Pat Kelley at ringside
Photography by Emily Harney
Mike "Machine" Oliver (21-7- 1 NC, 7 KOs) and Castulo Gonzalez (9-9-1 NC, 3 KOs) felt they had some unfinished business heading into their 10-round New England junior featherweight title fight. They both stepped out of the ring still feeling that way. In a rematch of their February 2006 slugfest, an affair that began and ended with both camps having a great disliking for each other (fights almost began at the initial press conference, weigh-ins, and after rounds had officially ended) Oliver and Gonzalez were prepared to settle the score once and for all!
Unfortunately, a cut over Gonzalez' right eye ultimately resulted in referee Dick Flaherty, upon advice from the ringside physician, to call a halt to the bout in just the second round. Flaherty ruled the cut to be the result of an accidental clash of heads, and therefore the fight ended as a no-contest.
"I didn't see any clash of heads," stated Oliver's trainer John Scully.
Oliver went a step further saying: "I knew he wanted to get inside, away from my speed, and I was ready for that. That's when I landed a left hand that caused the cut. There was no butting of heads."
Ironically, after Oliver earned a ninth-round TKO win in their first ill-intended meeting, both fighters shared a great respect for each after this short-lived bout.
Immediately following the fight, promoter Rich Cappiello announced that both fighters have agreed to "Do it again!"
AYALA SHARP IN TKO OF CAMINERO
Former IBF world title challenger Elvin Ayala (19-3, 8 KOs) just twice removed from his clash with "King" Arthur Abraham, earned a third round technical knockout victory over a very game Eddie Caminero (5-2, 5 KOs).
Though Ayala was far more
experienced than Lawrence , Massachusetts ' Caminero, the heavy handed Caminero was there with the intention of knocking Ayala out.
"I know I can punch. I was trying to end it the whole fight, but he ended it in the third round. It was a learning experience, and I'll be back. He's a terrific fighter."
While Caminero's straight-forward attack was evident from the opening bell, Ayala's experience was as well.
Ayala, a notably good defensive fighter, often slipped the wide punches of Caminero, and countered effectively in the early going.
However, as the fight continued, Ayala quickly became the aggressor. Jabs, hooks, and uppercuts began to land at will against Caminero, as did some nice body work. All the while Caminero continued to move forward.
"He's got balls," Ayala stated. "He came to fight, and he kept coming after me. He came here to fight."
By the third round, Ayala's experience began to pay dividends, particularly his uppercuts which seemed to land at will. At the beginning of the third stanza, it was an uppercut that first introduced Caminero to the canvas, and marked the beginning of the end. After quickly rising to unsteady legs, Caminero, to his credit, was still willing to move forward. However, an Ayala right hand, just moments later, would put the finishing touches on a fight that Ayala plans on being just another step towards an imminent title.
While Caminero valiantly got back up, referee Dick Flaherty immediately waived off the action, and rightfully so! As Flaherty raised his arms , Caminero flailed across the ring and back down to the canvas.
"I'm living in the gym," Ayala proclaimed. "This isn't a sport that you make a hobby out of. I'm in this for a world title. I plan on two more tune-up fights, and then I want to fight Abraham again!"
Though Ayala has his hopes set upon a rematch with Abraham, he didn't limit his options to "King" Arthur alone. "I'll fight any champ who is willing to give up their title!"
What's Ayala's idea of tune-up fights?
"I'd like one against John Duddy, then Kelly Pavlik. After that, I want Abraham.
The official time of the stoppage was :41 seconds of the third round.
O'CONNOR DOMINATES HAMEL
In front of boisterous Irish-American fans, Framingham, Massachusetts' native, and heavily touted junior welterweight boxing prospect, "Irish" Danny O'Connor (7-0, 2 KOs) continued his unbeaten ways with a unanimous six round decision victory over Longueuil, Canada's Sebastian Hamel (10-19, 1 KO).
The bout represented O'Connor's stiffest test of his pro career, taking on the twenty-nine-fight veteran Hamel.
