PUNCHLINES -- BY CHARLIE ROSS

An Outdoor Evening of Championship Boxing

Son of Tom McNeeley To Make Pro Debut on Undercard


Boston University's 18,000-seat Nickerson Field will be the site of a charity boxing extravaganza Friday evening, August 23rd.

Promoted by Goodwin Athletic Club Promoter Al Valenti (in association with radio personality Eddie Andelman), an attempt is being made to provide a comfortable atmosphere for the entire family "at a major league sporting event at a minor league pricing." Valenti has announced that no alcohol will be allowed or sold on the premises and children under age 12, accompanied by an adult, will be admitted FREE of charge.

Malden's Johnny Rafuse Main Events against Worcester's Miguel Santana for the New England Welterweight Championship, and a tremendous undercard pits Derreck Sheppard (Norwalk, CT) vs Manny Santiago (Lowell) for the N.E. Bantamweight Title; Joey Negron (Worcester) vs. Julio DeJesus (Holyoke) for the N.E. Featherweight Title; Ray Oliveira (New Bedford) vs. Junior Rodriguez (Norwalk, CT) for the Lightweight Title; Sean Fitzgerald (Worcester) vs. Harold Souther (Lowell) for the Middleweight Title; Drake Thadzi (Randolph) vs. an opponent to be announced for the N.E. Light Heavyweight Title; and Marc Machain (Rutland, VT) vs. Paul Poirier (New Bedford) for the N.E. Heavyweight Title.

In addition to the scheduled 70 rounds of championship boxing, the undercard will also feature up-and-coming Edwin Santana, of Lowell, and the professional debuts of amateur champions Ralph Chaplic and Peter McNeeley. McNeeley's debut has generated considerable interest because his father Tom was a popular heavyweight contender of the 1960's and fought Floyd Patterson for the World Heavyweight Title nearly 30 years ago.

PROMOTER AL VALENTI WITH BOXERS PETER McNEELEY AND JOHNNY RAFUSE
PROMOTER AL VALENTI and two of his headliners...Peter McNeeley, who is readying for his Professional debut as a Heavyweight, and Main Eventer "Rapid" Johnny Rafuse (Left to Right).

Tickets are priced $100 for Front Row Reserved Ringside (all money going to the Jimmy Fund); $75 for Second Row Reserved Ringside (all money going to the Joey Fund); $50 for Third Row Reserved Ringside (all money to Friends of BU Athletics). Remaining tickets are $25 for all other Reserved Ringside, $9 for Reserved Grandstand, and $6 for General Admission.

"This event takes Goodwin AC's continuing commitment to provide top quality boxing shows at affordable prices one step further," Valenti stated at the recent press conference at "Champions" downtown, adding "All but 1,000 seats will be priced under $10. Where else can a family of four, sitting in general admission seats, attend a professional sporting event for $12 these days?"

TOM McNEELEY, PETER McNEELEY AND VINNIE VECCHIONE
PETER McNEELEY greets his dad, Tom (L), and Trainer Vinnie Vecchione (R) at the Boston Press Conference held at "Champions."   (Photos by Jack Hurley)

Tickets may be purchased in advance at Ticket Pro (located in most Video Paradises and Sports fun Attics), Hub Ticket, Pat's Ticket Concourse (Waltham), Open Door Ticket (Brockton) and Valenti's Ticket Agency, Canal St., Boston (720-FITE).

Doors open at 6:00 P.M. First Bout at 6:30 P.M. See you Ringside!


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Name the only middleweight champion to win the heavyweight title? (answer elsewhere).


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Ring 4's Mickey Flynn (Brighton) has joined an ever-growing New England Cauliflower Alley Club membership. Interested? If you boxed or wrestled, past or present (or were directly involved in these sports in other capacities), request an application from your writer by sending a postcard to P.O. Box 133, So. Boston, MA 02127. Associate membership are also available to "Super" fight fans.


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There's another fighter nicknamed "Boom Boom" on the horizon...Tom Johnson, of Detroit...and he looks to be a shoo-in for the IBF's Featherweight Championship in a "go" that should occur within six months (according to IBF by-laws) against Troy Dorsey. "Boom Boom" is a 26-yr. old Evansville, Indiana native, and was elevated to the No. 1 contending spot on the strength of his lifetime mark (24-1-1), with 16 of those wins inside the distance. He is trained by Robert Mitchell and managed by Keith Grissom, and is also ranked No. 5 by the World Boxing Association, and No. 9 by the World Boxing Council. His only career defeat came last summer at the hands of Harold Warren.


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Answer: Bob Fitzsimmons


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"Count" Billy Varga pens in from the West Coast, informing us that "Dub" Harris has completed his stint as President of the World Boxing Hall of Fame (Headquartered in L.A.), and has been succeeded by Charles Casas.


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Reserve Sunday, November 10, 1991 for attendance at the American Association for the Improvement of Boxing's 11th Annual "boxerama," to be held at the Marriott Hotel, Tarrytown, New York (11:00 - 3:00 P.M.). Write Steve Acunto at 86 Fletcher Ave., Mount Vernon, NY 10552, for specifics and reservations. Ring 4's Tom Quinn, of Milton, has become a member of this prestigious international boxing organization, as noted in their present "Ring Rhetoric" Newsletter.


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Yesteryear's contending light heavyweight, Johnny Morris, continues to "make the good fight" in a Philadelphia hospital. Prior to his physical setback, Johnny served as National Secretary, N.V.B.A. His daughter, Sherie (writing for him) tells us he'd like to continue hearing from all his friends throughout the U.S. Mail should be addressed to him at 9889 Bonner St., Philadelphia, PA 19115-2303.


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KEEP PUNCHING

Related articles:
Fighting In His Father's Footsteps   [The Boston Herald]
McNeeley Wins Pro Debut   [The Lowell Sun]
McNeeley Launches Boxing Career With A Bang   [The Suburban Press]


This column was published on Page 16 of the Boston Post-Gazette on 08/02/91.