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Clark Takes “School Boy” To Class

Reports byScott Ploof
Photography by Emily Harney

“The Contender” Season two contestant and former NABA lightweight titlist, Michael “Cold Blood” Clark (40-5-1, 18 KOs) dominated former USBA title holder Jason “School Boy” Pires (22-4-1, 9 KOs) and captured not only the unanimous decision but his 40th professional victory in an oddly contracted nine round main event on Friday night at the Twin River Events Center in Lincoln, RI. Scores of the bout were 90-80 twice and 89-81 in favor of Clark. The eight bout fight card was promoted by Classic Entertainment and Sports. 

“It was nine rounds because they did not want to do an eight round title fight, so we met them in the middle.  So we won’t do a ten rounder and they won’t do an eight rounder so we met them in the middle and it made history I believe,” said Clark afterwards when asked why the fight was scheduled for nine rounds.

Clark controlled the tempo of the fight as he worked his jab and turned it into combinations on Pires throughout.  Pires continued to press the action.  He however continuously pressed the action right into the offense of Clark.   Clark was solid with his hook combinations to the body and head of Pires.  He was able to land two and three punch combinations on Pires at will.    

Both fighters clinched early as they looked to establish their position.  Clark began to fire his jab which backed Pires off and gave him an opportunity to land combinations on his opponent.

“Even at a lightweight, that is something that I never really used was my jab.  I have even been told by fighters like Gary Balletto and some of the others that I have fought in the past that I have a nice jab, so tonight I really wanted to focus on my jab with him being the taller fighter, I wanted to lead the exchange with my jab and it worked out for me all night.”

Clark started landing more combinations in the second and third rounds off his jab as Pires continued to press forward to look to fight on the inside.  He landed a right-left combination to Pires face and then a solid body shot that stopped him in his tracks. Pires, unable to fight on the inside could not hit Clark as he moved well around the ring.

When asked what he knew about his opponent prior to their encounter, Clark said, “You know I just watched a couple of his fights on You Tube.  With him being the smaller fighter coming up,  I compared the competition he fought coming up and the competition of the guys that I had fought and I thought that this guy was nowhere in my class.”

Clark continued to land punches as he continued to score points during the middle rounds of the fight.  Every time Clark landed a combination on Pires, he would continue to step backward, which allowed for Pires to keep coming forward.  Pires was able to land on occasion but they were usually quickly met with counters from Clark.

“I am the type of fighter that I watch other fighters fight.  I learn from them.  I watched Mayweather fight “Sugar” Shane (Mosley) and he clearly beat him down with the one-two.   That is something that me and my dad worked on in the gym for the past two weeks and they landed right down the middle tonight,” said Clark afterwards.

Pires continued to look to fight on the inside however Clark continued to punish him every time he came within range.  A left hand at the end of round eight sent Pires to the canvas however he was able to answer referee Joey Luppino’s count at eight.  

Clark continued his domination in the ninth and final round as Pires did not have an answer for his slick attack. A flurry of punches from both fighters closed out the bout, with Pires being out-landed by Clark in the final minute of the fight.

After the fight, Clark said to the media, “I feel like that being the bigger fighter, I wanted to knock this guy out, honestly, I wanted to knock this guy out with a passion and I didn’t want to hurt this guy because in his last fight he fought a guy that was (10-1) and got knocked down three times and ended up with a draw, so I did not want the judge taking the fight into his hands.”
“I put all my faith in God and he makes everything happen for a reason.  He brought me down here, (on two weeks’ notice) got me in shape, and prior to that I had a short injury but ointment was able to heal that.  I went to the doctors and they could not heal it, then I put ointment on it and that healed it.  Things happen for a reason, and with 40 wins and five losses, I feel like I am back on top now,” said Clark.

When asked what was next for him, Clark said, “I am looking for a birthday cake now.  You know forty wins and five losses is not a bad record. “Sugar” Shane Mosley is (46-6).  I am still up there with some of those top guys.  I showed tonight even to my manager, Pat Nelson, that I still have it in my tank.  I still have that youth at 36 years old that I can still bang with them and I am having fun.”

