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LaPorte: 'I'm ready' for a fight

Juan LaPorte puts his North American Boxing Federation superfeatherweight title on the line tonight against Rogelio Lopez.

The two are scheduled to go 12 rounds at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tampa.

LaPorte, 35-9 with 19 knockouts, won the title in 1988 when he stopped Nicky Perez in the 12th round. This is his third title defense.

"I don't know nothing about Lopez," said LaPorte, who held the WBC world featherweight crown from 1982 to 1984. "I came down here ready to fight. I think the one who's in trouble is him. Right now, I'm ready."

Lopez, 14-9-3 with nine knockouts, is a late addition to the card.

Ranked as the No. 9 contender by the NABF, Lopez was added to the card when Dennis Cruz was forced to withdraw because of arthroscopic surgery to his knee.

Fight matchmaker Chuck Covello characterized Lopez as a brawler, and that has LaPorte drooling.

"I like brawlers, guys who come to fight," the 130-pound LaPorte said. "I don't like to be chasing guys around." Also on the card is a scheduled 10-round bout between welterweights Kenneth Gould, 1988 Olympic bronze medalist at that weight, and Jorge Maysonnet.

Maysonnet, 21-5 with 19 knockouts, will be the toughest opponent Gould (11-0, seven KO's) has faced since turning professional in 1988.

Rounding out the card is a six-round heavyweight match between Tom Sandner and Roy Bedwell and three four-round bouts, including a heavyweight matchup featuring Mitch "King Kong" Sammons and Rufus Tate.

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