The former Great Western Forum has seen better days. During its heyday, it was the venue that featured Magic Johnson and his “Showtime” cast, Wayne Gretzky’s debut with the Los Angeles Kings and many other great moments in sports and entertainment. It was an arena that once ran an in-house boxing promotion, “The Forum Club” and featured the top fighters of the time.
It was the place to be for all sporting and entertainment events in the Greater Los Angeles Area until the Staples Center opened its doors in late 1999.
With Staples Center now the place to be, the major events moved from Inglewood to Downtown Los Angeles, and the Forum began to collect dust. For more than a decade, the Forum did nothing more than serve as an occasional concert venue. It wasn’t until 2012 that it would see the light again when the Madison Square Garden Group purchased the arena and began a remodeling project that would cost over $60 million. The new forum opened its doors in 2014 with consecutive concerts by rocks and roll legends, The Eagles.
Boxing will return to the Forum on May 17 and in a big way when Mexican superstar Juan Manuel Marquez faces off against Mike Alvarado. The winner will be the mandatory opponent for the winner of Bradley-Pacquiao II. The venue will be a familiar setting for Marquez, who fought in the old Forum 12 times, and if he is not victorious against Alvarado, it could perhaps be his last. At 40 years of age, and as one of the most decorated Mexican fighters of all time, there is not much more he needs to prove.
The new Forum looks to rebuild the significant boxing following it had through the 70s, 80s, and 90s; with an event headlined by Marquez and a must-see fighter in Alvarado, they are off to a great start.