Monday, December 9, 1991

Local boxers win at Fall River

McNeeley, Poirier, Oliveira entertain fight fans

By Jay N. Miller
For The Patriot Ledger

FALL RIVER — Over 500 fans were on hand at the Bank Street Armory in Fall River Saturday night for a boxing card loaded with area talent. The local boys did not disappoint - all performed well and won their respective bouts.

Heavyweight Peter McNeeley started things off fast with a crowd-pleasing first round KO. He was battling a flu bug, but it hardly showed. McNeeley unleashed a barrage of hammering left hooks that opponent Kevin Chisolm couldn't escape, and the debuting Springfield fighter hit the canvas for good at 1:51 of the opening round.

McNeeley, who trains at the South Shore Boxing Club in Whitman, is now 3-0. All of his victories have been first round knockouts. A son of former Top 10 contender Tom McNeeley, the young fighter has an exciting ring style and has been receiving a lot of attention from New England fight fans.

LIKE A HURRICANE — Peter McNeeley (left) overpowered Kevin Chisolm and scored a first round knockout in their heavyweight fight Saturday night at the Fall River Armory.

New England heavyweight champ Paul Poirier was pitted against late sub Juan Quintana in the semifinal bout. Poirier, also out of the South Shore Boxing Club, had hoped to face 13-0 slugger Joe Rocha, who bowed out with pneumonia in the days before the fight.

Poirier's letdown was predictable, and it showed, for instead of a bombs-away brawl, the fans saw eight rounds of tedious waltzing. Poirier's left jab befuddled Quintana, who, although proving himself a durable obstacle, displayed all the mobility of the Prudential Building. However, the champ still ran out of gas and came huffing and puffing to the final bell.

Poirier won the decision by a wide margin, but it's doubtful he won many fans with his 33rd victory.

"We figured we'd have to go four rounds or less with Rocha," said Vin Vecchione, the Braintree trainer who guides Poirier. "Paul has also been fighting the flu for a week, and he had to see a chiropractor a few days ago for his lower back. We never dreamed we'd have to go eight rounds."

Local fans might've been shocked to see Doug Sheerin working the fight as a referee again. The Scituate athlete, who put aside his ref's shirt last year to come back as a middleweight and won two bouts, has hung up the gloves for good.

"I've become the head wrestling coach at Scituate," Sheerin said between bouts, "and with the hours I'm putting in on my regular work, my schedule is just too hectic to train properly. I told the boxing commission this week I was ready to ref again."

The main event featured New England titlist Ray Oliveira against Harold Miller, the North Dakota state lightweight champion, who was expected to give Oliveira his first tough test.

Working Miller's corner was renowned boxing trainer Freddie Roach. A Dedham native, Roach retired a few years ago after 60-odd bouts as a world-ranked lightweight. He quickly became a top trainer and is now based in Las Vegas.

Roach enjoyed his pre-holiday trip home except for one thing: his old student has learned too much.

Roach had worked with Oliveira several years ago when the New Bedford star had spent time training in Las Vegas. At that time, Roach felt the light-hitting amateur wouldn't make much of a pro. Oliveira has grown and developed however, with five N.E. Golden Glove titles behind him, and ten straight wins before Saturday.

Roach's hopes of getting a good victory and a fat payday for the 13-4-1 Miller only half came true. The fans turned out in force to cheer Oliveira, but he hardly needed their help.

Oliveira's superior handspeed and unrelenting body attack took the steam out of Miller early, and after ten rounds it looked like a shutout for the local hero.

"Ray has improved a lot since he trained with me in Vegas," Roach said later. "I was impressed with his body work — that part of his game has improved quite a lot."

See also:  Mount Ida Senior Ready For Third Pro Fight   [The Voice]

This story ran on page 25 of The Boston Patriot Ledger on 12/09/91