posted on Nov, 29 2003 @ 05:36 PM
Canadian Press - November 28, 2003
MONTREAL (CP) - Preliminary talks have begun towards pitting former World Boxing Association lightweight champ Leonard Dorin against crowd favourite
Arturo Gatti in June.
Yvon Michel, general manager of Dorin's promoter Interbox, said Friday said he has spoken to Carl Moretti of Main Events about arranging the fight,
which would "preferably be in Montreal, if the economics make sense."
Gatti (36-6-0) is a Montreal native who has fought out of New Jersey since the early 1990s. Dorin (21-0-1), a native of Romania, has fought out of
Montreal since 1998.
"It will be a candidate for fight of the year," Michel predicted of the two free-swinging boxers.
Three of Gatti's bouts have been named fight of the year by The Ring magazine - in 1997 against Gabriel Ruelas, in 1998 against Ivan Robinson and in
2002 against Mickey Ward.
He has fought only once before in his hometown - a 10-round unanimous decision over Joe Hutchinson on Sept. 8, 2000, a tune-up for his battle with
Oscar De La Hoya in March, 2001.
Dorin, a five-foot-four brawler, will move up to super-lightweight (140 pounds) for the bout.
HBO made it a condition that Dorin first fight a tune-up bout. That is to take place Feb. 21 in Montreal against an opponent yet to be determined,
Dorin and Michel were both invited to Atlantic City to watch Gatti's fight with Gianluca Branco of Italy for the World Boxing Council title on Jan.
Branco and Gatti, ranked first and second respectively by the WBC, will fight for the title recently vacated by Kostya Tszyu, a Russian living in
Gatti's last three fights were against Ward. He lost the first on a majority decision and won the next two by unanimous decision.
Dorin has to rebuild his name after a mental meltdown in Bucharest last month, when he failed to make the weight limit for his title defence against
Miguel Callist of Panama and had to give up the championship belt.
The 32-year-old pondered retirement, but chose to continue fighting in a heavier division.
"He sees it as a chance to redeem himself," said Michel.
It is a busy period for Canada's top pro boxers.
On Dec. 6 at Madison Square Garden in New York, Kirk Johnson (34-1-1) of North Preston, N.S., faces Vitali Klitschko (32-2-0) of Ukraine in a 10-round
bout, with the winner likely to meet Lennox Lewis for the WBC title next year, if Lewis doesn't retire.
On Dec.20, former champion Eric Lucas (36-5-3) of Montreal faces Danny Green (16-1) of Australia at the Bell Centre for the interim WBC
super-middleweight title. The winner must fight champion Markus Beyer on Feb. 28 in Germany.
And on Jan. 29, Hercules Kyvelos (22-0) of Montreal has a scheduled title bout with World Boxing Organization welterweight champ Antonio Margarito
(29-3-0) of Mexico in Phoenix.
Michel said former WBO middleweight champ Otis Grant of Montreal, who made a successful return to the ring last Saturday after a five-year forced
retirement due to injuries from a car accident, will fight next on the same card as Dorin on Feb. 21.
Among the opponents under consideration for Grant is former WBC champ Glenn Catley of England, who fought Lucas twice at the Bell Centre, winning the
first in 1999 and losing the second in 2001.
Also on the Feb. 21 card will be heavyweight Jean-Francois Bergeron (18-0) of St-Jerome, Que., who has been off since March with a left shoulder