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Area trainer in line for second honor
By JOHN C. COTEY
Published March 5, 2006
MANCHESTER, England - Dan Birmingham is expected to be named by the Boxing Writers Association of America winner of the Futch-Condon Award honoring the sport's best trainer.
It would be the second straight year Birmingham earned the award - he won in 2004 after guiding Winky Wright and Jeff Lacy to titles, as well as two defenses apiece.
In 2005, Wright turned in one of boxing's most impressive masterpieces by shutting down middleweight Felix Trinidad in May, and Lacy defended his IBF super-middleweight title three times.
Both fighters looked much improved over the previous year, likely impressing voters.
Birmingham has continued to expand his stable, adding super-middleweight contender Chad Dawson, who was unbeaten in 2005, former Contender boxer Joey Gilbert, and a handful of younger professionals just starting out.
MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE: Malcolm Glazer's soccer club stole the front page headline from Joe Calzaghe and Lacy, as the Manchester Evening News blared: "Angry fans to sue Reds over cup final ticket fiasco."
According to the paper, more than 100 Manchester United supporters couldn't attend last week's League Cup final match against Wigan Athletic in Wales after their tickets were lost in the mail.
Man U, which Glazer controls along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, refused to offer refunds.
The fans have joined with the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association to pursue legal action, claiming Glazer and Co. pocketed roughly $13,000. United blames the host stadium.
HO-HUM: With soccer in full swing, some big rugby games on tap and England and India going at it on the cricket pitch, Calzaghe-Lacy has received little press in Manchester.
Saturday, the paper wrote eight paragraphs on the fight, while writing a lengthy feature on local boxer Thomas McDonagh with a big picture.
Calzaghe is from Wales, and has made no secret he pulls for his boys on the soccer field when they play England. Half-Italian as well, he also has been quoted as saying he pulls for the Italian national team over England, no way to win fans here.
BAD CHAD: Speaking of Dawson, he was the only other American fighter on the card, which featured a number of European championship bouts. Dawson manhandled Jamie Hearn in three rounds, putting him down twice with uppercuts in the final round before the referee stopped it.
RECORD CROWD: The expected 18,000-20,000 was the biggest crowd Calzaghe has fought in front of, topping the 14,000 or so in his hometown of Cardiff. It was also the biggest crowd to see Lacy, topping the 16,800 who saw him stop Robin Reid last fall at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa.
ALRIGHTY THEN: Best nickname of the night goes to Ojay Abrahams, who goes by "Me, Myself and I." Worst record of the night? His too: 20 wins, 66 losses.
NO COUCH POTATO: Hometown hero Ricky Hatton, who had a very public and acrimonious split from promoter Frank Warren because he wanted more fights in America, said all week he was going to watch from his couch. But the WBA and IBF super-lightweight champ changed his mind and showed up to big cheers from the crowd.