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Boxing brings full house to Sharpsburg

| Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
The USA Boxing Pride of Pittsburgh Boxing Show at the Linden Gym in Sharpsburg brought a huge crowd. After 201 lb. match up, Mike Manna of Ray Schafer Boxing talks to 'The Pittsburgh Kid,' Paul Spadafora, and trainer Jose Caraballo, 'The Puerto Rican Prince.'
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Jose Caraballo III stands proudly with his champ belt in the 95 lb. catagory at the USA Boxing Pride of Pittsburgh Boxing Show. On right is his sister Julianna Caraballo.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
All ages turned out at the Sharpsburg Linden Gym for the Pride of Pittsburgh boxing show.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Jake Quinlan boxes in the 132 lb. sub-novice catagory from the Ray Schafer Boxing againest Damien Addison from Braddock Boxing during the USA Boxing Show in Sharpsburg.

In the movie “Field of Dreams,” a key line was “If you build it, he will come.”

A boxing ring was built in Sharpsburg's Linden Gymnasium for Saturday night's Pride of Pittsburgh fight card, and he came. By he, I mean the Pittsburgh Kid, Paul Spadafora.

And just like at the end of the movie, he was joined by a host of sports fans who came to see the show.

The folks in Sharpsburg had reason to be proud.

The gym, despite some stifling heat inside, was jammed.

Fight patrons were using their programs as fans. There weren't many openings in the bleachers, though, as Sharpsburg's Jose Caraballo and fight promoter Howard Swimmer, president of HRS Management, got the word out.

For one night anyhow, boxing was king in Sharpsburg.

The night began with Richard Panza, the mayor of Sharpsburg, thanking everybody for coming out.

He gave special mention to Caraballo, whose boxing nickname is The Puerto Rican Prince.

Panza suggested to Caraballo's mother that, for this night, his nickname should be changed to The Sharpsburg Prince for all Jose's done for the town in his efforts to get the kids off the street.

Kia Starr then got the ball rolling with a dazzling acapella version of the Star-Bangled Banner.

Then, the 13 bouts began.

I had never viewed fights from a ringside press table so that was a unique experience for me.

The action was fast and furious and I heard the grunts and groans of the fighters and the between-round instructions from the managers.

As for Spadafora's appearance, I'm sure his presence inspired the young fighters to put on a better show and they may have been hoping to achieve his level of success in the future.

I was willing to sign autographs if necessary. As is the norm, it wasn't necessary.

I'll bounce back.

I'm sure that Caraballo and Swimmer were ecstatic about the turnout.

And the fans got their money's worth.

Sharpsburg was a jumping little town on Saturday night and there's a strong possibility that the next series of “Pride of Pittsburgh” fights will return to Caraballo's hometown.

The format dictates that the winners have to defend their title within 40 to 45 days and Caraballo would like nothing better than to have Sharpsburg host the next round.

So that would mean that there could possibly be another boxing night in Sharpsburg by October.

I plan to be there and again, if necessary, I will sign autographs unless I am instructed to leave my Sharpie at home.

It has never been used, ya know.

Ahh, the joy and euphoric rush of self-deprecation.

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or mstewart@tribweb.com.

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