Tuesday, July 19, 1994

A heavy-duty assignment

McNeeley puts Top 20 rating on line Friday night

By Jay N. Miller
For The Patriot Ledger

Boxing fans who head out to Old Colony Memorial Hall in Plymouth Friday night will have a chance to see the world's 20th ranked heavyweight in action.


That heavyweight happens to be a local kid.

The July 11 edition of the World Boxing Council's worldwide rankings lists Peter McNeeley, the pride of Whitman's South Shore Boxing Club, as the No. 20 heavyweight in the world. This, of course, comes less than a month after McNeeley signed a promotional deal with Don King. WBC honcho Jose Sulaimon is a close friend of King's, so McNeeley's ascension is not a complete surprise.

Trainer Vinnie Vecchione of Braintree is thrilled nonetheless.

"If we keep progressing over the next year or so," Vecchione said, "and maybe move up another five or six slots, we'll be looking at some serious opportunities."

But first McNeeley, 28-1, must get by Friday's foe, the much-traveled Bobby Crabtree of Fort Smith, Ark.

Crabtree's 49-27-1 record includes April's second round stoppage of J.B. Williamson, whom McNeeley knocked out in two rounds in his last fight. Crabtree, 34, has scored 45 knockouts, and the 212-pounder is sure to test McNeeley's chin.

Crabtree's log includes bouts with every "name" heavyweight of the last decade, from Quick Tillis and Tony Tucker to Renaldo Snipes and Francesco Damiani to Mike Weaver, Michael Dokes and Trevor Berbick. Crabtree lasted six rounds against George Foreman in 1987, but current world champ Michael Moorer blasted him out early in 1991. Crabtree has won six of his last eight bouts, and an upset of McNeeley would earn him some more big paydays.

Other bouts on the eight-fight card include New England welterweight champ Kip Diggs against Long Island's Luis Castillo in an eight-rounder, while Taunton's Carlos DeJesus meets Chelsea's George "The Animal" Heckley in a six-round contest. That one could be the best war of the night.

Whitman's Dan Phippen takes his 3-0 record into a welterweight bout against Worcester's Mike Harris. Previously unbeaten Worcester stablemates Pito Cardona (13-0) and Jose Flores (5-1) meet in the reprise of an entertaining slugfest they staged at Foxboro Park last month.

Hyannis middleweight Terry Crawley embarks on the comeback trail against Hartford's Julio Torres, and Brewster welterweight Ralph Chaplic, 13-0, returns after a year's layoff in another six-round match. Lightweight Mike Cappiello of West Bridgewater has been held out of the card because he has a big bout next month, but former New England middleweight king Sean Fitzgerald is expected to box an eight-rounder to replace the Cappiello bout.

Tickets are $15 and $20.

Related articles:
WBC Ranks McNeeley In Top 20   [The Suburban Press]
WBC Ranking Launches McNeeley Into Spotlight   [Brockton Enterprise]
McNeeley Scores TKO   [The Middlesex Daily News]
McNeeley Raises Some 'Cane   [The Boston Herald]
McNeeley KO's Hall In First Round   [The Daily Transcript]
After 1st Round KO, Hurricane Eyes Next Level   [The Suburban Press]

This story ran on page 25 of The Boston Patriot Ledger on 07/19/94