Wednesday, November 28
Lance Whitaker: Just call me 'Goofi'

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Rock Newman notes that it took a long time for the media to respect Cassius Clay's change of name to Muhammad Ali, and the manager doesn't want that to happen to his fighter.

In a big announcement at a Wednesday news conference for an interesting heavyweight doubleheader Saturday, it was revealed that Lance Whitaker had filed application to officially change his first name to Goofi.

The name change is "about a human being who wants to have fun in life," Newman said with a straight face.

Goofi wants to be a role model to children.

"Besides," an observer said, "Mickey Mouse already was taken."

The 29-year-old Whitaker, once billed as Mount Whitaker because of his 6-foot-8, 250-pound size, will fight Jameel McCline in the 12-round feature match of an HBO "Boxing After Dark" doubleheader at the Jacob K. Javits Center.

In a 10-round fight, David Izon will fight unbeaten Fres Oquendo of Puerto Rico.

The telecast will be seen at 10:30 p.m. ET and at 10:30 p.m. PT.

Whitaker (23-1, 19 knockouts) of Granda Hills, Calif., is ranked No. 5 by the WBA and sixth by both the WBC and IBF. He has won five straight fights since losing a 10-round decision to Lou Savarese in 1999. In his last two fights, he stopped Robert Davis and knocked out Oleg Maskaev, both in the second round.

The 30-year-old McCline (26-2-3, 16 knockouts) of Newark, N.J., turned pro at age 25 after serving five years in prison for gun running. The 6-6 McCline certainly would gain a ranking with a victory. In his last fight, he knocked down former contender Michael Grant with the first punch of the fight and stopped him in 43 seconds.

Izon (27-3, 23 knockouts), a 33-year-old native of Nigeria living at Pensacola, Fla., will be fighting for the first time in a little more than 13 months after fights against Mike Tyson and then WBC-IBF heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman fell through. In fact, he was supposed to challenge WBC champion Wladimir Klitschko of Germany on Saturday night, but Klitschko withdrew because of a shoulder injury.

The 28-year-old Oquendo (21-0, 12 knockouts) was training for a Dec. 7 fight when he got the chance to fight Izon on HBO. In his last two fights, he stopped Clifford Etienne in the eighth round and knocked out Obed Sullivan in the 11th round. He is ranked fourth by the WBC and fifth by IBF.

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