Tuesday, August 13, 1996


McNeeley Wins At Saratoga

Monroe Disqualified In Brawl With The Hurricane

By Dan Rafael

SARATOGA SPRINGS — An enthusiastic crowd of 1,412 fight fans turned out for Monday night's Battles at Saratoga at the City Center in Saratoga Springs. Portions of the card were televised live nationally and to 18 other countries by the Prime Sports Network.

It was a night of contrasts. While middleweights James "Buddy" McGirt and George Heckley boxed ten skillful and respectful rounds in the co-feature, the headline fight between heavyweights Peter McNeeley and Domingo Monroe degenerated into an ugly brawl that might have been better suited for the World Wrestling Federation.

"Hurricane" Peter McNeeley, who has now won five of six bouts since the fiasco against Mike Tyson last August, won his street fight with Monroe, a Native American who entered the ring with a WWF-style head dress.

McNeeley (41-3, 36 KOs) is known for his punching power, and Monroe clearly didn't want to be on the receiving end of it. He grabbed and held throughout the match and seemed willing to do anything to avoid actually fighting McNeeley. McNeeley became increasingly frustrated with Monroe's antics, and it was clear that the audience felt the same way.

Nationally known heavyweight Peter McNeeley presses the attack against Domingo Monroe in the headline bout last night at the City Center auditorium in Saratoga Springs.   (Photo by Pat Orr)

Monroe was finally disqualified at 1:03 of the fourth round for holding and repeatedly ignoring the referee's instructions. Before the DQ, Monroe had been stripped of two points.

McNeeley's appearance provoked a very strong reaction from the Saratoga fans. Much of the audience wildly cheered his every move while others seemed to downright despise him, presumedly because of the controversial stoppage of the Tyson fight. Several chanted to McNeeley about his Pizza Hut commercial — "Watch out or you'll get hit by the breadstick!"

Things came close to getting out of hand during the bout. Several people were escorted away by police as the crowd began to get as out of control as the fighters in the ring. Some particularly obnoxious patrons taunted foe Monroe (8-6) with crude slurs about his ethnicity.

"He kept pulling my neck down," McNeeley complained afterwards. "I'm here boxing and he wasn't. He was a stinko opponent. What can I say, it was an ugly fight."

"He just didn't want to fight my guy," said McNeeley's trainer Vinnie Vecchione, the same man who threw in the towel against Tyson.

Earlier in the evening, McGirt, 32, used his superior speed and accuracy to bloody Heckley and easily win a 10-round unanimous decision, 100-90, over the New England middleweight champion.

"I knew the kid wasn't going anywhere even if I hit him with a sledgehammer," said McGirt, a former two-time world champion who won his third fight in a row since coming out of an eight-month retirement. "I got bored and did what I wanted to do. I hit him when I wanted to, but I got in 10 good rounds and I think I proved to a lot of people that I still have my legs to go 10 rounds."

Heckley (17-3-2, 10 KOs) never was able to get to McGirt to really do any damage in the bout. "He has experience, savvy, and is very crafty," Heckley said in a thick New England accent. "He won the fight. He was a lot quicker than I was, but I didn't come to lay down. I came to fight and I did my best."

McGirt (70-5-1, 48 KOs) drew blood from Heckley's nose in the fifth round and in the 10th split his lip, spattering blood on press row.

By the time the fight was over, McGirt's shoulders and the white trim of his trunks were covered in blood.

"I think he may have fractured my nose," Heckley said. "But I have the utmost respect for him. I idolized him when I was younger."

See also:   "White Hope" McNeeley Looks For Spa Revival   [The Albany Times-Union]

This story ran on page C-1 of The Albany Times-Union on 08/13/96