|Sunday, February 21, 1993|
McNeeley pulls no punches
By Bob Buckley
FOXBORO — This was not what Medfield's Peter McNeeley had wanted, but he wasn't about to give anything away either.
McNeeley's long-awaited heavyweight battle with Brockton's Stanley Wright never materialized Saturday night at Foxboro Raceway. Instead, McNeeley overcame his disappointment and lived up to his billing as the "Hurricane," by stopping last-minute replacement Jesus Rohena in the second round of their all-too-brief bout.
In the night's main event, New England heavyweight champion Paul Poirier defended his crown with blood, sweat and tears as he beat Marc Machain by unanimous decision.
McNeeley, of the South Shore Boxing Club, was definitely the hometown favorite, especially after Wright had been taken off the card for reasons unknown. It was an obvious emotional disappointment for McNeeley, but he disposed of his lesser opponent with a minute left in the second round.
"I've been taught to expect things like this to happen," said McNeeley. "I think the Petronellis showed me a bit of respect by not having Wright fight."
McNeeley's biggest challenge was adjusting to Rohena's style. After all, McNeeley had trained to fight a man who stands over seven feet tall.
"Rohena is a very awkward fighter," said McNeeley. "I was just feeling him out after the first round and went from there."
In the second round, McNeeley nailed Rohena with two lefts against the ropes. He followed that seconds later with two hard lefts and a right to force a standing eight-count. Referee Bob Benoit mercifully stopped what was already a foregone conclusion.
"He is the best power puncher since Rocky (Marciano)," said McNeeley's trainer Vinnie Vecchione. "He can knock a man out with either hand. The only reason the fight was scheduled for six rounds was that we knew it wouldn't go long."
Those in attendence saw that McNeeley (15-0, 13 KO's) is ready to make the next step up in his boxing career.
The next step may be Machain, who gave champ Poirier everything he could handle for eight rounds.
Machain is a brawler in the true sense of the word and hurt Poirier on several occasions.
Poirier is a boxer in the true sense of the word, though, and used his savvy and conditioning to outlast his challenger and improve to 32-2 as a professional.
It was Machain's second chance at Poirier and the New England title.
Machain used some heavy punches to the stomach to gain an early advantage but then his punches lost their sting in the middle rounds as Poirier capitalized with a few barrages of his own.
The challenger made a late bid but Poirier was the winner by points on all three cards.
In other action, Kip Diggs and Tito Cardona were both winners by knockout in the second round of their respective bouts.
Dan Constantino needed just 2:57 to dispose of Jose Vera in the opening fight of the night.
This story was printed in The Brockton Enterprise on 02/21/93