Monday, August 12, 1996


"White Hope" McNeeley Looks For Spa Revival Tonight

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Peter McNeeley has been to the Nineties what Gerry Cooney was to the early 1980s: a Great White Hope of the heavyweight division. Like Cooney, McNeeley was hyped from the start as the kind of Jack Dempsey wannabe, complete with a 35-1 record, a powerful punch, and the starring role in a national pizza commercial. McNeeley, the 6'2", 220 lb. pride of New England, will be making his Capital District debut tonight, when he meets Domingo Monroe in the co-featured heavyweight fight.

40-3 (34 KO's)   Medfield, MA

McNeeley comes here, his reputation only slightly dented, the result of a high profile loss by disqualification to Mike Tyson and a loss last month in Denver to club fighter Louis Monaco. His 40-3 record is still among the best in the division. He's a big banger with 34 knockouts (23 scored in the first round!), and his exciting ring style draws crowds. Further, his manager Vinnie Vecchione, is certain his fighter has his best days ahead of him.

"Here's a kid who only had 20 amateur fights. There was no PanAm Games, no Olympics," Vecchione said. "This is the only sport where you can have a 40-3 record and by considered by many to be washed up."

The manager blames himself for McNeeley's unexpectedly poor showing against Monaco in Denver. The Boston fighter was stopped in the fifth round. "We took him out West two years ago to train for Tyson, and put him on the road," Vecchione said. "This time we had just two days of running, but no wind sprints. He was just hanging on. He was beat more by exhaustion. The altitude did him in. His opponent was from Denver and wasn't affected." Vecchione says despite the recent setbacks, McNeeley will be a more credible than Cooney was. He has the same Irish good looks and a punch to match.

"He's a gutsy kid. When he's 30 years old he'll be able to pick those punches off," the manager said, adding, "Sure he's had too much fanfare. Other than being a Jewish heavyweight, you couldn't be more of a minority than Peter."

Vecchione promised Capital District fight fans will see the real deal in McNeeley tonight.

Related articles:
Pro Fights To Hit Saratoga   [Albany Times-Union]
McNeeley Wins In Saratoga Brawl   [Albany Times-Union]

This story ran on page C-1 of The Albany Times-Union on 08/12/96