Promoters from Don King Productions and the Showtime cable network are billing the Sept. 24 boxing card at MCI Center as "Return of the Kings." Perhaps "Rematches in the Ring" might be more appropriate.
The 10-bout card, formally announced yesterday, is headlined by a pair of middleweights fighting each other for the third time. Silver Spring's William Joppy (26-1-1) is scheduled to meet Julio Cesar Green (25-3) for the World Boxing Association championship. The two split their first two title fights, each winning by decision.
One co-feature is Washington's Keith Holmes (33-2) defending his World Boxing Council middleweight title against Lanham's Andrew Council (30-6-3) in what also will be a return engagement. The two met five years ago in a nontitle fight when both were at 154 pounds. The bout ended with a close decision awarded to Holmes.
The other co-feature will have Takoma Park's Sharmba Mitchell (45-2) defending his 140-pound WBA title against Elio Ortiz (17-3). This will be Mitchell's third title defense in the District.
"I don't really know much about [Ortiz]," said Mitchell. "I just know I'm in excellent shape, and after this I'm looking for something bigger--maybe a unification bout with [International Boxing Federation champion] Terron Millet."
Mitchell, who stopped Millet in the first round in 1995, is hopeful a rematch could be on the undercard of the Evander Holyfield-Lennox Lewis heavyweight unification rematch Nov. 13 in Las Vegas. The lefty said the quick turnaround (less than two months) would not be a factor.
"I'd be ready to go, then move on up," said Mitchell, alluding to perhaps going up one weight class to get more lucrative fights. Among the possible opponents at 147 pounds are WBA champ James Page, Ike Quartey and, of course, Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad, providing neither moves up to 154.
Mitchell, however, is not the only one looking at this Sept. 24 card as a steppingstone to bigger things.
"We love the fact that Washington is such a rich city in boxing talent," said Bobby Goodman, vice president of Don King Productions. "And we hope to continue to take advantage of the talent by making shows here. With Don King's strong relationship with [Washington Sports & Entertainment Inc. owner] Abe Pollin, we'd like to make D.C. the boxing capital of the East."
Other area fighters on the card include super lightweight DeMarcus Corley (the District), welterweight Vincent White (Capitol Heights) and super middleweight Sammy Retta (Alexandria). The first bout is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., with the Holmes, Mitchell and Joppy fights all slated to be aired live on Showtime starting at 8 p.m.
King did not attend yesterday's news conference. He was in Las Vegas earlier this week to announce the finalization of the Lewis-Holyfield rematch, then flew to Puerto Rico to be with Trinidad as he prepares for his Sept. 18 showdown with De La Hoya.
Welcome to the Hall
The D.C. Boxing Hall of Fame has announced its 1999 class. The inductees: Brenda Davis, co-proprietor of Round One Boxing in Capitol Heights and wife of veteran trainer Adrian Davis; longtime Baltimore boxing commissioner William McCaffery; Maryland State Athletic Commission Chairman Karl Milligan Jr.; and D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Deputy Commissioner Gilbert Ware.
Induction ceremonies will be Nov. 19 at Martin's Crosswinds in Greenbelt. . . .
Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie will kick off its fall boxing season with a card Sept. 30. Being discussed as a possible main event is a match between 130-pounders Jermaine Fields (17-0) of Landover and Lamont Pearson (7-0-1) of Capitol Heights. Fields is featured in the "New Faces" section of November's The Ring magazine.