Bernard Fernandez: Nakash gets title bout as a consolation

IT HAS BEEN said that when a window of opportunity closes, another one opens. You just have to find where the breeze is coming from.

Hard to say how often that adage holds true, but it certainly appears to be the case for Israeli cruiserweight Ran Nakash, 32, who is familiar to Philadelphia fight fans after logging 11 ring appearances here, including 10 at the now-shuttered Blue Horizon.

Nakash (25-0, 18 KOs) reportedly was in line for a Feb. 24 matchup with Bobby Gunn (21-4-1, 18 KOs) at Harrah's Chester, but the entire card - if indeed, it ever had been scheduled - was scratched as the result of a dispute between promoter Joey Eye and Nakash's American adviser, Don Elbaum.

"Nobody's going to come to see Ran Nakash anyway," said Eye, who staged a successful March 18 show at Harrah's Chester without Elbaum's involvement. "They never did. Don would spend all that money to bring the guy over and he'd sell, what, 10 tickets? It makes no sense."

Perhaps it would have been financially imprudent to stage Nakash-Gunn in a 950-seat room, but Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle, Germany, is a considerably larger venue, with a capacity of 12,300. Expect a large number of those seats to be filled Saturday when Nakash, a late replacement for Italy's Giacobbe Fragomeni, challenges WBO cruiser champion Marco Huck (31-1, 23 KOs). Huck, a 26-year-old Serbian who lives in Germany, is very popular in his adopted homeland.

Garcia in toughest test

It will be another battle of the ages on April 9 when Danny "Swift" Garcia (20-0, 14 KOs), the rising junior welterweight contender from the city's Juniata section, squares off against former lightweight titlist Nate Campbell (33-7-1, 25 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Campbell, who is 39 and has a 21-year-old daughter, announced his retirement from the ring following his most recent bout, an eight-round, split-decision loss to Walter Estrada on Nov. 27. But aging fighters coming back for another payday and another shot at glory is a familiar story, and Campbell believes he has enough tread on his tires to surprise Garcia, who just turned 23.

Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Garcia, obviously wants a "name" opponent like Campbell to go onto the Philadelphian's resume, but remember this: GBP is working the other side of the generational divide, backing 46-year-old legend Bernard Hopkins (51-5-2, 32 KOs) in his May 21 rematch with WBC light-heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KOs), who is 18 years B-Hop's junior.

Sometimes youth is served, but not always.

Young wives' tale

Filipino superstars Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire are two of the five best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, but it's likely their relationship has gone frosty of late, and not just because Donaire, the WBC/WBO bantamweight champion, has left Top Rank, which promotes WBO welterweight titlist Pacquiao, for Golden Boy.

I would have loved to have been in Manila Friday for the Flash Elorde Boxing Awards Banquet that was attended by both fighters and, I have been told, their feuding wives.

Rachel Donaire, who is her husband's business manager, told she thinks Top Rank founder Bob Arum purposefully suppressed Nonito's international exposure by declining to have him appear on cards headlined by Pacquiao, the world's most recognizable boxer.

"We figured that because Bob Arum kept marketing [Donaire] as the next Manny Pacquiao, [Top Rank] would market him with Manny," Rachel Donaire said. "But a simple thing like being on the same show on the undercard was not done in the last 3 years . . . That would have helped with the fan followings if Nonito had been on the same HBO cards as Manny."

Arum countered that Rachel Donaire dresses, um, inappropriately and is jealous of Pacquiao's wife, Jinkee.

"I don't think the Filipino people like [Donaire], and that largely is because of her," Arum said of Rachel. "She criticizes the way Jinkee dresses and [Rachel] is all tarted up. Jinkee dresses like a lady. Facts are facts."

Punch lines

North Philly super middleweight Farah Ennis (17-0, 11 KOs) takes on Alexander Johnson (10-0, 4 KOs), of Oxon Hill, Md., in the 10-round main event Saturday at Bally's Atlantic City . . . It's Polish-born, Atlantic City-based middleweight Patrick Majewski against an opponent to be named in the marquee bout Thursday at The Arena in South Philly . . . Another Polish fighter, heavyweight contender Tomasz Adamek (43-1, 28 KOs), will give away 4 1/2 inches and 70 or so pounds when he faces 6-6, 285-pound Kevin McBride (35-8-1, 29 KOs) on April 9 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. McBride is best known for his June 11, 2005, upset of Mike Tyson that sent the rusted Iron Mike into retirement. McBride is 37 and has lost four of his last five bouts . . .

I bumped into sportscasting legend Nick Charles on Saturday in Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall, where he was calling his final fight, Miguel "Mikey" Garcia's 10th-round stoppage of Matt Remillard, for HBO. Charles has stage 4 bladder cancer and has, at best, a few weeks to live, but he was as upbeat as ever. What a class act, and a study in courage. *

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