|The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire -- SEPTEMBER 1:2001|
New England Chatta |
By JD Vena with cool stuff from "The Iceman" John Scully
October 23, 2001
Iceman Scully Ready to Rekindle Old Rivalry
Besides the CBZ, there are many additives within the sport that make boxing an intriguing game to follow. No, I'm talking about round card girls, which don't get me wrong are great, particularly the twins featured at the Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet. I'm referring to rivalries, more specifically, the heated ones. Like in most any other sport, a rivalry is what adds a little flavor to a match-up. I shouldn't even have to get into why you might have looked forward to seeing Cam Neeley step onto the ice with Claude LeMieux and I sure as hell better not have to explain why the Ali-Frazier series (between the dads of course) was so memorable, other than what took place between them in the squared circle.
This past Wednesday in Rosemont, IL, Joey DeGrandis, a South Boston native, won his second straight fight since losing a 12 rounder in an attempt to win Charles Brewer's IBF super-middleweight title nearly 4 years ago. Though the casual fan or even a South Bostonian may not care about DeGrandis' recent 6 round win (over Kwan Manassah), there was one New Englander who was practically drooling at the mouth. Over 12 years ago, DeGrandis met a promising amateur in the finals of the New England Golden Gloves. No, that amateur wasn't Malden's Dana Rosenblatt (I said promising), it was Hartford's "Iceman" John Scully. And the reason why Scully is so eager to get back in the ring with DeGrandis is because pundits and fans are still pestering him over the prospect of meeting DeGrandis in the professional ranks. And why is he being harassed and reminded of a fight that took place nearly 14 years ago? Because the bout is still considered among New England boxing circles as the most talked about amateur fight in its history. So what happened that night? I figured you good readers would be better served hearing it from one of the night's participants. The Iceman takes us back to January 1988, a time when Mike Tyson ruled the heavyweight division, a time when Micky Ward became infatuated with Whitesnake, a time when the Bruins and the Celtics were title contenders and a time when CBZ's former associate editor Tom Gerbasi paraded around high school in his Z. Cavaricchis (ed note - Far from it my boy. I was one of those longhairs listening to cheezy 80's metal).
"At the time of the fight, I was in the Top 10 in the USA at 165 pounds," Scully explains. "I had just defeated Otis Grant in an International match about 25 days before Joey and I fought. I was going into the Finals of the 1988 New England Golden Gloves in Lowell having won the N.E. title the previous two years. Joey was a newcomer type...making a lot of noise by scoring some knockouts in succession up in the Boston area. I had never heard of him until the day of the semi-finals when we both scored knockout wins to set up a meeting in the Finals. I heard people saying that Joey was telling everyone how he was going to beat me. A lot of trash talking ensued after that. The next day, the day of our fight, it continued. In the bathroom before the fight I walked in and Joey was in there alone and I said something to him about being confident. He was a lot more humble there, but later on, when we gloved up and were loosening up in the back hallway by the concession stands in full view of the audience members, I said something again to him along the lines of 'It's time!' He got real mad, flipped out and started yelling at me. To be honest with you, I thought it was real cool. Like a movie, Like a Muhammad Ali - Joe Frazier trash talking session. I was yelling down the hall and he was yelling at me, telling me what he was going to do and about 50 or 60 people came over to see what was going on. I remember asking his trainer, 'You let this novice act like this?' But his trainer, who I forget his name, was a tough type of guy also and he said something smart back to me. It was crazy but I liked it. I knew it was going to be interesting after that. So when the fight started I came out and took my time because he immediately began holding me and pushing me. Every time I tried to get my punches off or every time I landed a good shot he rushed in and grabbed me. Then, with about 15 seconds to go in the round, I pushed myself into gear and let go with some good combinations; one 4-punch combination finished with an uppercut lifted his head way up in the air. I then followed that with 4 more straight punches at the bell. As soon as I started to turn to my corner he hit me in the side of the head. At the time I remember thinking, 'I am going to stop him the next round anyway, so let it go.' I could hear him breathing heavy in the clinches and I knew I was getting stronger so it would not have been a problem. Then, while I was in the corner between rounds I saw the ref stopping the fight (apparently Joey swore at him between rounds) by disqualification. I stood up to put my arms up when I saw Joey coming at me. I was thinking, 'He looks like he wants to keep fighting!' And he did. We began wrestling and fighting right there in the ring and I remember getting him in a clinch and telling him, 'You were all done kid! I was about to knock you out!' We were going at it pretty heavy when our trainers began grabbing us and trying to break us up. Before they could do that, about 30 guys from both sides jumped in the ring and began fighting! It was literally a riot. I remember a referee named Matt Mullaney came from the audience and grabbed me from behind. I was trying to get away to join the fighting again and I remember him saying to me, 'John, please don't! These guys are crazy, they'll stab you!' Matt was practically crying when he was saying this. Finally, the police jumped in and