OKLAHOMA CITY — Saturday night’s “Title Night OKC” card that was televised by ESPN was not the “Friday Night Fights” of old.
“The Worldwide Leader In Sports” originated seven “FNF” cards from Miami, including a 2003 show from the corner of First and Main — promoter Tony Holden’s first locally — that used the Coleman Theatre as a backdrop.
But Saturday’s third-round KO win over journeyman Byron Polley from Chesapeake Energy Arena was part of ESPN’s four-year deal with Bob Arum and Top Rank Inc., that was hammered out in 2017.
“These ESPN deals aren’t like the old ESPN,” Holden said. “Disney (the sports network’s owner) is throwing huge money into these shows. They have 30 shows.”
This was Lippe Morrison’s second appearance in Oklahoma City, getting a 2014 KO at Remington Park, but this was the biggest crowd to see him box.
The attendance in the home of the NBA Oklahoma City Thunder was 5,241.
As he has from the get-go in 2014, Holden loves the potential of Lippe Morrison.
“I think the kid is going to go a long, long way,” Holden said. “I give him an A for future potential. He’s got a lot on the table.
“The kid is going to be a star soon.”
Holden said he’s been in additional talks with Arum as well as Lou DiBella and Showtime.
“Trey’s future is huge and bright,” Holden said, noting he would do one more fight like Saturday’s then jump feet first into uncharted waters with Lippe Morrison.
“I’m going to do one more fight like this (‘Shobox’ or ESPN), then it’s on,” Holden said. “Top Rank was watching this fight. They are all looking for ‘that’ heavyweight. The eyes were on Trey this entire fight more than anybody.”
Holden says he will bring a top-notch opponent into one of several area venues he’s been looking in to.
“I am going to negotiate it,” he said. “It’s going to be my way or we’re not going to do it. I was Joplin to be our next big fight, Memorial Hall, or Tulsa. I am talking to some bigger places in Tulsa, but I want it in the four states.”
Even though the fight was in Oklahoma City, the crowd was very pro-Lippe Morrison just like it had been in his earlier fights at Buffalo Run Casino.
“Would we go to San Anton (San Antonio, Texas), heck no,” Holden said. “We will never go to Europe unless we feel we have a 50-60 percent shot at winning. Until then, I will never sell this young man out.”