Saturday, October 28, 1995

McNeeley earns USBF title with KO

WBC Middleweight belt stays with Rosenblatt

By Bob Buckley

BOSTON — What we know about Peter McNeeley the boxer today is exactly what we knew about him before he entered the ring at the FleetCenter Friday night: not much.

Until he fights a quality opponent not named Tyson, we may never know.

McNeeley won the United States Boxing Federation (USBF) heavyweight title with a second round knockout of the little-known Sam, another ex-convict, but he did little to enhance his reputation in his first fight after the Mike Tyson bout on August 19.

Heavyweight boxer Peter McNeeley of Medfield, left, corners Michael Sam in the first round of their USBF championship bout in the FleetCenter on Friday. McNeeley won the title with a second round knockout.   (The Associated Press)

At 196 pounds, Sam gave 20 pounds and it appeared that McNeeley could have easily dropped him at any moment he desired.

The moment he chose was at 1:43 of the second round. Sam's purse was withheld by the Massachusetts State Boxing Commission, which had reservations about his condition.

Much of the crowd, which had already ended its love affair with McNeeley, expressed displeasure at the conclusion, with more than one fan trying to get in his face. His father, Tom, had to be restrained.

"When they stop booing me I think I should worry," said McNeeley, but the reaction appeared to bother him.

Vinnie Vecchione, McNeeley's manager and a target of more than a few boos himself, was just happy McNeeley finally has something to put the Tyson fight behind him.

"This fight carries him through and into the post-Mike Tyson era," said Vecchione. "There was an immediate depression after whatever happened in Las Vegas but now we are beyond that. Sam helped us through that."

Vecchione implied after the fight that negotiations are underway to arrange a fight with former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes.

Although McNeeley may spark controversy, one has to admit his ring appearances are never dull.

The crowd as a whole was much kinder to Dana Rosenblatt but his fight against Floyd Williams for the WBC Continental Americas Middleweight title had all the interest of a Cher infomercial.

Rosenblatt maintained his title, but the fight went the full 12 rounds before he won a unanimous decision.

Even before Rosenblatt had entered the ring, he was reportedly in line for a multi-million dollar fight with former middleweight champion Sugar Ray Leonard.

But based on Friday night there is much work to be done before Rosenblatt even dreams of getting in the ring with even an aging Leonard.

Williams hit Rosenblatt regularly throughout the fight but those punches lacked power and Rosenblatt was never in serious trouble.

Hanson's Geoff Yalenezian became the answer to a trivia question when he knocked out Eddie Jiminez. A year ago Yalenezian was a senior at Whitman-Hanson Regional. This morning, he is the first boxer ever to win at the new Boston Garden.

By the end of the second round the new blood from the South Shore Boxing Club found his groove and began to unload.

In the other bouts, Marshall Simpson's star continued to rise as he knocked out Lloyd Ratowlski in the second round.

George Heckley won the New England middleweight championship when he stopped Israel Figueroa in the ninth round. Figueroa was the replacement for Brockton's Mike Culbert, who was sick.

This story ran on page 13 of The Brockton Enterprise on 10/28/95