Tom Sorensen

Short takes: Things done well – Fight Lab, Al Jefferson tribute, Pacquiao-Mayweather II

Former Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson, now with the Indiana Pacers, acknowledges the crowd’s applause with a wave during a first-half tribute at the Spectrum Center on Monday.
Former Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson, now with the Indiana Pacers, acknowledges the crowd’s applause with a wave during a first-half tribute at the Spectrum Center on Monday. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

I’ve heard about the golden age of Charlotte boxing when fans filled gyms to watch Golden Gloves. Those days ended long ago. A promoter really has to earn it now. The most successful fight promoters in the 35 years I’ve lived in Charlotte are Fight Lab. They’re organized, they’re professional and they deliver.

Fight Lab, which was founded in 2009, has a mixed martial arts card Saturday at CenterStage@NODA. It sold out in eight days. The building is more likely to feature a wedding reception or a rehearsal dinner than a front kick or a snap elbow. But I’ve seen boxing there, and it works.

If I said I liked mixed martial arts the way I like boxing I’d be lying. But I know how difficult promoting in Charlotte is. There is a market, and Fight Lab has found it.

▪  The Hornets offered a classy scoreboard tribute to former center Al Jefferson when he was in town Monday with his Pacers. Along with being a good player with sometimes unstoppable old-school moves, Jefferson is a classy guy.

▪  Manny Pacquiao, 37, easily defeated Jessie Vargas Saturday in their welterweight title fight. Vargas, the champ, had come in with a record of 27-1. The victory means there’s the possibility or even probability of a Pacquiao rematch with Floyd Mayweather. I paid more than $100 in 2015 to watch Mayweather dominate Pacquiao. Love to see Pacquiao pull an upset. But I’m not sure I can pay $100 again. Although the fight would lack the allure it did the first time around, prices tend not to go down.

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Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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