By: Sean Crose
Friday night will see the final fight card go down in the arena on Dana Shores Drive in Tampa, Florida. Once known as the Egypt Shrine Temple, the A La Carte Event Pavilion will be hosting its 99th and last evening of boxing this evening. According to All Star Boxing, Inc, the promotional entity behind the night’s bouts, “the main event Friday will be a ten-round super bantamweight bout between Daniel Lozano (14-4, 11 KOs) from Bowling Green, Florida against Ricardo Rodriguez (16-4, 5 KOs) from Mexico City, Mexico now residing in Los Angeles, California.” Tuto Zabala, President of All Star Boxing, Inc, has clear memories of the arena’s boxing history.
“Many promoters have done shows in this building,” he says. “I remember when Brad Jacobs back in the 80’s was doing boxing shows in that I building.” Needless to say, Zabala is pleased to be a part of this evening’s card. “I feel privileged and honored,” he says, “for All Star Boxing, Inc and the Telemundo Network to bid farewell to such an iconic building for boxing fans in Tampa, Florida.” The list of known fighters who have plied their trade in the arena at one time or other is quite impressive.
One particularly memorable fight went down in August of 1984, “when future world champion John ‘The Beast’ Mugabi won by TKO against Frank “The Animal” Fletcher.” Yet there were far more big names than just Mugabi who stepped inside the arena’s ring over the years. Former heavyweight champion James “Bonecrusher” Smith fought there. Former light welterweight kingpin Frankie Randall fought there. What’s more, super featherweight Ender Cherry fought the first fifteen bouts of his career there, as well. Perhaps most notable to modern fans, however, current welterweight star Keith “One Time” Thurman made his professional debut at the arena in 2007.
All Star Boxing, Inc itself has had a notable history at the arena. For the entity “promoted it’s first show at A La Carte in 2010 and Friday’s event will be it’s 19th there.” According to a press release: “Egypt Shrine Temple hosted it’s first of twenty-seven boxing events on October 24, 1982 and the last on November 13, 1998. The first of seventy one boxing events under the present name of A La Carte Event Pavilion took place on April 13, 2002.” That’s a lot of boxing to be held in a place many fight fans unfortunately may have never heard of.
The A La Carte Event Pavilion “was recently sold and faces December demolition.”