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October 21, 2014

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Of King and King Kong

Image

Steve Marcus

IBF bantamweight champion Joseph King Kong Agbeko, right, and challenger Yohnny Perez pose during a news conference Wednesday at Treasure Island.

Title fight

Joseph King Kong Agbeko, of the Bronx by way of Ghana, puts his IBF bantamweight (118 pounds) belt on the line against No. 1 challenger Yonnhy Perez in the headliner of the first full card promoted by Don King in Las Vegas in four years. King, who has promoted or co-promoted 12 of the top 20 highest-grossing live gates in Nevada, teamed with Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin for today’s show. “I have admired Don King’s work in Las Vegas and around the world for years,” Ruffin said. “I want Treasure Island’s first boxing event to be the best it can be, and that is why I sought out Don.”

Call for KO

Although his two most recent fights — against Vic Darchinyan and William Gonzalez — ended in 12-round decisions, Agbeko has predicted a knockout of Perez. Agbeko said his goal is eventually to become recognized as the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing. “I am not underestimating Perez,” Agbeko said. “He is very strong and well-conditioned, and, at 19-0, he’s made himself into a very good fighter. I look forward to him giving me a good fight ... I love seeing my name and likeness on the marquee in front of Treasure Island. I’m up in lights on the famous Las Vegas Strip. It gives me motivation to do great things.”

Chasing a dream

In honor of Halloween, today’s festivities will include a Don King look-alike contest. When Perez was growing up in Colombia, he said, he would dress up as a chef or as Dracula. “Where I’m from Halloween is called the Day of the Witch,” he said. Now fighting from Santa Fe Springs, Calif., Perez sees the fight as an opportunity to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a world champion. “This fight is so very important,” he said. “I have a lot of responsibilities. I support a lot of my family and friends. So, this fight is not only for me. It is for them. I don’t plan to let anybody down.”

Tech savvy

Only the top two fights on the card will be presented as a doubleheader on Showtime, but King will offer a five-fight undercard, highlighted by the Ray Austin-DaVarryl Williamson WBC heavyweight eliminator, on an online pay-per-view showing on DonKingTV.com for $5.99. King started the online station in 2008, featuring a free broadcast of a fight between Cory Spinks and Devon Alexander from St. Louis. Viewers from 195 countries tuned in, according to King. “This new technology can take boxing back to the people and develop new boxing fans worldwide,” he said.

Betting lines

Agbeko opened as a minus 200 favorite (risk $2 to net $1) in the main event, with Perez listed as a plus 170 underdog (risk $1 to net $1.70). The round proposition opened at over/under 8 1/2, with a premium of minus 275 on the over. Antonio DeMarco has been installed as a minus 500 favorite in the co-feature against Jose Alfaro (plus 400), with a round prop of over/under 7 1/2. Ray Austin is minus 175 against DaVarryl Williamson (plus 150) with a round prop of 7 1/2. In an undercard bout, Nelson Linares is a minus 700 favorite against Archak TerMeliksetian (plus 500) at super welterweight.

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