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Jean-Marc Mormeck Seeks Undisputed Cruiserweight Throne
By Francis Walker
Updated: January 1, 2006
NEW YORK — It’s 2006 and the new year begins with highly anticipated boxing action. Zab Judah returns to New York for a homecoming defense of the undisputed welterweight championship at The Theater in Madison Square Garden on Jan. 7th.
Also, Jean-Marc Mormeck, fighting in the United States for only the second time in his career, will attempt to become the first undisputed world cruiserweight champion since Evander Holyfield.
Mormeck (31-2, 22 KOs) will defend his WBA/WBC titles against hard-hitting, O’Neil Bell (25-1-1, 23 KOs) for his IBF 200-pound championship.
Don King will promote the event which will be broadcast live on SHOWTIME beginning at 9 p.m. EST.
Before Holyfield became a four-time heavyweight champion he began his Hall-of-Fame boxing career as a cruiserweight in November 1984. The cruiserweight division weight limit then was 190.
In less than four years following his professional debut, Holyfield had already twice defeated the great Dwight Muhammad Qwai and Ricky Parkey to unify both the WBA and IBF championships.
On April 9, 1998 Holyfield knocked out WBC champ Carlos DeLeon to become the only fighter to unify the cruiserweight titles at 190.
“I have great respect for Holyfield’s career, for the warrior, the man, for everything he has done,” Mormeck said during a conference call. “It would be a great honor and something magic to do what Holyfield did.”
The winner of Mormeck-Bell showdown would become the first cruiserweight in boxing history to unify the WBC, WBA, and IBF titles at the 200-pound cruiserweight limit.
Perhaps just as special, both Mormeck and Bell have an opportunity to make history in the same arena of Holyfield’s professional debut more than 21 years ago – The Garden.
“Since I was a kid back in France, America has always been a dream,” Mormeck added. “Today, I have a chance to fight at the Madison Square Garden.”
Mormeck, a 31-year-old native of Rosny sous Bois, France, won the WBA cruiserweight title on February 23, 2002 in Marseille, France.Virgil Hill could not come out his corner to begin the ninth round.
Mormeck has successfully defended the WBA crown four times, including a second victory against Hill in May 2005.
Although Mormeck has two losses, has never been knocked out and has never lost a fight past six rounds. In fact, Mormeck has not lost a bout since 1997.
“I was most impressed with my fight with Virgil Hill because he had great experience,” Mormeck said. “Regarding the two losses, I learned a lot of lessons. When I get in the ring now, I want to win, win fast, and win with a lot of points. I do not want to take any risks.”
Mormeck has not fought since April 2005. It was then when Mormeck picked up the WBC belt with an unanimous 12-round decision against then undefeated, Wayne Brathwaite.
“I definitely want to fight more, but I have to clear this with my promoter, Don King,” Mormeck said.