Thorpe Decisions Barboza

Someone’s “0” had to go as Columbia, SC’s Winston Thorpe (3-0, 2 KOs) scored a close majority decision over Massachusetts’ Jesse Barboza (3-1, 3 KOs) in a four round heavyweight matchup.  Scores of the bout were 39-37 and 39-38 for Thorpe, while Barboza got the nod on the third card 39-37. 

Thorpe was the busier fighter in the early rounds of the fight.  He landed with an overhand right on Barboza.  Barboza was content on waiting to counter his opponent.  Thorpe however, continued to throw punches and remain active.

Barboza landed some solid punches in the second and had Thrope reeling by the end of the round.  He landed a solid left and a left hook on Thorpe.  Thorpe got hit with another combination from Barboza and was wobbly from the exchange.  Thorpe looked to have punched himself out by the end of round two as he was saved by the bell from being knocked down. 

Thorpe was able to rally in the late rounds of the fight as he continued to confuse Barboza.  He was able to land three and four punch combinations on Barboza.  Both fighters had each other in trouble however both showed good determination as they were able to throw combinations and fight their way out of danger.  In the end, Thorpe seemed to be the busier fighter and won the close decision on the cards in Barboza’s backyard. 

Bauza Decisions Grant

Middleweight David Bauza (5-0, 3 KOs) kept his perfect record intact, coming up off the canvas in the first round, to win a four round majority decision over Richard Grant (4-4, 2 KOs).  Scores of the bout were 40-37 and 38-37 for Bauza, while the third judge saw it 38-37 for Grant. 

Grant caught Bauza with a fast right hand that was a flash knockdown.  Bauza was immediately on his feet as referee Joey Luppino administered the standing eight count.  The fight continued as Bauza fired punches at will looking to avenge the knockdown.  Grant connected with a right hook at the end of the round. 

Bauza kept the pressure on Grant as he followed him around the ring everywhere he went.  He connected with two right hooks to the head of Grant and one to his body.  Grant was able to slip away and out of danger. 

Grant held his ground in the third and fourth rounds but was unable to do enough to win a decision on the scorecards.  He traded punches with his opponent but it was Bauza that got the better of the exchanges especially in the final round of the fight.

McCoy Defeats Kozlin

New Haven, CT’s Greg McCoy (1-0) made his pro debut a successful one as he won a hard fought majority decision over the previously undefeated Keith Kozlin (5-1, 3 KOs).  Scores of the bout were 39-36, 39-35 for McCoy and 38-38 even.  McCoy won the first two rounds easily on the judges’ scorecards, even knocking Kozlin down in the second round.  Kozlin fought back valiantly in the third round and almost had McCoy out but ultimately he was saved by the bell.  McCoy stormed back in the fourth and traded punches evenly with Kozlin in the final round cementing him the decision and his first pro victory.

Dawson Stops Reed

The older brother of the undefeated and former WBC light heavyweight champion “Bad” Chad Dawson, “Slick” Rick Dawson (1-0) made his professional debut a successful one as he stopped North Carolina’s Damion Reed (0-1) at 1:54 seconds of the second round.  Reed was knocked down by a Dawson right hook to the ribs, he was up at the count of nine, however upon being asked if he could continue by referee Joey Luppino, Reed did not immediately respond.  Luppino stopped the fight at that point as a result which gave Dawson the TKO victory, much to the dismay of an arguing Reed, who thought he could continue the fight.

In Other Action:

Providence, RI’s Vladine Biosse (6-0, 4 KOs) scored a four round shutout over Woonsocket, RI’s Joe Gardner (4-1-1, 1 KO) in an all Rhode Island super middleweight battle.  All three judges scored the bout 40-36.  Biosse controlled the tempo of the fight using his range to keep Gardner on the defensive throughout the contest.

Edwin Soto (4-0, 2 KOs) kept is perfect record intact as he won a very hard fought four round unanimous decision over Carlos Hernandez, (0-1) who was fighting in his pro debut.  Soto landed the harder punches knocking down Hernandez twice in the bout. Hernandez to his credit displayed a solid chin and gave Soto a run for his money in the later rounds of the fight.  The two knockdowns cost him on the judges’ scorecards as they scored the fight, 39-35 twice and 40-34 all for Soto.

Marshfield, MA welterweight Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes (2-1, 1 KO) captured a four round unanimous decision over Columbus, OH’s Natoya Ervin (1-5).  All three judges scored the bout a shutout 40-36. 

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