Chuck and Carinda Horton were among the many boxing fans throughout the state who clamored for the return of the Minnesota Boxing Commission. As boxing promoters, the Hortons knew firsthand the added difficulties, and fees needed to host events w...
Chuck and Carinda Horton were among the many boxing fans throughout the state who clamored for the return of the Minnesota Boxing Commission.
As boxing promoters, the Hortons knew firsthand the added difficulties, and fees needed to host events without a home state commission.
For the Truth in Duluth bouts, they relied on North Dakota's boxing commission. For the Superior Showdowns, Wisconsin sanctioned the bouts.
Today, the Hortons won't have to look anywhere else but in Minnesota.
Tonight's "Boxing is Back" event at the Target Center in Minneapolis is a celebration of the return of the Minnesota Boxing Commission, which was abolished by former Gov. Jesse Ventura in a budget cut.
Horton's Gym boxers Zach "Jungle Boy" Walters of Duluth and Andy "Kaos" Kolle of Fergus Falls, Minn., are on the card, which is headlined by Shakopee, Minn., native Anthony Bonsante, star of the reality show "The Contender," along with St. Paul's Matt "The Predator" Vanda.
Scott LeDoux, one of the most successful boxers in state history and a former Minnesota Duluth lineman, heads the commission.
"It's a pretty good collection of people they have leading the commission, and after all that hard work, it's finally here," Chuck Horton said. "We talked to the governor and the politicians, and I don't know how much they listened to Chuck and Carinda Horton, but we helped out as much as we could."
Walters (15-1, 11 knockouts) will fight former world title challenger Hugo Pineda of Columbia (38-3, 27 KOs) in a light heavyweight bout, while Kolle (10-1, 8 KOs) will fight Julio Jean of Haiti (7-9, 3 KOs) in a middleweight bout.
Both Horton's Gym boxers scored convincing victories against aging veterans in their last bouts during Superior Showdown II on Sept. 15, with Walters hammering Lloyd "Jabba" Bryan for the scheduled eight rounds and Kolle making quick work of Terry Tock, stopping him in just 37 seconds.
For Walters, it was a boost of confidence after getting knocked down in the first round of his previous bout against Teddy Muller, while it was redemption for Kolle, who was coming off his first career loss.
The left-handed Pineda lost to Felix Trinidad in 1999 via a fourth-round knockout in an IBF welterweight title fight, and he lost to Kostya Tszyu in 1996 via an 11th-round technical knockout in an IBF light welterweight title bout. He has had only three fights since the Trinidad bout and was knocked out in the eighth round by Saul Roman in his last bout in November 2005. Pineda will make a rare appearance as a light heavyweight against Walters.
"Chuck tries to set me up with nothing but the best competition that he can find," Walters said. "I got knocked around in the first round by Muller, the guy was an animal, and Jabba was a cement-head who just wouldn't go away. Now, this fight is another step up. I've never fought anyone with as much success at such an elite level as Pineda."
The Target Center bout is not the first "prime-time'' fight for either Horton's boxer, with Kolle having previously fought in an HBO-televised fight against Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward and Walters taking part in a previous Target Center boxing event. The pay-per-view event turned out to be a resounding victory for Walters, but in what Horton called a "disaster," a portion of Walters' bout was cut off from the pay-per-view telecast.
Walters is looking forward to his return to the Target Center, in his home state and with its own commission.
"Those other commissions were great to work with. They helped keep us going,'' Walters said. "But now it's nice to see that we have our own commission that shares our vision of what boxing in this state could be like. It's nice to have them backing our fighters and promoting the sport throughout the state."
If Walters has a soft spot, it's ice cream. So, near the luxury hotel where the boxers were staying in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday, Walters spotted a Coldstone Creamery. Walters had already weighed in at 172 pounds, three pounds below weight.
"Good ol' ice cream. I could talk about ice cream all day," Walters said. "I've already made weigh-in, so I'm good to go."
JON NOWACKI covers local sports. He can be reached weeknights at (218) 723-5305 or by e-mail at email@example.com