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Boxing Wed Jun 18 2008

Griffin Bring Boxing Back Home

It's been a long time since Chicago was one of, if not THE, boxing capital of the U.S. The list of historic bouts that have occured here are legendary: Gene Tunney vs. Jack Dempsey in the infamous "long count" bout in 1927 at Soldier Field; Joe Louis defeating James Braddock in 1937; Sugar Ray Robinson knocking out Jake LaMotta in 1951; Floyd Patterson KOing Archie Moore to win the vacant world heavyweight title in '56.

But the glitz, gawdy atmosphere and, frankly, money of Las Vegas stole the boxing spotlight from not only Chicago but places like New York and Atlantic City as well, leaving the city to settle for things like Lamont Brewster vs. James "Quick" Tillis (feel free to say "Who?"), which took place at the Rosemont Horizon (now the Allstate Area) some 25 years ago.

Still, there's something about a professional bout within the city limits that hearkens back to those old days. Boxing fans will get a chance to experience a little of what that was like when Chicago native Montell Griffin takes on Corey Commings at the Aragon Ballroom on Friday, June 20. The six-bout card begins at 6:30 p.m.

The 37-year-old Griffin, 48-7 with 30 KOs in his 15-year career, was a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic team (that included Oscar De La Hoya) and held the WBC light heavyweight title in 1997 until losing to Roy Jones Jr. While presumably heading for retirement, Griffin is hoping to finish his career with an even 50 wins and a final title shot.

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