That's 'pretty' messed up

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

TORONTO -- There was some monumental news unveiled at the final media conference for Saturday's fight card at Casino Rama. It seems that there will actually be TWO boxers in the ring when the vacant WBA woman's super bantamweight championship is contested -- Ana Julaton and Lisa Brown.

All the pre-fight hype has been centred on just one fighter, the "photogenic", as she's described in the official press release, Julaton.

Since arriving in Toronto, the San Francisco boxer has been treated like a conquering hero by fight promoter Allan Tremblay and the local Filipino community. Julaton has been wined and dined and feted endlessly. She has appeared on the front page of a Toronto newspaper, has conducted countless local radio and TV interviews, and there are already plans to bring her back.

Brown, meanwhile, has been basically ignored, even though she's a local.

Why? Because Julaton looks like a super model. And though proponents of female boxing have worked hard to build respect for the sport, looks are obviously still a huge part of the equation in marketing female boxing. Tremblay is the first to admit that, though he acknowledged that he does feel somewhat bad for "Bad News" Brown. In fact, when Brown arrived at Thursday's media gathering, he rushed over to her, basically to smooth any possible ruffled feathers.

"I went over and said: 'You have to understand the business side of it,' " he said, in explaining why Julaton has been afforded all the hype. "But there's nothing but love and respect there for Lisa, and I mean that sincerely."

On the other hand, Tremblay added that Brown wouldn't be fighting on Saturday if not for Julaton.

"Lisa understands the game," he said.

Which she does. To her credit, the Scarborough fighter is cool with the fact that she has been treated as an afterthought, even though she is more than accomplished in the ring.

"That's marketing, right?" she said. "I guess they need someone to actually push the fight. And if she's the candidate they chose, that's good."

Though Julaton is a born and bred American, she is becoming a huge star in the Philippines, her parents' homeland. Saturday's 10-round fight will be broadcast on the GMA television network in the Philippines.

Both Julaton and Brown have excellent, if flawed, fight credentials. Brown has only lost four times in 23 pro fights, though her last defeat was in her last fight, Oct. 15, 2009, against local hero Hyo Min Kim in Incheon, South Korea.

It's says something about the depth of women's boxing that Julaton is already a two-time world champion, with the IBF and WBO belts, despite the fact that she has had all of eight pro bouts, and has lost one. Neither fighter is a tremendous knockout artist, to say the least. Brown has five KO's while (The Hurricane), Julaton, has one.

Tremblay said part of the reason why he is trumpeting Julaton to such an extent is that he is hoping to take advantage of the Toronto Filipino community's passion for boxing. Last September, he brought in young Filipino sensation Marvin Sonsona to Rama for a successful challenge of the WBO super flyweight title. And though Sonsona subsequently lost the title, and has made some noise about retiring, Tremblay wants to continue to ride that band wagon.

"When you put all the time, effort and energy into a given market place, you want to keep it rolling," he said.

Saturday's headline bout will feature Sarnia's Steve Molitor and South African Takalani Ndlovu in a rematch for the vacant IBF junior featherweight title.

STEVE.BUFFERY@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos