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Mesi Fight Attracts HBO, the Boxing World to Buffalo

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Hometown support for undefeated heavyweight boxer Baby Joe Mesi is the reason HBO and promoters are bringing a huge boxing event to Buffalo this weekend. Fighters met with reporters at HSBC Arena Thursday.

Promoters say they are expecting the "largest walk up crowd" in the history of HSBC this Saturday for the "Night of the Heavyweights" featuring Baby Joe. Xavier James, vice president of HBO sports programming, says the event was originally schedule to take place last month in Atlantic City. But when promoters added Baby Joe Mesi to the line up, it was postponed and moved to Buffalo.

"We at HBO love any town that supports the sport of boxing they way Buffalo does, so we are happy to be here," James said. "We go to many towns that are not that supportive of either hometown heroes or the sport of boxing, so we love coming to towns that support their heroes and boxing they way Buffalo does."

One promoter even referred to Buffalo as a "boxing town." Baby Joe says he's thrilled to help put the region in the spotlight.

But Mesi says he believes he is the "most underrated" boxer participating in the event that will feature seven match ups.

"Because I'm smaller, too nice, too white, or whatever the reason is, I'm probably the most underrated," Mesi said. "But I think I'm going to surprise every one Saturday night."

But with all the support Mesi has in this region, his opponent DaVarrl Williamson says he's been asked if Buffalo was a hostile environment.

"The people of Buffalo have been absolutely wonderful, from the airport to the hotels to the food," Williamson said. "This is a wonderful experience."

Williamson's manager says he's envious of Mesi's support and has never witnessed anything like it in the boxing business.