Nostalgia will be in the air when Memorial Auditorium's doors swing open Saturday night for the return of professional boxing to downtown Sacramento.
For promoter Don Chargin, returning to the historic building after a 10-year absence will be especially gratifying and emotional.
Chargin, 84, who has promoted numerous big fights at Memorial Auditorium, will do so this time without his wife and business partner, Lorraine, and veteran promotional assistant Sid Tenner.
Lorraine Chargin passed away in 2010 and Tenner in 2004. Don Chargin considered retirement but is now in his 61st year of promoting after encouragement from family and friends.
"It just won't be the same returning to Memorial without Lorraine and Sid, and a lot of nice people have told me that. But I know both would be happy we are finally bringing boxing back here," Chargin said.
A long list of Sacramento fighters, several eventual champions or contenders, passed through Memorial. In more recent years, they included Bobby Chacon, Tony Lopez, Loreto Garza, Pete Ranzany and Richard Savala. All have been invited as guests to Saturday's reunion.
"Going back there will be like a step back in time," Lopez said. "It's where boxing originated for me. It's going to be pretty cool."
While Memorial has history and a central location, it seats fewer than 4,000 fans. Consequently, its use, with rare exception, faded with the lure of a larger arena on the outskirts of town. But with fewer marquee area fighters now, cozier venues are in vogue again.
Veteran ring announcer Jim Hall is eager to work at Memorial again. "Going back brings back so many memories," he said. "You can almost hear the echoes from the great fights that took place there."
Fox Sports Network, not available to all viewers, will telecast the card, headed by a 10-round main event between world-ranked Yoshihiro Kamegai (21-0, 18 knockouts) of Japan and welterweight Jorge Silva (19-2-1, 15 KOs) of Mexico.
The first of eight preliminaries begins at 4 p.m. They include a 10-round lightweight fight between ex-world champion Jorge Linares (31-3, 20 KOs) of Venezuela and former title contender Hector Velazquez (52-17-3, 35 KOs) of Mexico.
The official weigh-in, open to the public, is at 4 p.m. today at the Purgatory Restaurant & Lounge near the auditorium. Advance tickets, priced from $20 to $60, are on sale at the Sacramento Convention Center box office.