|The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire -- JULY 15:2001|
Ward, Burton Wage a Classic|
by JD Vena
July 15, 2001
HAMPTON, NH - "It's the fight of the year no doubt about it. It's one of the best fights I've ever seen and Micky Ward has been in a few of those," remarked ESPN2 boxing analyst Teddy Atlas after calling "Irish" Micky Ward's ten round punch-a-thon with Emanuel Burton of Chicago. And he probably won't get an argument from the 1,800 in attendance at the Casino Ballroom at Hampton Beach or those fortunate enough to have witnessed what was one of the more memorable gloved wars ever waged. After ten brutal, fast paced rounds, Ward of Lowell, MA won a hard fought unanimous decision over the gritty Burton. The bout was last night's main event on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights but it may as well been televised by ESPN Classic.
"That was one of the most competitive bouts I've ever seen," said referee Steve Smoger who was needed only to separate the two warriors at the end of each round. The crowd's deafening uproar made the sound of the bell mute so much to the point where ring announcer Mark Beiro had to hold the microphone to the round bell so that the participants in the ring could hear it. Ward was adored and cheered by his local fans as if he were a gladiator, a modern day Maximus.
"The heart that both combatants exhibited was exceptional," said Smoger. "I had no idea that the ten rounds went." Indeed, the bout was like one of those songs that you don't want to end. The flow of the action was nonstop and it began moments into the first round when Ward, 141, pinned Burton, 140 ½, in a neutral corner and began unleashing his vaunted body assault, an attack that has won him previous wars of attrition.
"I knew he was going to be tough and I was trying to get down to the body but he knew," said Ward. "He covered his body very well which made it difficult for me."
After the first round Burton made it more difficult when he began to peck at Ward with crisp counter punches and shots over the top. According to Compubox' statistics Burton, who normally doesn't exude many punches per bout was credited with throwing 918 punches. "That was one of the things that surprised me about him because he normally doesn't throw that many punches," said Ward. But Burton had to fight back this time because Ward's 1082 punches brought it out of him. Over the last nine rounds, the best of Burton who is now a misleading 24-18-4 with 12 KO's looked pretty damn good. "You can name any tough guy that I fought and there ain't no one tougher than Burton."
During the second round, Ward's nose was bloodied and from that point on, both engaged in a toe to toe fray over will, skill, pride and a future lucrative payday, one that shouldn't allude them. Just when you thought each man would wilt, they would fire back. In the 9th round, Ward who appeared exhausted came back to score a pivotal knockdown, courtesy of his trusty left hook to the body. But unlike most men who don't return to their feet whenever Micky lands that reputed shot, Burton did and fought as ambitiously as he had the previous rounds. In the end, both had won the respect, but one walked away with the verdict and that was Ward by scores of 96-94, 96-91 and 98-90. The CBZ saw it 97-93 (6 to 3 for Ward with a 10-8 round in the 9th and one even frame).
"Both of these guys deserve a big payday," said Atlas. "Nothing was left in that ring tonight. They understand what it means and what it takes to be a fighter. They understand what their obligation is when they step into the ring and how to act when things are tough. Hector Camacho, Jr. should talk to these guys next time he gets into the ring."
Camacho, who most believe quit in his corner in his bout last week with Jesse James Leija on HBO is clearly one of those fighters who doesn't deserve one of these opportunities. Fighters such as Micky Ward who fought on the ESPN network for a record 26 times, is just one of those fighters who should be awarded a big money fight. After all, he and Burton create excitement whenever they step into the ring.
"I've been consistent and I've been around a long time and I think I deserve a nice payday," said Ward. But there may be a problem in finding such an opponent that can pay him that kind of money. Ward, now 37-10 with 27 knockouts doesn't have anyone to fight that can earn him the 6 to 7 figure salaries he's looking for. With jr. welterweight champions Zab Judah and Kostya Tszyu slated to unify the title in November, Ward's only chance to secure a payday in the near future would be to move up to welterweight and fight a Shane Mosley or perhaps even an Arturo Gatti, the Italian version of Ward. Should "Sucra" Ray Oliveira, another highly rated jr. welterweight contender from Massachusetts defeat Ben Tackie in impressive fashion in August, then a meeting between the two of them could prove to be both meaningful and exciting. Nevertheless, Ward will need to remain active so that the public will demand him to be granted such an opportunity. But don't expect anyone to forget last night's battle. And if you didn't record it, find someone who did. Or just hope that ESPN Classic airs it some time soon.
In the co-feature last night, Nick Acevedo, 154, of Brooklyn via Puerto Rico was cut over the right eye after his head collided with Detroit's Leon Pierson. As a result, the bout was declared a no-contest at 1:30 of the first round. Acevedo is now 13-0-1 with 1 NC and 3 KO's. Pierson, 155 ½, is now 9-3-1, with 2 KO's. Anthony "The Fox" Washington, 140, of Philadelphia earned a hard fought 6UD over a game Mark Adams, 140, of Sackville, New Brunswick (Canada). As Adams pressured Washington, the winner smothered him with many hooks and counters though few were powerful enough or landed with the frequency to discourage the 40 year old Canadian. Washington improved to 14-0 with 3 KO's while Adams slipped to 13-3 with 4 KO's.
Powerpunching Randy Griffin, 175, also of Philadelphia scored a 2nd round stoppage over Israel Ponce, flooring him 4 times in the process. Griffin now 9-0 with 8 KO's dropped him twice in each round with each hand, the last knockdown was a compliment of his left hook. Matchmaker's dream: Julian Letterlough vs. Randy Griffin. Ponce of Reading, PA is now 16-18, 5 KO's.
In his professional debut, local Jason Lehoullier, 155, of Portsmouth, NH scored third round stoppage over New York's Miguel Colon. Lehoullier, a former New England Golden Gloves champion dominated the hapless Colon (now 0-6) with a number of slapping left hooks to the ribs. Referee Joe LaPlant waved the one sided affair over at the 2:35 mark.
Promoter - S & L Boxing
Matchmaker - J. Russell Peltz
Network - ESPN2
Venue - Hampton Beach Casino
Ring Announcer - M. Mark Beiro
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