Sunday, November 22, 1991

Mount Ida Senior Ready For Third Pro Fight

By L. Jake Katz


On December 7, Mount Ida College student Peter McNeeley will put down his books and put on his gloves to fight in his third professional boxing match. McNeeley's opponent in the four round undercard bout at the Fall River Armory has not yet been named. If the 23-year-old senior continues in his customary manner, the opponent won't be putting in a long day at the office. McNeeley has fought twice professionally. On the first occasion he took just 50 seconds from his busy schedule to knock out Van Dorsey at Nickerson Field in Boston. On October 24 McNeeley must have been really pressed for time, taking only 24 seconds to flatten Fabian Arroyo at the Worcester Centrum.


In addition to carrying a course load that will earn him a B.A. degree in December, Peter McNeeley is distinguished from other fighters through his enviable genes. Peter is the son of Newton resident Thomas McNeeley, Jr. and Mount Ida's Fashion Professor Nancy McNeeley. Local sports fans remember the elder McNeeley as the New England Heavyweight Champion. As a contender, Tom McNeeley rose to number four in the world and lost to Floyd Patterson in a fight for the world heavyweight championship in 1961. The genes go back even further to Peter's grandfather Thomas McNeeley, Sr., who was the New England Light-heavyweight Champion and a member of the 1928 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team.


Peter McNeeley began his career as an amateur boxer in July, 1987. He was seventeen and just entering Bridgewater State College at that time. McNeeley compiled an impressive amateur record of 15 wins and 6 losses. Ten of the wins were knockouts. Six of the knockouts came in the first round. With his victories, he acquired the Greater Lowell Novice Heavyweight Championship in the Golden Gloves and the New England Heavyweight Diamond Belt. As an amateur he also represented Team USA in a successful outing against Canada at the Matthews Arena in Boston. Peter remembers his victory as Team USA member with particular fondness, because the evening was a true family affair for the McNeeley clan. His older brother, Thomas McNeeley the 3rd, produced the event for EPSN, while his father provided commentary for viewers. Peter won an impressive unanimous decision that night after scoring a first round knockdown. The fondest memory of his amateur career was when he took the New England Diamond Heavyweight Belt from James Johnson with a stunning first round knockout. Johnson was the top rated amateur boxer in New England for years and was ranked as the number 2 heavyweight nationally at the time.


With his prowess, it's unlikely that McNeeley will ever lament he "coulda" been a contender. Recent circumstances may have him pondering what an acting career could have offered. McNeeley lost to Tommy Morrison. The loss occurred in MGM's New York casting office, not in the ring, however. Morrison was chosen for a role alongside Sylvester Stallone in Rocky V, with McNeeley finishing a close second among numerous candidates. Rocky V didn't do very well at the box office and Tommy Morrison just suffered his first loss. McNeeley's star is still rising.


As McNeeley readies for his next fight, he's hitting the speedbag and his books with equal intensity. By the end of December a BA degree should be under his belt and he should be further along the way toward his quest for a heavyweight belt. A handsome and gregarious young man, McNeeley is evidently very popular around campus. The large crowd in Worcester at his last fight included lots of students from Mount Ida College as well as Peter's biology teacher, Professor David Cox. If boxing loses its appeal to McNeeley, he'd still like to remain in the sports scene. Commentary and production are both careers he's considering. While he remains in the ring he will continue to be an interesting prospect with a devastating knockout punch.

See also:  McNeeley Wins By KO In Fall River   [Boston Patriot-Ledger]

This story ran on page 8 of The Voice of Mount Ida College on 11/22/91