LEVALLOIS, France—Legendary boxing promoter Don King arrived in Paris today to stage a press conference on Wednesday (Jan. 24) announcing a highly anticipated rematch between World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council cruiserweight champion O’Neil “Supernova” Bell and former unified world cruiserweight champion Jean-Marc Mormeck that he will be promoting with the Levallois Sporting Club on March 17 at the Palais des Sport Marcel Cerdan in the city of Levallois.
Article posted on 25.01.2007
Bell and Mormeck met each other in one of last year’s most memorable boxing matches in the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 7. The prestigious Boxing Writers Association of America recently distinguished this match as one of the five best fights in the world during 2006, naming Mormeck vs. Bell a Fight of the Year nominee. The winner will be announced at the annual BWAA awards dinner, which will take place this year in Atlantic City, N.J., in April.
Their first meeting included a sensational round seven that Dan Rafael at ESPN.com said was “an exhausting round just to watch,” that he recognized as a candidate for Round of the Year.
Bell (26-1-1, 24 KOs), originally from Jamaica and now a longtime resident of Atlanta, entered the first fight as the International Boxing Federation cruiserweight world champion while Mormeck (32-3, 22 KOs) from Point-a-Pitre, Guadalupe, France, now residing in Rosny-sous-Bois, France, was the unified cruiserweight world champion with both the WBA and WBC belts.
Mormeck started strong and had Bell in serious trouble on several occasions. Bell persevered, avoiding being knocked down during a withering assault by the Frenchman in the early rounds. Bell survived and miraculously found a second wind in the middle rounds.
The two combatants traded power shots at will in the epic, seesaw seventh round, leaving the Garden crowd on its feet when the bell sounded.
Going into round 10, Mormeck still held the lead on one of the judges’ scorecards (86-85) but had expended so much energy in the early rounds building his lead that he appeared ready to founder. One of the two fighters had to succumb, and it was Mormeck who lost the war of attrition. In the waning seconds, after a relentless assault from Bell, Mormeck finally hit the deck. Referee Wayne Kelley counted him out with just 10 seconds left in round 10.
Bell became the first undisputed cruiserweight world champion since Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield held that distinction in 1988. His subsequent inactivity led to the loss of his IBF crown, but he still retains the WBC and WBA straps.
With all of the accolades being showered upon the first fight, Bell vs. Mormeck II will be the biggest world championship boxing match staged in France in years. The bout will be televised on the Canal + network in France.
The France press conference concludes a whirlwind weeklong tour of Europe for the indefatigable King. He co-promoted and attended the WBA heavyweight championship featuring Nikolai “Giant Russian” Valuev vs. Jameel “Big Time” McCline in Basel, Switzerland on Saturday.
On Tuesday, the 75-year-old promoter was in Mannheim, Germany, for a press conference announcing IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko will make his next title defense there on March 10 against Don King Productions-promoted IBF mandatory challenger Ray “The Rainman” Austin.
DKP has promoted over 500 world championship fights with nearly 100 individual boxers having been paid $1 million or more. DKP also holds the distinction of having promoted seven of the 10 largest pay-per-view events in history, as gauged by total buys, including the top four: Holyfield vs. Tyson II, 1.95 million buys, June 1997; Tyson vs. Holyfield I, 1.6 million buys, November 1996; Tyson vs. McNeeley, 1.58 million buys, August 1995; and Bruno vs. Tyson, 1.4 million buys, March 1996.
DKP has promoted or co-promoted 16 of the top 25 highest-grossing live gates in the history of the state of Nevada including the top five: Holyfield vs. Lewis II, paid attendance: 17,078, gross: $16,860,300 (NOTE: Also highest live-gate gross for any event in the history of the world.), date: Nov. 13, 1999; Holyfield vs. Tyson II, paid attendance: 16,279, gross: $14,277,200, date: June 28, 1997; Holyfield vs. Tyson I, paid attendance: 16,103, gross: $14,150,700, date: Nov. 9, 1996; Tyson vs. McNeeley, paid attendance: 16,113, gross: $13,965,600, date: Aug. 19, 1995; De La Hoya vs. Trinidad, paid attendance: 11,184, gross: $12,949,500 (Also garnered the most pay-per-view buys for a non-heavyweight fight at 1.4 million).