|Thursday, April 7, 1994|
Sooey! 'Hurricane' to hit Clinton Country
McNeeley returning to ring with Arkansas Fight
By LARRY BEAN
Peter McNeeley found a silver lining to his first professional loss back in February. He thought his career had been on too fast a track. But after the loss, with a record that was no longer perfect, he might not be as hot a commodity as he'd been. The 24-1 heavyweight would have a chance to slow down.
Actually, until the 40-stitch gash over his left eye healed, McNeeley's career didn't slow down, it stopped. He's been out of the ring for nearly two months now.
"It doesn't look pretty but it's healed up," McNeeley said of the cut that resulted in his eight-round TKO loss to Stanley Wright in their New England Heavyweight Championship fight on February 18. McNeeley had dominated the fight right up to the point when the ringside physician ruled that the cut was too bad for him to continue.
The cut has healed, so the vacation is over. The Hurricane is back and busier than ever. He's in Arkansas preparing for a fight Friday that will be the first of three matches he has lined up this month.
"I'm not sure where in Arkansas I'm going to be fighting, or who I'm going to be fighting — I only know I'm going to be fighting in Arkansas Friday night," said McNeeley, who has stepped out of New England only once before for a pro fight (an eight-round unanimous decision in Florida in November).
"There's no money around here," said McNeeley.
He'll stay on the road for an April 13 bout in North Carolina before returning to his home court, the Whitman Armory, on April 30.
As his schedule suggests, McNeeley is no longer interested in slowing down.
"The fight game is a tough game," he said. "A guy like me has got to stay in there. I've got to stay sharp. I've got to keep trying to make up for the amateur experience I didn't get [he fought only 21 amateur bouts]. I'm trying to make up for lost time."
Since the setback to Wright, McNeeley feels an added urgency to stay busy.
"I've got to get the wins," he said. "I've got to get my record up."
McNeeley said the cut could affect how he fights Friday, but the loss won't.
"I'll be conscious of my eye. I'll want to protect it. I'm hoping for a quick knockout.
"The loss doesn't really bother me. I have a load of confidence. I've gone eight rounds four times now. I'm coming to another level as a fighter. After some of the guys I've fought, I don't feel like I'd have a problem going against anybody."
This story ran on page 18 of The Medfield Suburban Press on 04/07/94