Saturday, June 25, 1994


By Bob Buckley

FOXBORO — Peter McNeeley is 1-0 in the Don King era.

McNeeley, the pride of the South Shore Boxing Club of Whitman, won his first fight since signing a four-year contract with Don King Productions 16 days ago.

McNeeley's opponent, former World Boxing Council light heavyweight champion J.B. Williamson, couldn't answer the bell to start the third round as McNeeley took the first step toward the big time with his 28th victory of his professional career at Foxboro Raceway Friday night.

Heavyweight boxer Peter McNeeley (left) raises his arms in victory after scoring a TKO over former champion J.B. Williamson last night at Foxboro. McNeeley's punishing attack to the head and body left Williamson unable to continue the fight after two rounds.

The McNeeley entourage has grown much larger since the King announcement. Many have suddenly embraced the SSBC heavyweight.

Williamson, who provided McNeeley with his first nationally-known opponent, came into the fight in much better shape than expected and surprised him with his style of fighting.

"He was much more herky-jerky than I expected," said McNeeley. "I saw him in Arkansas (in April), and he is in much better shape than I expected. He moved more and tried to get me with sucker punches and uppercuts."

McNeeley was clearly the agressor from the start of the fight as Williamson spent the early portion of the bout on the ropes.

A wobbly Williamson couldn't return and will be examined for a possible broken rib this morning.

Williamson had one brief flurry near the end of the first round as he managed to connect with two jabs to McNeeley's face. With memories of his only loss — an eighth-round TKO on cuts to Stanley Wright in February — fresh in their minds, McNeeley's corner (trainer Vinnie Vecchione and SSBC director Cliff Phippen) voiced its displeasure.

We just wanted him to watch the eye," said Phippen, referring to McNeeley's left eye that sustained a 40-stitch cut in the Wright fight. "We wanted him to work the body and keep protected."

McNeeley listened.

"I just wasn't expecting those shots," said McNeeley. "From there, I worked on my blocking. I lowered my left and raised my right and crossed that over to protect myself."

McNeeley started the second round with a flurry of punches as Williamson retreated to the ropes. He also landed three hard shots to the head and ended the round with a shot to the ribs. A wobbly Williamson couldn't return and will be examined for a possible broken rib this morning.

The hometown crowd went wild as McNeeley made his way back to his locker room with his 28th win. He admitted in the post-fight press conference that the hype surrounding his agreement with King may have been a distraction.

"I'm used to fighting once a month and here it is almost July, and I haven't fought since April," said McNeeley. McNeeley, in fact, fought three times in the month of April. "I was really itching to fight. Maybe I was too ready. The extra publicity is great, but I also have to try harder to keep my level of concentration."

Phippen announced after the fight that McNeeley's next bout will be July 22 in Plymouth. However, before that, McNeeley has another duty: He'll be an usher in his brother Tom's wedding today.

"At least I'll be pretty for that," he laughed.

Charles Livingston's "Catch-22" situation continued last night. Livingston, a 20-year-old hulk of a human being (6-4, 227) from Brockton, isn't ready for prime-time opponents but is having difficulty finding fair-to-middle-of-the-road boxers.

Keith Harthorne was Livingston's fifth consecutive first-round knockout. Harthorne was such a pathetic opponent, the Massachusetts State Boxing Commission withheld his purse.

Welterweight Danny Phippen, a promising SSBC boxer, had an opponent who earned his paycheck even though he, too, was a first-round winner. Hector Rodriguez of Hartford, Conn., was 4-0 before Phippen, 4-1 after.

Rodriguez came out aggressively, but Phippen landed a barrage of punches in the corner to send him to the canvas. Rodriguez recovered, but Phippen landed a strong combination to end the fight at 1:57.

Mike Cappiello improved his record to 24-3 with a second-round knockout of Ray Aponte. Cappiello seized control by knocking Aponte to the mat three times.

The first five rounds of Taunton super middleweight Carlos DeJesus' bout with Greg Cardiz were a bore, but the sixth round was a slugfest. DeJesus won the first three rounds but had to hold off a late surge by Cardiz to win a split decision.

Related articles:
McNeeley In A Hurry, Whips Williamson   [The Boston Globe]
McNeeley Ready For Next Level   [The Boston Patriot-Ledger]
No Bumps, No Bruises, No Sweat For McNeeley   [Medfield Suburban Press]

This story was printed in The Brockton Enterprise on 06/25/94