O'Connor controlled the action from bell to bell, hitting the seasoned Hamel with a wide array of offensive firepower. O'Connor was particularly successful landing his vaunted hooks to the body and countless uppercuts that continued to snap Hamel's head throughout the bout.
Hamel was very much a game fighter, always attempting to answer O'Connor's onslaughts with those of his own. However, the amateur pedigree of O'Connor, who was an alternate for the U.S. Olympic Team, has obviously paid dividends for his professional career.
Upon completion of the bout, all three judges at ringside scored the affair 60-54, a shutout unanimous decision win for O'Connor.
NEVSKY STOPS BURGESS
In perhaps the most exciting bout of an action-packed card, and a battle between two southpaws, Russian import, and now Clinton, Massachusetts native Andre Nevsky (7-0, 4 KOs) earned a hard fought fifth-round TKO victory over Philly's Roberto Burgess (4-2, 1 KO).
In a fight that was filled with ebbs and flows, Nevsky's business and accuracy were, ultimately, the difference.
Both fighters managed to land lead left hands and followed them up with ill-intended right hooks. While Burgess seemed to have great success in the second and third rounds, Nevsky may have stolen the third round with a flurry to close out the round.
Burgess came back to, seemingly be winning the fourth, until Nevsky introduce him to the canvas with a left hand-right hook combination in the final seconds of the round. While Burgess appeared to be perfectly fine after the knockdown, nothing could have been further from the truth.
To begin the fifth stanza, Nevsky quickly pounce on his for, once again, landing powerful left hand, right hook combinations. Another final right hook from Nevsky quickly dropped Burgess to the canvas, resulting in the Burgess camp to thrown in the towel.
Official time of the stoppage: ;40 seconds of round five.
"KILLA" MILLER DECISIONS JAEGAR
In heavyweight action United States Coast Guardsmen, and ultimate entertainer Phil "Killa" Miller (5-0, 2 KOs ) earned a majority four round decision victory over Steve Jaegar (0-2).
While Miller injured a bicep muscle in training, and hurt his hand during the fight, he still managed to walk away with a "W" while bringing the crowd to it's feet.
Miller, a sparring partner and good friend of fellow heavyweight Jason "Big Six" Estrada, entered the ring with Michael Jackson music for his ringwalk. And following the fight, Miller danced in the ring, and with women in the crowd, much to the joy of all in attendance!
While Miller, a Providence native who commutes to his home Coast Guard base in Boston everyday, certainly wasn't one-hundred-percent, he managed to land some big shots, and be the more active of the two big men. Judges at ringside scored the bout 38-38, 39-37, and 39-37.
MINOR PUMMELS BLACKWELL
If Worcester , Massachusetts heavyweight Rashad Minor (2-1, 2 KOs ) was concerned about following "Killa" Millers performance, he quickly put himself at ease with a :50 second destruction of pro-debuter Ernest Blackwell (0-1).
After Blackwell landed a very solid straight right hand to the head of Minor, Minor landed a vicious, flush left hook that immediately flattened Blackwell! The devastating nature of the knockout left Richard Flaherty with no need to even begin a ten-count. Miller may have came down to the ring with Michael Jackson's music, but Minor introduced Blackwell to "Neverland," and quick!
The official time of the stoppage; :50 seconds!
TRADER PUMMELS ALACORN!
In the opening bout of "Showdown At Early Sunset," unbeaten Philadelphia lightweight prospect Frankie Trader (5-0, 2 KOs) beat, bloodied, and battered a very game Gerardo Alacorn (0-5) before scoring a fourth round TKO victory. While Trader pretty much controlled the action throughout, Alacorn had his moments throughout, thus making this a more than entertaining opening affair!
Due to the severity of bleeding Alacorn suffered, referee Kevin Hope, upon recommendation of the ringside physician, called a halt to the bout.
The official time of the stoppage was :48 seconds of the fourth round.