Member of The Press sports staff since 1986, starting my 25th season as The Press Eagles' beat writer. Also cover boxing, MMA, golf, high school sports and everything else.

Osmonds meet the Weinbergs

Sports columnist Dave Weinberg, left, and wife Karen, third from left, got a chance to meet Donny and Marie Osmond after the Osmonds’ concert Saturday.

Something’s wrong with this picture.

It’s a photo of my wife and me backstage at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa with Donnie and Marie Osmond following their holiday concert Saturday night.

We got a chance to meet them as winners of a contest in which Marie invited everyone in the audience to Tweet their seat information to her before the show. As a result, we went from Row J in the risers at the Event Center to the front row, then met them backstage for a photo.

Our odds of winning were pretty good, considering I was probably one of the few people in the audience with a Twitter account. Most of the seats were filled with women aged 55-65 who no doubt had posters of Donny on their bedroom walls and subscriptions to “Tiger Beat” Magazine as young teenagers in the early 1970s.

My wife was in that group. Karen happily sang along when 61-year-old Donny broke into “Puppy Love” on Saturday night.

It could have been worse. He could have launched into “Go Away Little Girl.”

Truth be told, it was a very entertaining show. Donny and Marie struck me as genuine people who are not afraid to laugh at themselves, and each other. And both are fantastic singers.

But I would have much preferred to be Tweeting and taking pics from ringside at Saturday’s Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury heavyweight championship fight.

The problem was, the fight was not at Boardwalk Hall.

Wilder and Fury staged their epic bout at the Staples Center in Los Angeles while Boardwalk Hall opted to hold a Southern Rock concert featuring the Marshall Tucker Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

After Donny and Marie, I managed to make it home in time to shell out the $75 on pay per view to watch Wilder and Fury battle to a draw in a wild, thrilling, fight that brought out the best in both boxers. Fury looked to be down and out for the count in the 12th round but channeled his inner Undertaker and somehow managed to get up.

There was a time when that fight would have been in Atlantic City. From 1987 to around 2003, virtually all of the big heavyweight bouts were held on the Boardwalk.

Thousands of fans packed Boardwalk Hall to see Mike Tyson knock out Tyrell Biggs, Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, Alex Stewart and Carl Williams. The roars would start as soon as Tyson climbed into the ring, clad in black trunks and a white towel with a hole in the middle serving as his robe.

Evander Holyfield-George Foreman drew 20,000 to the arena in 1991. That same year, Ray Mercer rallied to stop Tommy Morrison with a violent barrage of punches that left Morrison dangling helplessly on the ropes.

Lennox Lewis dominated Tommy Morrison, Andrew Golota and Shannon Briggs there from 1995-98.

But more than a decade has passed since the last big heavyweight fight was held in town.

The last one was June 2, 2007, when Sultan Ibragimov won the WBO title with a unanimous decision over Briggs at Boardwalk Hall.

It’s time to end the drought. Wilder and Fury are planning a rematch in the spring.

Boardwalk Hall would be perfect.

British boxing fans would flock to town to watch Fury, just like they did when Lewis, former super-middleweight champion Carl Froch, former featherweight champ Prince Naseem Hamed and others fought there.

Wilder, who fought at Boardwalk Hall in an undercard bout in 2013, has become the face of the heavyweight division. He has a magnetic personality and the kind of raw power that really hasn’t been seen since Tyson.

Atlantic City is often seeking events to bring people to town. This would definitely do that. Let’s see the Atlantic City Sports Commission, Casino Association of New Jersey, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and casino properties join forces and find a way to bring Wilder-Fury II to Boardwalk Hall.


I really don’t want to see Barry Manilow in concert again.

David Weinberg’s Extra Points column appears Wednesdays and Sundays in The Press.

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Contact: 609-272-7201 Twitter @PressACWeinberg

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