|Saturday, July 23, 1994|
McNeeley Raises Some 'Cane
By George Kimball
PLYMOUTH — The first knockdown came from a hard left hook, the second from a left uppercut, but not even Peter McNeeley seemed quite sure why Dwayne Hall went down for the third time in last night's first round.
"Must have been a hurricane," supposed a bemused McNeeley, whose nickname is "Hurricane." In any case, a hurricane couldn't have blown hard enough to get Hall back up. A baffled McNeeley stopped punching as he eyed Hall, on all fours in the middle of the ring. Referee Harold Gomes bent over and tried, with both arms, to pull Hall back to his feet, but when the Rochester heavyweight refused to budge, Gomes waved the fight to a halt.
Just 2:25 had elapsed in the first round of last night's main event at Plymouth Memorial Hall.
McNeeley, now 29-1 and ranked 20th among the world's heavyweights, wasn't exactly gloating after handing the outclassed Hall, advertised as 16-5 going into the fight, his latest defeat.
"I don't pick my opponents. I just fight them," he said of Hall, who had lasted six rounds in losing to him just last year.
"He does kind of lead with his head," McNeeley said.
Massachusetts chairman Jocko Ananian announced that the commission would withhold Hall's $3,000 purse, but it was too late.
Presumedly hedging his bets in case his fighter didn't live through the bout, manager Rick Glazer had insisted that Hall's purse be paid in advance when the fighter agreed to become the substitute opponent against McNeeley earlier this week.
Hall had been suspended for 90 days in Connnecticut on May 10 following a TKO loss to Dan Dancuta at Foxwoods. Massachusetts is supposed to honor other states' suspensions, but commissioner Ben Doherty said Massachusetts officials were unaware of the suspension and had not had time to check, since Hall had been named as a late replacement for Bobby Crabtree only three days earlier.
McNeeley was originally scheduled to fight the 49-27-1 veteran Crabtree. Although Crabtree never signed the contract for last night's fight, his Louisiana-based manager, Beau Williford, told the Herald yesterday that his fighter intended to appear until a better offer came along.
"I warned McNeeley's people at the time we made the deal that I was working on something else, and that if it happened we were going to pull out," said Williford.
"Last weekend, Bobby got (an offer) to fight (former WBC champion) Trevor Berbick in Crabtree's own hometown, Fort Smith (Ark.) next month."
Williford said he notified McNeeley's manager Vinnie Vecchione and promoter Jack Buckley last Saturday that Crabtree would be a no-show. Why, then, the foot-dragging about revealing that fact — and that the opponent would be Hall, a stumblebum McNeeley already had beaten once?
Hall claimed to have no knowledge of his Connecticut suspension, and Vecchione seemed livid that it was even brought to the attention of the Massachusetts authorities.
"This guy," Vecchione defended Hall, "has been in the ring with some of the best heavyweights in the United States!"
A spirited crowd of over 1,500 also saw Kipp Diggs, the New England welterweight from Hyannis, run his record to 16-0 with a third-round TKO of Hartford's Milton Leaks.
Veteran Hyannis junior middle Terry Crawley knocked out Bridgeport's Julio Torres 54 seconds into the second round, while, in his pro debut, Dorchester heavyweight Dan Conway knocked out Hartford's Luis Oliveira.
In the walkout bout, Sean Fitzgerald, the former New England middleweight champion from Worcester, outpointed Hartford's Greg Cadiz.
The Plymouth card opened ominously enough, with a streak of five straight first-round knockouts, counting McNeeley's, which was the main event.
Welterweight Dan Phippen, a 4-4 McNeeley stablemate from the South Shore Boxing Club, blasted out Worcester's Mike Harris with a left hook half a minute into their scheduled four-rounder.
Harris, now 4-4, got up from that one, but went down from a right-left combination later in the round and took the count on his hands and knees.
Cumberland, RI, junior middleweight Brian Dumas made an impressive pro debut, wearing down Worcester's Pedro Guzman with a savage body attack on the way to a first-round TKO.
In earlier bouts on the card, unbeaten Worcester junior welterweight Israel Cardona knocked out Hartford's Tony Rivera, 8-3, in one round to run his record to 15-0.
Brewster junior welterweight Ralph Chaplic improved to 14-0 when referee Tinker Picot stopped his bout against inept Hartford novice Carlos Nieves.
This story was published in the Boston Herald on 07/23/94.