|Monday, July 31, 1995|
Papillion uses speed to claim USBF title
McNeeley featured in exhibition bout
By Bruce Brown
It was a night of action and fun at the fights at the Hotel Acadiana Monday night as some light-hearted work by heavyweight "Hurricane" Peter McNeeley was sandwiched in between actual bouts. McNeeley, who leaves today for Las Vegas and his August 19 bout with Mike Tyson, boxed sparring partner Lorenzo Boyd in a two-round exhibition and went another two rounds with a local car dealer.
Broussard's Jason Papillion claimed the USBF Junior Middleweight championship in the main event on the card, halting Atlanta's David Taylor at :52 of the 10th round of the scheduled 12-round title match. Papillion pinned his foe in Taylor's corner with a final flurry of punches to force the stoppage.
"I just spent seven weeks working with Roy Jones, Jr., and I knew if I could stay with him there was nobody in this weight class who could touch me," said Papillion, who improved to 24-2 as a professional.
"I knew I had the superior hand speed," added Papillion, who danced away from any serious harm for most of the fight and hurt Taylor with rapid combinations to the body and slick jabs to the head, but ended with a cut over his left eye anyway.
"The cut came when he head-butted me," Papillion said. "He threw some elbows, too. But I knew it wouldn't go 12 rounds. I wore him down a lot with the body punches. I was in tremendous shape for this fight."
Still, there was a time in the wee hours of Monday morning when Papillion wondered if he would even step into the ring.
"I've had a problem with my stomach," he said. "I was in the hospital last night until 4 a.m. But I went down on a knee and asked for the strength to do it."
Papillion landed plenty of punches in the early going, scoring with shots to the head in the third. That led to impatience the next round, and he had to tone it down to get back on track.
"I started out too fast in the fourth round," Papillion said. "Then I slowed it down a little bit. I picked it up again the next round."
So, once the towel was thrown in by Taylor's corner and his backers erupted with glee, what was Papillion's next thought?
"I look at this as a step toward a world title," he said. "But I'll let Beau (Williford) schedule that. I'll just keep working hard."
Peter McNeeley drew in a crowd and had the house buzzing. Lorenzo Boyd, the only man to ever face both McNeeley and Tyson for real, went two light-hearted rounds with the Hurricane. Boyd was floored once and, at one time in the second round, McNeeley leaned back on the ropes and dared Boyd to hit him in the stomach. Boyd did, and he met a wall.
"It was fun," said McNeeley. "Both opponents we had scheduled had problems, and, although I had knocked him out last November, Lorenzo agreed to step in at the last minute. That other guy (a local car dealer), I was suprised he got in the ring at all!"
"He didn't look anything like the same guy I met in November," Boyd said of McNeeley. "His neck is two inches bigger and he hits even harder. They've got him ready. Peter has that crouch and that windmill style. He'll get to Tyson's body. He'll shake him. I'd rather meet Tyson next."
As for the encouragement from the crowd, Boyd laughed and said, "My buddy helped me relax when he said, 'C'mon, Lorenzo, knock him out!' I told him he could come in there and try. That saved me. He really helped me out."
For McNeeley, the evening (which benefitted the Special Olympics) was a welcome relief from the heavy travel and appearances required by the matchup with Tyson.
"It hasn't been easy," he said. "We've been bouncing around from Vegas to New York to here to Boston, and it takes its toll. You just have to manage your time correctly. I still run in the mornings and spar in the evenings.
"Now this is it. We're going to fly to Vegas. I've got a job to do.
"I'm a show fighter. It's difficult for me to play act in front of a crowd and not get hurt or hurt the other guy. When the fight is real, that's when you'll see the real Peter McNeeley come out.
"I'm not worried about Tyson at all. I know I have the edge on him. What, he's changed his style in four years? We know what he's going to do. The secret workouts are mind games with the press and public. I think it's damage control so they won't have a drop in Pay-Per-View.
"I'm still coming right at him."
It was also a night of starting out and saying goodbye.
Youngsville's Kenny Vice was the one saying goodbye, something he has done before. But the WBF World 140-pound Champion means it this time.
"It was never about the money," said the 34-year-old Vice, who officiated half the fights Monday night. "It was about the belt, about respect. That's what I got up in the morning and ran all those miles for."
Lafayette's Ray Ryan is at the beginning of that journey, dispatching Atlanta's Curtis Smith in a four-round flyweight decision in his first pro bout.
"I was a little nervous, since it was my first pro fight," said Ryan, a Lafayette High grad who has fought for 16 of his 26 years and who won state Golden Gloves titles in 1984-85-86.
"When I got to his eye early, I got pumped up," he added. "My plan was to jab and stay away from him. I've been sparring with Jason Papillion, and got my nose messed up, so I didn't want that to happen tonight.
"I got in some good jabs, more combinations. I like to fight at my own pace. It's hard to change. I'm comfortable with the way I am."
The quickest fight of the night was the scheduled light heavyweight four-rounder between Broussard's David Rabon and Atlanta's Terris Parker, a stand-in for scheduled foe Ricky Stackhouse. It went all of 12 seconds.
"I was hoping for a couple of rounds, at least," said a disappointed Rabon. "There was really nothing to help me tonight. I wanted to fight Stackhouse because I heard he had a lot of experience. Everything worked. I dropped him with the right hand.
"I've been working on my power and speed, and being smart in the game," added Rabon, now 11-0. "It was good to fight at home with my family here after a couple of years layoff. I'd like to fight every month."
In a heavyweight bout pitting Lafayette's Andy Levinson against Atlanta's Stan Jones, Jones had superior height, reach and conditioning for Levinson, who suffered a cut over his left eye from a stray elbow and was TKO'd at 2:30 of the third round.
This story ran on page C-1 of The Lafayette Daily Advertiser on 08/01/95