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Massachusetts Featherweight, Tomasello, in Intensive Care
By JD Vena

October 21, 2000

F or most prizefighters, getting the opportunity to fight on national or worldwide television is a tremendous opportunity for exposure. The majority of the time, most fighters unlike Andrew Golota will make the most of their opportunity by fighting their hearts out.

On a night when Colombian featherweight, Victor Polo won his greatest victory in snatching the "0" from the loss column of Hartford's Angel Vasquez, another featherweight from Saugus, MA began his toughest fight, one that continues as of this writing. Approximately 15 minutes after the decision was announced for his fight with Accra, Ghana's Steve Dotse, Bobby Tomasello collapsed in his dressing room and stopped breathing. The absurdity of the reversal of the decision (which originally favored the Ghanian by scores of 94-94, 94-93 and 95-93) to a majority draw became insignificant by the shock and the calamity of Tomasello's unfortunate condition.

In ESPN2's Friday Night Fights co-feature at The Roxy, Tomasello entered his toughest test without a loss in 14 pro bouts under his belt. Dotse, who replaced D.C.'s James Baker on one day's notice, entered the bout with an 18-3-1 record with 16 knockouts and world rated with the IBF and WBA sanctioning bodies. Dotse also had the benefit and experience of venturing through 12 completed rounds of boxing. That edge in experience would show against Tomasello who had never been past eight rounds in his short career.

As expected, Tomasello began an aggressive, fast pace that would later fade after three rounds and transitioned into the hands of his determined well-conditioned opponent. Dotse was undaunted and undamaged by Tomasello's attack even when he was floored while both were trading hooks in the 3rd round. After the third his best round, Tomasello began to visibly fade and drop his hands. Dotse, made the younger Tomasello pay for committing one of boxing's cardinal sins by pelting him with crisp hooks.

After taking the 8th round based on determination and the fact that the aggressive Dotse took a round off, Tomasello was stunned in the 9th round by a right hand. Only the bell saved Tomasello from wilting, but it was his sheer courage that enabled him to finish the fight on his feet. With a minute to go in the final round, a right hand dropped Tomasello into the ropes. Referee Mike Ryan inexplicably ruled the knockdown a slip but counted the next one when a right deposited Tomasello near a neutral corner. Tomasello managed to get to his feet and survived more combinations including an accidental shot after the bell.

It was clear to everyone in attendance that Tomasello fought with every ounce of energy his body could summon but that he would not go out as the victor in what turned out to be his final appearance in a boxing ring. Tomasello was taken to New England Medical Center, which was fortunately a block away from The Roxy for immediate surgery to remove a blood clot on the outside of his brain. Friends and family members gathered at the hospital in concern for Tomasello, one of them, his manager, Anthony Cardinale.

"The doctors told us that having a blood clot on the outside of the brain rather that the inside of the brain is a better sign," said the worried Cardinale. "Right now, he's in critical condition."

If those of you readers believe in a higher source, then you should ask for them to help Tomasello survive his biggest fight.

In other bouts:

Victor Polo, 126, of Bolivar, Colombia WU12 Angel Vasquez, 126, of Hartford, CT
Polo: 29-2-2, 22 KO's
Vasquez: 21-1, 16 KO's
Scores: 120-108,117-111 & 116-112

Demetrius Hopkins, 137, of Philadelphia, PA WU4 Andre Baker, 138, Lumberton, N.C.
Hopkins: 4-0, 1 KO
Baker: 3-5
Scores: 40-36 by all three judges

Wendy Sprowl, 107, of Hull, MA WU4 Deanna Nancy
Sprowl: 3-0, 2 KO's
Scores: 40-35 (twice) and 40-36

Colm Keane, 180 1/2, Dorchester, MA WU4 Tom Barker, 173, Rochester, NY
Keane: 3-0, 1 KO
Barker: 0-4
Scores: 40-36 (twice) and 40-35

Felisberto "The Joker" Fernandes of Dorchester WU4 Mike Cribbin, of Lewiston, ME
Fernandes: 1-1
Cribbin: 3-15-1, 1 KO
Scores: 40-36 by all three judges

Gil Reyes, 163, Lawrence, MA TKO2 Jose Williams, 167, of Bronx, NY
Reyes: 2-0, 2 KO's
Jose Williams: 8-44-1, 3 KO's

Promoter - Cappiello Promotions & Duva Boxing
Television - ESPN2

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