against Danny Gonzalez of Argentina, will be televised from Tucson, Ariz., on Saturday, March 24. There were some puzzled looks when a Los Angeles report had Gonzales, the Argentinian champion, booked to fight World Boxing Association titleholder Jose (Pipino) Cuevas just two weeks later in Mexico.
Don Fraser, who directs boxing in Inglewood, Calif.'s Forum, now says that bout is off, and not just because Gonzales might be cut up by Leonard. Gonzalez is a tall, defensive specialist, who is expected to go the distance against Leonard.
Mike Rossman can measure his progress by watching inmate James Scott May 13 on television against Yaqui Lopez in a bout at the Rahway, N.J., prison. Lopez stopped Rossman March 3, 1978.
Hrica would like to bring Rossman to Capital Centre, but says Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc. has options on his future bouts, just as he does on WBC welterweight champion Wilfredo Benitez, on Muhammad Ali, if he fights again, and on Leon Spinks.
Hrica says it is difficult to compete with Las Vegas and the networks for bouts. "The TV revenue pays for the purses of the two principals," Hrica noted, "and the hotels in Vegas are glad to offer all the fighters on a card free hotel rooms and meals. And the networks are carrying fights nearly every Saturday and Sunday."
Even Madison Square Garden, the citadel of boxing, has trouble landing big bouts because promoter Don King has tied up as many or more boxers than Arum. So the Garden is trying its own talent-development program with regular club bouts in its Felt Forum.