The Fort Smith Times Record
Saturday, February 11, 1995


By Rick Fires
Times Record staff

A standing room-only crowd of 2,200 jammed the Fort Smith Civic Center and was treated to an exciting night of boxing Friday night. The card included a world championship title bout and featured two up-and-coming fighters with national exposure.

Heavyweight prospect Peter McNeeley of Boston, who has developed a strong local following after several fights in the Fort Smith area, improved his record to 34-1 with a first round knockout over Joe Barnes.

Peter McNeeley knocks out Joe Barnes   (Photo by Kelly Kerr)

The heavy-fisted McNeeley, now ranked No. 12 by the World Boxing Council, impressed the crowd, dropping his outgunned foe three times in the first round. The fight was stopped 2:38 into the contest. McNeeley has been mentioned as a future opponent for WBC heavyweight champion Oliver McCall.

In the main event of the evening, Fort Smith boxer Bobby Crabtree won a 12-round split-decision over previously undefeated Kenney Keene of Boise, ID, to capture Keene's World Boxing Federation Cruiserweight Championship belt.

The decision surprised many in the crowd. The smaller Keene dictated most of the action with a bullying style and put Crabtree on the ropes on many occasions. Neither fighter was knocked down, but Crabtree fought with a cut over his left eye for almost half the fight.

One judge scored the fight 120-108 for Keene while Crabtree got the nod on the other two cards, 116-115 and 119-111. The three judges were from Arkansas, Idaho, and New York.

The loss was the first professional defeat for Keene, who dropped to 30-1. Crabtree improved his career record to 53-22-2 with the victory in the rematch. Keene, 25, scored a technical knockout over the 34-year-old Crabtree when the two fought in 1992 in Keene's hometown.

Earlier in the evening, nationally recognized Jason Papillion of Broussard, LA, used a terrific overhand right to floor Eric Ward in the third round. Papillion, who improved to 18-2-1, knocked Ward out 2:41 into the round.

In another lopsided heavyweight fight, Carlos Monroe was awarded a first-round technical knockout over Phillip Walker, who was unable to put up much of a fight in his pro debut.

The three local fighters on the undercard fared well with two scoring victories and a third going the distance before losing a unanimous decision.

Stacey "Goodnight" Goodson lived up to his nickname with a first-round knockout over Cecil Robberson of Little Rock. Goodson, from Paris, AK, raised his record to 3-1-1 with the stoppage, which came 2:10 into the opening round.

Thurman Blanton of Fort Smith was successful in his professional debut with a third-round technical knockout over Roy Bedwell of Jackson, TN.

In the most competitive fight on the undercard, Kenny Rainford of Liverpool, England won a four-round decision over Sammy Clounts of Waldron. The two fought last year and Rainford won the fight after Clounts suffered a cut over his right eye. The win improved Rainford to 8-2 and dropped Clounts to 4-3.

This story ran on page 1B of The Fort Smith Times Record on 02/11/95