Paragon’s Plans to Keeppunching
Before the bell rings or a single punch is thrown, a group of extraordinary people will have already scored an impressive boxing victory.
February 29’s “Friday Night Fights” broadcast from the Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville, Louisiana, featuring IBF #1-rated Sechew “Iron Horse” Powell (23-1, 13 KOs) and IBF and WBO #14-rated Allan “Sweetness” Green (26-1, 18 KOs) in dual main events, will mark the culmination of a lengthy group effort to bring world-class professional boxing to Central Louisiana.
“I think it’s huge we’re sponsoring a major televised boxing event,” says Linda Bordelon, Vice-President of Public Relations for the Paragon. “I know the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe is tremendously proud of getting to this point. They fought hard for this; they deserve it and we’re all thrilled to have it.”
Known as the “Pearl of Louisiana”, the Paragon was constructed on Tunica-Biloxi Tribe land in 1994 and has quickly expanded to a sprawling 1,000,000 + square-foot resort that rivals anything Las Vegas can offer. With cypress trees and live alligators in its newly constructed eight-story glass atrium, over 2000 slot machines, the full complement of gaming tables, three hotel towers, a top-rated golf course and seven restaurants among its many amenities, the Paragon has turned a once-rural area into one of the country’s newest hot spots.
So what does a casino traditionally do once it’s all dressed up? It goes out for a night of world-class boxing.
David Rivas, Director of Political Affairs for the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe as well as the first independent Native American boxing promoter in history, says that while the Paragon has hosted boxing in the past, this amazing coup to stage a major event started with a call to Louisiana-based husband-and-wife boxing promoters Mickey and Kerry Daigle of Keeppunching Entertainment.
“Kerry is a dear friend of mine. When they asked me who I thought could handle the boxing program for the Paragon, I recommended Keeppunching immediately. Mickey and Kerry are honorable people.”
The Daigles began their Paragon tenure by putting on well-attended shows featuring local favorites such as Blake “Candyman” Prevost and “The Fighting Marine” Kasha Chamblin.
Then one day came word that a televised date, originally to be hosted by “The Contender” series of promotions, was suddenly available. Through some quick moves, Keeppunching was able to put together this sensational card and make the fight happen at the Paragon.
Kerry Daigle, KPE Director of Boxing to his wife Mickey’s role as promoter, says it took some fast maneuvering.
“When I heard that The Contender had other plans, I spent hours on the phone coming up with an idea for a blockbuster show. When I had a plan put together, I called up my good friend Leon Margules (Head of Florida-based Warrior’s Boxing) and together with Allan Green’s promoter Tony Holden, we approached ESPN and finalized arrangements for this incredible double-main-event evening, one of the best nights of boxing that will be seen on ESPN this year.”
Bordelon calls the big show a “coming out party,” for the Paragon and for Louisiana boxing. “We’re looking forward to having folks around the country find out about our outstanding facilities. In the Mari Center (Mari means “gathering” in the Tunica Biloxi Tribal language) there are only 2200 seats, so when you sit in this newly updated facility, it’s like being at a very intimate gathering, but with all the modern technology and features that a much larger facility would have: great lighting and wonderful sound. The exposure through ESPN is wonderful for us. This will encourage people who have never visited Marksville to come and enjoy everything you could want from a top casino resort and the best southern hospitality on the planet to go with it.”
When the bright lights go up and the cameras roll that February Friday night, one of the big winners will be the group who were able to collectively put it all together. While Las Vegas is known as the world’s champion of top-level boxing, a hungry, young contender has emerged in Marksville, Louisiana.
And they’re working hard on taking Vegas’s title away some day.