broke things up...but it was not over. When I got to the ring apron on my way out of the ring I looked down and saw Joey walking down on the floor in front of me towards the dressing room and I started yelling at him again. I couldn't resist. Before I knew it, the whole crowd was screaming and cheering and all the fighters were jumping around. It was pretty crazy. After the night was over they held me in the basement of the Auditorium for about two hours until things outside quieted down. When they finally brought me out the back door I saw a large group of guys rushing at me and I thought 'Here we go again.' I thought it was a big rumble again but actually it was a group of TV and Newspaper reporters wanting to interview me. It was a pretty crazy scene. They followed me to the car while the Police pushed me along and into the car. I was yelling out the window, 'Tell him we can fight tomorrow!' A ton of newspapers, including USA Today carried the news the next day. In the years since that fight there has been a lot of talk about us fighting again. Many times over the years I have had people tell me, "Joey D said he is going to knock you out in a rematch." Back a few years ago when Wayne McCullough and Daniel Zaragoza fought in Boston, I finally got tired of all the talking and I said 'Okay, let's fight!' I agreed to fight Joey in his hometown but, for whatever reason he backed down. A year ago, I saw Joey at a fight in Boston and he approached me about a possible fight. I told him that I wanted to fight also but nothing came out of it. Now that he and I are active again, I think this fight could happen. I have no promoter, I am on my own basically. So I have to take it upon myself to try and make this fight happen. I know that there are promoters in New England that would love to make this match. I hope Joey does not hold this fight up with demands for unreasonable money or anything like that. I love the game of boxing and to me, a fight like this is very exciting and the promotion of it will be just as exciting as the fight itself. Once people see the video tape of what happened in 1988 they will want to see this fight. I am putting out the challenge right here and now...Joey Degrandis, tell your promoter to allow you to let this fight happen. My dream is that Vinny Paz and Dana Rosenblatt will fight for a third time and that our fight is put on that show as a featured attraction. Let's call it 'Unfinished Business.' I am ready to finally get this thing going."
Hey Joey, how you doin?
A couple of big paisans are coming to Foxwoods Resort Casino on November 2nd for another installment of ESPN2 Friday Night Fights. Promoter and 6-time world champion, Sugar Ray Leonard will pit the popular Lou Savarese with Dave Bostice, while unbeaten "Baby" Joe Mesi faces his toughest opponent in Sherman Williams. Other boxers featured will be unbeaten bronze medal U.S. Olympians, Clarence Vinson and Jermain Taylor in separate bouts of course. Also appearing on the show is two promising New Englanders, "Bad" Chad Dawson and Angel Torres. For ticket information call 800 PLAY BIG.
Two Boxing Hall of Fame Banquets are coming your way very soon. On Sunday, October 28th the Veteran's International Boxing Association Ring Four will hold its 54th annual dinner banquet at the Florian Hall in Dorchester. Some of the inductees include former world jr. lightweight champion Harold "Chubby" Gomes of Providence, John "Dino" Denis (a former KO victim of George Foreman) and Pat Petronelli, a former trainer of the great Marvelous Marvin Hagler. For ticket information call Ring Four's president, Reinaldo Oliveira, Jr. (the brother of contender "Sucra" Ray Oliveira) at (508) 866-4070.
A week later (that's November 10th folks), Ring 99 will hold its banquet at Jackie Brady's Gaelic Club in Lowell. This year, Lowell's popular Dick Eklund (the brother of contender "Irish" Micky Ward), who has proven to be one of the more popular boxing figures of the New England Area, headlines the honorees. Also being inducted will be the late Louis Ayala, whose life was cut short earlier this year. He was undoubtedly one of the greatest New England amateur boxers of his era and was destined for a world title. Accepting in his honor will be his mother Maria. Al Mello, an Olympian and great pioneer of yesteryear will be given a long over due tribute. Lowell's own George Colton, a well respected boxer of the 50s, who took two out three from Jimmy Connors will be inducted along with a few pioneers of the game: Charlie Mortimer and Charlie Pappas, popular referee Dick Flaherty, Historian George Kreger, along with former greats Steve Memishian, and Herb Weissblum.
Though this is not New England boxing news item, the CBZ felt it would be nice to offer its well wishes for Manuel Beiro Jr., the father of famed ring announcer, M. (for Manuel) Mark Beiro. Papa Beiro suffered a heart attack on September 14th and is at home recovering. Fortunately for Beiro's father, the heart attack occurred in a fitness center AT A HOSPITAL! After Manuel had fallen "there was a lady from the hospital rescue team that was working out at that time and ran over to my Dad and CPR'd him back," said Beiro. "Everybody said she saved his life and she came in to see him everyday during his recovery. "The doctors described my Dad's attack as an "Instant Death" heart attack! If he had not been in the hospital, he would not be with us today. He was actually resuscitated twice!"
"The doctor (who is a childhood friend) told my Mom that they were waiting for my Dad to become more mentally aware before they did the quadruple bypass. My Mom replied, in typical Beiro fashion, 'When is that gonna' be? I've been married to him for 52 years and I'm still waitin' for him to be 'more mentally aware.' The doctor looks over to me and says, 'Is everyone in this family messed up?'
Get well Manuel Jr.!
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