Sunday, August 11, 1996


Pro Fights To Hit Saratoga

McNeeley, McGirt Featured On 8-Bout Card

By Buzz Gray

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Professional boxing returns to the Capital District with a bang Monday night. An eight bout card, which has been dubbed The Battles At Saratoga, will be held at the Saratoga Springs City Center.

PETER McNEELEY "Hurricane" Peter McNeeley

Nationally known heavyweight Peter McNeeley of Medfield, Mass. will be showcased in a 10-round bout. McNeeley (40-2), who lost to Mike Tyson in a high profile fight a year ago this month, will face Domingo Monroe (8-6) of Providence, RI.

Don't be surprised if the fight ends early — the hard-hitting McNeeley has scored 34 knockouts in his four-year pro career, with 23 coming in the first round.

"I'm just training very hard, fighting often and waiting for the big break again," said McNeeley.

Buddy McGirt will be fighting in the feature bout. Some might think McGirt has nothing left to prove. After all, he has been world welterweight champion — twice!

Now he's decided a third time would be nice.

At 32, the Long Island resident takes another step in that direction when he faces Brian Barbosa of Passaic, NJ, tomorrow night.

"I'll definitely be champ again," said McGirt (69-5-1), who will be making his third appearance since ending an eight-month retirement. "I'm as hungry now as I've ever been."

McGirt, who will be shooting for his 49th knockout, is managed by Latham businessman Don Cepiel Sr.

"He's the one who talked me into coming back," McGirt said of Cepiel. "I was ready to call it a career."

McGirt will be fighting for Cepiel for the third time since signing a long-term contract with him in April. In his last bout, McGirt won a 10-round decision over Allan Watts at Trump's World Fair Casino in Atlantic City on June 12.

"If I could, I'd fight 12 times a year," said McGirt. "I really enjoy the action."

Cepiel looks on McGirt as a manager's dream.

"It's easy to see why he was two-time world champ," Cepiel said. "Buddy doesn't require a baby sitter. He runs, sets and adheres to his own curfew and trains with a passion."

Barbosa, 20-3 with 13 knockouts, won't have any advantage in conditioning. McGirt will be in top shape.

The other fights include a Capital Region cruiserweight matchup between Gabriel Busreth (7-0) of Schenectady and Gary Wilcox (5-0) of Saratoga in a six-round affair.

Busreth won a gold medal in the 1995 Empire State Games. Six of his seven professional victories have come by way of knockout. He beat Wilcox when they were amateurs during qualifications for the 1994 Empire State Games. Wilcox, who won the Vermont heavyweight championship in 1995, knocked out Richie Brown of New York City in the second round of their May 31 bout in Rye.

Former two-time national amateur middleweight champion Shane Swartz of Ft. Collins, CO, will be taking part in his sixth professional bout. Only 20, Swartz is a veteran of more than 300 amateur fights. He turned pro in May and signed on with Cepiel.

"Although this young man had a tremendous amateur career, he will be even better as a pro," Cepiel said. "His punching power was hampered in the amateurs by the bigger gloves and headgear. This kid will knock a lot of people out. His style is so aggressive. He comes to fight, not dance. The fans always go crazy over Shane."

Shannon Miller of Troy, Wilton's Sean Powell, Xavier Harris of Kingston, and Brandon Mitchem of Augusta, GA, a finalist for the U.S. Olympic team in the 147-pound class, will be involved in the other fights.

The Battles at Saratoga's co-promoter, BearNuckle Boxing, LTD., is headed by Albany attorney Don Cepiel Jr., and will be making its pro boxing promotional debut.

Portions of the 7:30 PM card will be televised live (9-11 PM) on Prime Sports Network. Tickets, starting at $20, will be on sale at the Lexington Grill in Colonie, the Manhattan Exchange in Schenectady, Uncle Sam Boxing Club in Troy, Broadway Joe's in Saratoga, Jimmies Restaurant in Schodack, and the five Cocca's Motels locations including the Thunderbird in Latham.

Related articles:
"White Hope" McNeeley Looks For Spa Revival   [Albany Times-Union]
McNeeley Wins In Saratoga Brawl   [Albany Times-Union]

This story ran on page C-1 of The Albany Times-Union on 08/11/96