Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, June 21, 2001

Salud readies for
October fight

The boxer also enters the ring
of marketing and media relations

By Dave Reardon

Jesus Salud stopped a fight at a Honolulu nightclub last night with his charm, not his hook. But the former world champion boxer says he still has a few punches left to throw.

And while Salud isn't giving up on the sweet science just yet, he is learning a new art -- that of promotion and marketing ... in arena football.

The 38-year-old former junior featherweight from Nanakuli took a beating May 15 from Fernando "Bobby Boy" Velardez at the Hawaii Convention Center, losing by TKO in the eighth round. Many thought Salud's first loss in Hawaii signaled the end for him.

"Nah, I've still got a lot of fight left in me," Salud said.

He can prove it on Oct. 12 at the Hilo Civic Center. Salud (62-11) will fight Birgo Werouw (24-2) of Indonesia, the No. 4-ranked Orient Pacific Boxing contender, pending commission approval.

Salud is also entering the arena of media relations and marketing for a Hawaii-based arenafootball2 team which hopes to be playing when the league starts in 2002.

"I never played football, but I've always been a big fan. I grew up loving the Cowboys," Salud said. "I'm really excited about this because it's going to be all about Hawaii, and they're thinking long-term. We have a three-year budget already. We're going to try to get as many local players as possible -- only two outsiders on the team at the most."

Jerry Kearns is the managing director of the team, which will be called the Hawaii Islanders.

"Jesus has tremendous value in the community," Kearns said. "He's one of the greatest people around, with family values. He's a good role model for kids."

Salud, who is spending more time in Hawaii recently than in San Diego where he has a home, said he is an employee of the Hawaii Islanders, not an investor.

While Salud appears to be preparing for life after boxing, he has big plans in the ring if he beats Werouw.

Salud's agent, Leon Panoncillo of Championship Boxing Development, Inc., is trying to arrange a future title fight in South Africa against the winner of one of two junior featherweight championship fights on the undercard of Saturday's Oscar De La Hoya-Javier Castellejo WBC super welterweight championship in Las Vegas.

Salud's possible opponents in South Africa include IBF champion Lehlohonolo Ledwaba (33-1-1, 22 KOs), WBA champion Enrique Sanchez (28-1-2, 21 KOs), Jorge Pabon Monsalvo (29-1, 24 KOs) or Agapito Sanchez (23-7-1, 19 KOs). Monsalvo and Agapito Sanchez fight Saturday for the vacant WBO title.

"He still wants me to assist him," Panoncillo said. "We'll see if we can get him a couple comeback wins and a title shot."

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