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Title night turns into a game of revolving bouts

There are five title fights tonight at the MGM Grand, but three of the bouts involve substitute fighters.

Gilbert Baptist (28-16) suddenly became a championship challenger eight days ago, when he was picked to fight Gerald McClellan (29-2) for the WBC middleweight title after top-ranked Lamar Parks injured a shoulder.

Armand Picar, whose record is anywhere from 11-11-2 to 17-6-4, got a chance to challenge WBA junior middleweight champion Julio Cesar Vasquez when Rafael Pineda of Colombia dropped out.

Mike McCallum, 37, was training for a 10-round bout on the card when he learned a week ago that he would be fighting for a title. He will replace Jeff Harding of Australia, who was to defend the WBC light heavyweight title against Randall Yonker.

Harding, who has not fought since Dec. 3, 1992, suffered a cut in training. Since it was the sixth straight time Harding has pulled out of a fight for various reasons, the WBC said the McCullum-Yonker match will be for the interim title.

Walcott funeral: About 800 people attended a two-hour funeral for former heavyweight champion Jersey Joe Walcott in Haddonfield, N.J. Walcott, whose real name was Arnold Raymond Cream Sr., died last Friday in Camden at the age of 80.

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