|Sunday, August 25, 1991|
McNeeley Wins Pro Debut
Medfield resident Peter McNeeley got his boxing career off to a promising start Friday night at Boston University's Nickerson Field, winning his professional debut with a 50 second knockout of 6'5", 220 pound opponent Van Dorsey (7-2, 3 KOs). The 6'2" McNeeley weighed in at 197. The heavyweight fight was one of two four-round undercard bouts at the New England Championships.
McNeeley stopped his foe in the first round, although he himself briefly tasted the canvas early in the round in what appeared to be a slip. But he came back with a resounding left hook that left Dorsey senseless on the mat less than a minute into the fight.
"Starting my pro career, I wanted to impress," McNeeley said. "I got a little sloppy and left my left foot in after a left hook."
Peter is the son of former boxer Tom McNeeley. The elder McNeeley had an active local following and caught the attention of the boxing world in 1961 when he fought Floyd Patterson for the heavyweight title of the world. Patterson won that bout in the fourth round.
The 22-year-old McNeeley is a former Massachusetts Golden Gloves champion and won the New England heavyweight diamond belt as an amateur, displaying impressive punching power in compiling an amateur record of 15 wins and 6 losses. Ten of the wins were knockouts; six of the knockouts came in the first round. As an amateur he also represented Team USA in a successful outing against Canada.
Peter remembers his victory on the US squad with particular fondness because the evening was a family affair for the McNeeley clan. His older brother Thomas McNeeley III produced the event for ESPN, while his father provided the commentary for viewers. Peter won an impressive unanimous decision that night after scoring a first round knockdown of his Canadian opponent who, at that time, was the reigning world Maritime heavyweight champion.
The fondest memory of Peter's amateur career, however, came when he took the New England diamond belt from James Johnson with a first round knockout. Johnson was the top amateur heavyweight in New England then and ranked number two nationally.
McNeeley trains at the South Shore Boxing Club in Whitman.
This story was published in the Lowell Sun on 08/25/91.