Lunch with Dan Goossen
On assignment Thursday near Sherman Oaks, I lobbed a call to boxing promoter Dan Goossen, whose office is based there and is usually good for a tidbit or more of news.
"I'm at Sisley Italian Kitchen, come over, there's room at the table," Goossen said.
When I arrived, I found Goossen sitting at a table that has been occupied by some of the stars pictured on the wall -- Magic Johnson, Pete Rose, Frankie Valli -- and Goossen indeed broke news quickly as a nicely seasoned chicken breast landed in front of me and Rose's son, Tyler, joined us.
Goossen has added 2008 U.S. Olympian Javier Molina, 19, of Commerce, to his stable of young professionals that includes 2008 Olympian and middleweight Shawn Estrada and 2004 Olympian Andre Ward, also a middleweight.
He'll showcase Molina and East L.A.'s Estrada on March 27 during an ESPN card at Nokia Theatre in downtown L.A.
"We have two of the hottest young prospects in good weight divisions," Goossen said. "We've got the cream of the crop."
Arnulfo Bravo, a former Goossen fighter who's managing Molina and Estrada, said the Commerce fighter will appeal to L.A. fight fans because he "comes to fight, is smart, has a great personality." He's still in his senior year at John Glenn High in Norwalk, and Goossen wants to have the high school marching band play when Molina enters the Nokia ring next month.
"Amateur fighting is sort of like playing tag -- a big hit scores the same as a slap -- but now that Javier's in the pros, he can go for the KO," Bravo said.
Estrada is doing that, with knockouts in his first two fights.
Molina's brother, Oscar, will remain an amateur and attempt to qualify for the 2012 Summer Games as a member of Mexico's Olympic team, Bravo said.
Goossen has succeeded with young fighters before, with Michael Nunn and the Ruelas brothers, Gabe and Rafael. He's also excited about his recent addition, unbeaten junior-lightweight John Molina (15-0, 11 KOs) of Covina, who is also on the Nokia card. Goossen is so pumped about John Molina (no relation to Javier) that he urged me to watch a highlight reel of the constant-punching youngster.
-- Lance Pugmire