By Jackie Kallen
Jimmy Lange is one of the most popular fighters on the east coast. He draws huge crowds every time he fights on his home turf of Fairfax, VA. He fills the Patriot Center with thousands of devotees who don’t care who he is fighting as long as they get to see their man in the ring. He always gives them an exciting night.
With a solid record of 38-4-2, Lange is a crowd-pleaser who gained even more notoriety when he was a regular on the NBC series “The Contender.” Though he didn’t win the $1,000,000 prize, he was brought back as a “crowd favorite” and has continued to accumulate new fans. He has dabbled a bit in acting and has done several charity events with celebs like Mario Lopez and Ryan O’Neal.
On October 27, Lange will face Tony Jeter, a 14-3-1 boxer from the Maryland area. Jeter has KOed more than half of his opponents so the Lange camp is not taking him lightly.
“I personally don’t like the guy,” said Lange, “which can get dangerous for me. I’m best when I leave my emotions out of the ring. I did not like Joey Gilbert and you saw what that cost me. I lost my focus and walked into something.”
Admittedly, Lange does not consider Jeter to be in the same league as Mayweather, Pacman or Alvarez. But Lange has yet to get his one big chance to play in the Super Bowl or go to bat in the World Series. He generally beats whomever is put in front of him, but none of his opponents to date have enabled him to climb to the top of his weight division. To be the best–you have to beat the best.”
“I realize that I am not a superstar,” explained Lange, “but I am a damn good fighter and I believe that on any given night I have the ability to beat anyone in my weight class. I am in great shape and I just need that opportunity.”
In a dream world where anything was possible, Lange can see himself fighting the winner of the Cotto/Trout fight. Lange has been lined up to fight Trout a couple of times, only to have the fights fall through. When Chuck Wepner fought Ali in 1975, it inspired Sylvester Stallone to create the “Rocky” series. It also inspires boxers like Jimmy Lange to reach for the stars.
I think that the big promoters should look at Lange and the see the possibilities of giving this local hero his shot. If the fight were in VA–it would be standing-room-only. It would play out just like a movie. The handsome, personable fighter who is the loving father of five children facing the big, bad champion would be a very marketable event. Everyone loves the under-dog and Lange knows he would not be the favorite against the Cottos and Trouts of the world.
“That’s OK. It’s sometimes an advantage when people underestimate you. I truly believe that I would be able to dig deep and put on a hell of a performance against any of the tops names in my division. After 44 professional bouts, I have paid my dues. I want my chance.”
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen