|Thursday, March 16, 1995|
Pre-fight Fireworks Kindle McNeeley Bout
By Jay N. Miller
REVERE — Peter McNeeley is spoiling for a fight. Now if they can only point him toward the right opponent.
Yesterday's press conference introducing the principals in tomorrow night's Showtime boxing program at the Worcester Aud was enlivened by a podium melee involving the South Shore heavyweight and South Africa's Francois Botha, rated third in most world rankings.
Botha, 32-0, and McNeeley, 34-1, will fight in separate 10-rounders, but both are white sluggers well-hyped by the Don King organization.
The spontaneous fun started when Botha took the microphone and began extolling his own talents, and ridiculing McNeeley's. "It's time to declare war on the heavyweight division. I'm white, but I can fight," Botha boasted. "Anyone who wants the title has to come through the White Buffalo. I'm the real white contender here; the others are just pretenders."
"Don't come to my hometown and bad-mouth me," McNeeley growled from two seats away.
"I'll knock out my opponent Friday and then take care of you," Botha challenged.
"Why don't you see if you can knock me out now," McNeeley said, rising.
Before moderator Carl King and various handlers could intervene, Botha grabbed McNeeley's shirt and McNeeley fired a left hook. The punch just missed Botha but caught publicist Mike Marley over the right eye. After a 20-man scuffle succeeded in separating the combatants, the press soiree continued at a more laidback pace.
Later on McNeeley was still incensed. "He's trying to climb on top of our show," he fumed. "There's a guy who had 260 amateur fights, and he's been a pro five years and he still hasn't done anything. He had to come here, because he can't get paid to move furniture at home. He's just a blown-up cruiserweight with a big belly and chicken legs. And the worst part is he was kissing my ass two weeks ago at King's camp in Florida."
McNeeley is still slated to meet Danny Wofford, 15-39-2, of South Carolina, a wily trialhorse who's gone the distance with a litany of heavyweight stars, including Shannon Briggs, Michael Grant, Pinklon Thomas, and Trevor Berbick.
Tomorrow's card begins at 5 p.m., with the two title bouts plus five 10-rounders as well as prelims featuring local prospects Danny Phippen of Whitman and Mike Ohan of Holbrook. A limited number of tickets are still available at the 3,100 seat Aud in the $20, $40, and $75 price ranges.
This story ran on page 33 of The Boston Patriot Ledger on 03/16/95