Pro boxing vanishing in Oregon


World Wrestling Entertainment recently made its third stop here, drawing 12,000 people at the Rose Garden.

And on Friday, fighting superstar Randy Couture and partner Matt Lindland will put on their second mixed martial arts show at the Oregon National Guard Armory, 10000 N.E. 33rd Ave. The first one, called Sport Fight Revolution, went off successfully.

On Saturday, promoter Chael Sonnen will put on an amateur MMA show at the Roseland Theater.

But where has pro boxing gone? After a flurry of activity Ñ three cards by Golden Boy Promotions, and the Roy Jones Jr. and Winky Wright fights in the Rose Garden in 2002 and early 2003 Ñ it has disappeared from Portland and gone nearly extinct in the state.

Jim Cassidy, executive director of the Oregon Boxing and Wrestling Commission, says one event will be held at Seven Feathers Casino in Roseburg in June and another possibly in Bend in April. That's it.

'There are local promoters thinking about doing shows, but it's hard to get people to buckle down,' Cassidy says.

J.E. Isaac, senior vice president for business affairs for Oregon Arena Corp., says that while 'we are still very interested in major boxing matches, and have a couple of irons in the fire,' another series like the Golden Boy isn't in the works. The Rose Quarter did not fare well financially with the Golden Boy cards, and neither did the promoter.

It doesn't help that Cassidy, the commissioner since 1999, has been under investigation by the Oregon State Police for his part in a botched event in Pendleton last October where several boxers and officials had their checks bounce. A bond had to be broken to settle some of the debts.