Plenty o' balls to juggle

MURRAY GREIG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

Between promoting the six-bout El Matanzas (The Massacre) card April 3 at The Palace banquet centre and preparing to headline in the main event, Edmonton heavyweight Sheldon Hinton is discovering there are too few hours in the day.

"It's like being a juggler, I guess," Hinton said yesterday during a break from training at the Beverly Bronx Gym. "There's always something up in the air. I just get one problem solved and another one seems to pop up in its place. But come next week we'll put on the kind of action-packed show that Edmonton boxing fans want to see."

One of the biggest obstacles for Hinton's PrimeTime Promotions was finalizing the list of Mexican opponents. The original slate called for the full complement of Beverly Bronx's pro stable to be fighting, but that's now changed.

"Unfortunately, Omar (Valdez) and Jason (Delaronde) won't be fighting because the opponents we signed for them pulled out ... so now we're down to three Mexicans," said Hinton. "The good news is that (Edmonton middleweight) Ron Pasek has been added to the show, along with two more heavyweight bouts."

The main event has Hinton (9-6-1, 4 KOs) defending his CAM (Canada-America-Mexico) title against Jorge Valenzuela (8-12, 7 KOs) of Mexico City. In the semi-main, Edmonton cruiserweight James Cermak (12-2, 8 KOs) will take on Ernesto Zamora (17-17, 12 KOs). The featured prelim will showcase Red Deer featherweight Arash Usmanee in his pro debut against Ricardo Carmona (1-2).

"Their records show that these guys are typical Mexican brawlers -- they either knock you out or they get knocked out," said Hinton. "Mexicans have always had the rep of being tough, take-no-prisoners fighters who dare you to trade punches; that's what makes them such crowd-pleasers.

"The guy I'm fighting has won seven of eight by KO. The guy Cermak is fighting has won 12 of 17 by KO. They definitely come to fight."

In addition to fronting the promotion and headlining the show, Hinton has shouldered much of the responsibility for ticket sales - a task to which he's brought a unique twist.

"It's a dinner card, but unlike other promoters in Edmonton, we understand that there's some folks who want to have dinner but aren't in a position to fork out $1,500 or $2,000 for a table for eight or 10 people," says Hinton.

"We decided to do it like 'dinner and a movie' by offering lower-priced individual table settings, and that's gone over really well. We still have a few available, along with a very few general admission tickets, but they're going fast. Anybody who's interested should call the gym at 910-5050."

The last-minute addition of the 45-year-old Pasek to the undercard was another unexpected move - but one Hinton welcomes.

"Ronnie's never been out of shape, and watching him work with us at the gym, I could see he was chomping at the bit to fight again," he said of the popular middleweight who's fighting for the first time since 2003.

"With a guy like Pasek, age means nothing. He's like a smaller version of George Foreman. He's got a great attitude, he knows what he has to do and he doesn't hold anything back in training. I'm really looking forward to seeing him fight again."

QUICK JABS: For the second time in three years, Manny Pacquiao has been voted fighter of the year by the Boxing Writers Association of America, while his chief handler, Freddie Roach, has been named trainer of the year for the third time since 2003 ... The list of other BWAA award winners announced this week includes Joe Calzaghe, who retired undefeated as light-heavyweight champ. He won the Al Buck Award as manager of the year, joining Bernard Hopkins (2004) and George Foreman (1993) as the only self-managed fighters to have that honour bestowed upon them.

MURRAY.GREIG@SUNMEDIA.CA


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