ATLANTIC CITY - Somers Point middleweight Isiah Seldon's reward for winning a friendly football wager with manager Jim Kurtz will be on display in the ring tonight at Tropicana Casino and Resort.
Seldon, son of former heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon, is an avid Denver Broncos fan. Kurtz, a Buena Vista Township resident, makes trips to Pittsburgh a few times a year to watch his beloved Steelers. When the two teams met in the AFC wild-card round of the playoffs last month ago, Seldon (5-0, 2 KOs) agreed to wear the winning team's colors for his four-round bout against Kenneth Moody (2-2-2, 1 KO), of Norfok, Va.
"I figured the Steelers would be in the Super Bowl on Sunday and Isiah would be wearing black and gold for his fight," Kurtz said during a press conference at the The Palm restaurant at the Tropicana. "He was going to be wearing (Steelers linebacker) James Harrison jersey with black and gold trunks and shoes."
Seldon's wardrobe changed when Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow connected with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas for an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of overtime to give the Broncos a 29-23 victory over the Steelers.
Instead, Seldon will be clad in orange and blue, including a Tebow jersey.
"That was sweet," Seldon said. "I'm a big Broncos fan."
Tonight's fight represents another step in Seldon's bid to develop into a contender and possibly a champion.
Unlike most professional boxers, the 23-year-old had no amateur career. As a result, he has undergone on-the-job training under the guidance of co-trainers Bill Johnson and Bruce Seldon.
Kurtz, who handled the latter stages of Bruce Seldon's career, has pitted Isiah against opponents with a variety of styles. His first three foes - victories over Damion Reed, Jason Johns and Todd Eriksson - were all known for their straight-ahead, aggressive approaches. Juan Zapata and Artie Bembury were more skilled. Moody is regarded as a slicker fighter who relies on his boxing skills.
"Isiah's progressing very well, but we're looking for him to keep getting better every fight," Bruce Seldon said. "If he wins this fight and stays undefeated, the competition is only going to get stiffer. There are some real animals out there in his weight class."
He also carries the extra burden of being Bruce Seldon's son. Bruce Seldon, now 45, won the WBA heavyweight title in 1995 by beating Tony Tucker and made one successful defense against Joe Hipp before suffering a first-round knockout against Mike Tyson a year later.
The elder Seldon gave up boxing for nearly eight years before mounting a comeback in 2004. He fashioned a 6-4 record before retiring after a ninth-round TKO loss to Fres Oquendo three years ago.
"I always wanted to be a fighter, but I waited a while because I was afraid that people would think I was trying to live off my dad's name," Isiah Seldon said. "There are still people who are expecting me to do what he did, but I've got a long way to go before I can even think about reaching that level.
"Of course, I would love to make it to his level someday, but I'm still green and learning how to fight. I'll always be Bruce Seldon's son, but I want to make a name for myself in this sport. I'm doing this for me."
PUNCHLINES: Isiah Seldon-Moody is among nine fights on the card, which is being promoted by Vineland native Diane Lee Fischer. Paulsboro heavyweight Chazz Witherspoon (28-2, 20 KOs) will face David Saulsberry (7-4, 7 KOs) in an eight-round co-feature. In the 10-round main event, Virginia Beach, Va. lightweight Dorin Spivey (40-6, 29 KOs) will meet Philadelphian Victor Vasquez (14-5-1, 7 KOs) for the vacant NABA crown.
Doors to Tropicana's Showroom open a 7:30 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 8 p.m. Tickets range from $40 to $100 and are available at pressofatlanticcity.com/tickets. The card will also be shown on gofightlive.tv.