|Thursday, February 24, 1994|
McNeeley's N.E. Title Bid Cut Short
Hurricane Far Ahead Before Fight Stopped
By LARRY BEAN
As soon as Peter McNeeley got to a mirror and took a look at the cut over his left eye, he started thinking maybe the ring doctor had made the right call after all when he stopped the fighter's bid to become the New England heavyweight champion.
"When they stopped it I wanted to keep going," said McNeeley, who took his first loss in 25 professional fights when 6-foot-10, 278-pound Stanley Wright (9-5) was awarded an eighth-round technical knockout due to the cut in the main event at Friday's Charity Brawl at the Westin Hotel in Boston.
"When I got to the locker room and took a look at the cut I couldn't believe how bad it was," said McNeeley. "I could fit my whole finger in it. I don't agree that the fight should have been stopped, but it's not hard to understand why they did it."
Had the fight not been stopped, McNeeley might be nursing a gash much worse than the one that took 40 stitches to close, but he'd surely also be wearing the championship belt.
The three judges had given all given the first seven rounds of the scheduled ten-rounder to McNeeley when Wright landed a right hand that ripped open the wound that first started bleeding in the fifth round.
That punch was one of the few that Wright managed to land all evening.
"I banged him around at will for seven rounds," said McNeeley. "He threw maybe five punches a round. He took a tremendous beating, but hey, he hung in there."
The referee ruled McNeeley was knocked down in the fourth round, but ringside observers insist it was clearly a push rather than a punch that sent him to the canvas. Despite the questionable knockdown, McNeeley still won the round on all scorecards.
While the cut heals, McNeeley's career will be on hold for at least a month. His March 5 fight at the Whitman National Guard Armory is definitely off, as is a tentitively scheduled March 15 appearance on the USA network.
McNeeley said the loss might initially slow the progress of his career, but added that in the long run, a change of gears might be good for him.
"I don't want to be 24-1, but it might be a good thing," he said. "In the fight business everything is push, push, push. I've been trying to fight so often to make up for the experience I didn't get as an amateur. But when people see you're busy, they want to push you more.
"This loss might slow my progress, but that might be kind of good."
See also: McNeeley Wins Every Round But Loses Fight [Boston Globe]
This story ran on page 17 of The Medfield Suburban Press on 02/24/94