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The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire -- MAY 19:2001
Ward Back on Track
by JD Vena

May 19, 2001

LEDYARD, CT - Making his first ring appearance since his thrilling 10-round loss to Antonio Diaz last August and his 25th on ESPN air, Micky Ward of Lowell, MA scored his umpteenth knockout via left hook to the liver when Steve Quinonez was counted out by referee Steve Smoger in the first round. Whether ESPN's television coordinators knew that Quinonez' chances of lasting ten rounds with Ward were slim or not, the fight began just before 11:00 PM (EST) and ended shortly thereafter at a sold out theater at Foxwoods Resort & Casino last night. But beating Quinonez (23-6-1, 9 KO's), who went 10 rounds with WBC lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo last year as quickly as Ward finished him surprised even the 35-year old ring vet.

"I didn't know I would hit him that cleanly that early," said Ward. "But I got him with a nice shot to the liver and when you get hit that cleanly, you can't recover very easily. You can recover from blows to the head, but you can't recover from a shot like that."

Ward, 142, spent most of the round as the aggressor with Quinonez, 142, engaging in many clinches. But with less than ten seconds to go in the first frame, Ward landed a crippling shot to the liver. Quinonez in a delayed reaction fell to the floor and remained there after being counted out at 3:03 since the bell cannot save you. The bell didn't ring, but it wouldn't have saved Quinonez anyhow as the fallen native of Palm Springs, CA spent the next two minutes on the canvas collecting the wind that Ward knocked out of him.

"I've been refereeing Micky's fights since he was a youngster in Atlantic City," said Smoger. "When (Ward) hit this guy, he dropped like he was shot by a bullet. His body punches have always been his trademark, but he has certainly has perfected that shot."

For years now, that shot has been known as the "Mexican Liver Punch," but after watching Ward (36-10, 27 KO's) end his fights with that very punch all too often, it's almost fitting to re-name the punch after him. After each of Zab Judah's fights, he maintains that Ward was the best opponent he has ever faced. Judah arguably the best 140-pounder in the world, who was also in attendance last night defeated Ward by 12-round decision four years ago, but Judah remembers Ward's body attack as if it were only yesterday. Unfortunately for Steve Quinonez, so will he.

In a controversial 10-round co-feature, Curtis Barker, 150, of Philadelphia, PA won a unanimous decision over Detroit's Patrick Thorns, 147, when judges Julie Lederman and John Duke Lawson scored 97-92 for the Philadelphian. Judge Steve Weisfeld seemed to be the only one who had it right with a tally of 95-94, since it was a cloesly contested bout. The CBZ felt that Barker eked it out 95-94 (6 to 4 with Barker having a point taken away). As in many of Thorns' fights, he seems to do just enough to lose, but usually lands some telling punches that convinces the audience that he could have done better if he threw more. Barker deserved it, but not by Lederman and Lawson's margins. Barker remains unbeaten at 21-0-2 with 12 KO's while Thorns journey's deeper into journeyman's land with a resume of 23-9-1 with 15 KO's.

Barker was one of three Philadelphians who were successful last night at Foxwoods. In the opening bout, Anthony Washington, 140, won a unanimous (39-37 twice, 40-36) decision over a game Andre Baker, 144, of Lumberton, SC. Though Washington won every round, Baker landed some clean shots, blows that a 4-11-1 fighter shouldn't be able to land on a fighter who is now 12-0-1. Randy Griffin, 176, also of Philadelphia was much more impressive than Barker last night. Entering his 7th career bout, Griffin had won all of his fights via KO, but defeating Dan Sheehan, 176, of Salem, NH by the same route was quite a feat. Though Sheehan has never left his feet or been stopped in his career, Griffin managed to keep his streak alive with a 4th round stoppage over the poor man's Tex Cobb when referee Richard Flaherty saw that Sheehan was visibly staggering. In a year or so, start thinking about Griffin fighting another KO specialist, Julian Letterlough. Oops! I already did.

The Hilton brothers in Canada aren't the only siblings to make some noise in the fight in the Canadian fight game. Younger brother of Michael Olajide, Tokunbu, 160 won his 11th fight, 8th by KO, over rugged Leo Edwards. Tokunbo, a 24-yeard old out of Vancouver, BC landed a picture perfect left hook after Edwards missed with his own during the end of the second round. Edwards survived the round but was stopped at 1:08 of the next round when referee Jim Santa gave Edwards an early Christmas present. Edwards falls to 11-9-2 with 5 knockouts.

Prince Badi Ajamu, 173 ½, scored an impressive knockout over Chet Scott, 169, of Anderson, SC. In a relatively competitive fight, Ajamu dropped Scott with a beautiful left hook in the final round then finished the job with a right hand a few moments after Scott, now 4-2 made it to his feet. Ajamu is now 4-0 with 2 stops.

In the swing bout of the evening a rematch of a draw a month earlier, Elvin Bastardo, 142, of Hartford, CT won majority decision over Jody Wheaton, 143, of New Bruswick, Canada. One judge had Bastardo winning every round, but even as bloody as he was, it was hard seeing Wheaton not given at least two rounds. Bastardo is now 2-0-1, while Wheaton slips to 1-2-1.

Promoter - Gelb Promotions, Inc.
Venue - Foxwoods Resort & Casino
Ring Announcer - Mike Bu… I mean Mark Beiro
Man standing directly in front of me - Dave, the sound guy

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