By Phil Doherty
Light welterweight prospects Tim Coleman and Vernon Paris got things a little mixed up yesterday. The location was right, but the brawl that broke out in the lobby of the Chumash Hotel & Casino in San Ynez California was a day early. The 23-year-old Paris (24-0, 14 KOs) is set to make his national debut on tonight’s edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights for Coleman’s USBA light welterweight title. Paris– nicknamed “The Iceman,” lost his cool after the two fighters crossed paths with cross words near the lobby front desk yesterday around 11:00 AM Pacific time.
The 27-year old “Pit Bull” Coleman (19-1-1, 5 KOs) went off his leash after the smack talk turned into smack down and security frantically scrambled to restrain both sides. The camps found themselves subsequently exiled to various surrounding hotels preceding tonight’s bout. The two fighters participated in separate weigh-ins yesterday afternoon to prevent a repeat of the morning meltdown.
Considering the Kelly Pavlik debacle that erased tomorrow evening’s Showtime-scheduled bout, this show should command increased attention from boxing addicts looking for their fix. Bad blood usually makes for good fights and in keeping with the times, Coleman and Paris continuously trade barbs through their Facebook accounts. The two men were originally scheduled to meet last January on the undercard of the Timothy Bradley-Devon Alexander PPV event from Pontiac Michigan, but Coleman pulled out citing a shoulder injury.
Given the anticlimactic nature of that main event, tonight’s contest has all the makings of a Friday Night Fights classic. Another intriguing twist to the plot between these two involves boxing’s first family: the Mayweathers. Coleman is trained by Roger Mayweather–uncle of undefeated superstar Floyd Jr. and Paris trained recently with Floyd’s father, Floyd Mayweather Sr.
Talk about must-see TV.