Pro Boxing: Will it make a comeback on the Mississippi Gulf Coast?

Pro Boxing: Will it make a comeback on the Mississippi Gulf Coast?

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - In the 1980s "The Biloxi Bomber" Rusty Derouen, Jerry Goff and Tiger Stokes provided excitement inside the ring and sports fans responded.

In the mid-1990s pro boxing gained momentum when the Grand Casino, the Biloxi Belle, Casino Magic and later the Imperial Palace began promoting well known fighters, hosting big bouts.

Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes closed out his pro career... on the coast with a number of fights at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.

Heavyweight contender Tommy Morrison trained and boxed at the Biloxi Belle.

Boxing coach Keith Hughes of Ocean Springs says the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight has given "pro boxing " a much-needed lift.

"Definitely, "stated Hughes.  "I think a lot of people are going to watch Mayweather and Pacquiao and they're going to look at what they possibly can do and possibly the money they can make down the road.  Yeah, it's going to have a big impact."

The Mayweather-Pacquiao fight is projected to have a major financial impact to the tune of $300 million.

Two of Mayweather's 47 wins were won in Biloxi, both were 5th round TKO's.  He defeated Jesus Chavez on June 12, 1997 and Hector Arroyo on January 9, 1998.

Hughes says he was a judge for the Chavez fight.

"You could tell right than, this kid is going to be something pretty good, "stated Hughes.

Roy Jones, Junior got in his licks on the coast including a fight with Anthony Hanshaw in 2007 and trained at the IP Convention Center.

Hughes says pro boxing is making a coast comeback with casino's taking the lead.

"The Beau Rivage is doing pretty well and now the Hard Rock is doing a fight this Saturday night, "said Hughes.

The Hard Rock is hosting an 8-card pro bout Saturday night and  Hughes says anyone who buys a ticket to watch the fights will be able to stay and watch the pay-per-view telecast of the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.

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