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The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire -- SEPTEMBER 1:2001
Savarese, Mesi Chalk-Up Wins
By JD Vena

November 3, 2001

MASHANTUCKET PEQUOT TRIBAL NATION (Ledyard, CT) - In this day in age, it's not too common to see an American heavyweight of white pigmentation headlining the main event of a nationally televised boxing attraction. That's what makes it twice as implausible when the co-feature also showcases a big white dude. But last night, that wasn't the case as New Yorkers Lou Savarese (now living in Houston) and "Baby" Joe Mesi of Buffalo won their clashes featured on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights at the Fox Theater in Foxwoods Resort Casino. Fighting on live television and on a Sugar Ray Leonard promoted card; Big Lou and Baby Joe certainly deserved their twin billing. After all, Savarese has been featured on HBO a few times and had actually won once.

In a career that began the way most white heavyweights embark, Savarese ended up having a credible career, one that stretches back to 1989. After padding his record with the usual stiffs, something most heavyweights are guilty of, Savarese stepped up to the plate and made a good name for himself in losing a tough decision to then linear world champion (as some would call it), George Foreman in 1997. He also earned some decent recognition in beating Goofy, formerly Lance Mount Whitaker, a highly regarded fighter in the talent laden heavyweight division. Team Savarese seemed to have padded his early career for one big payday. What they got thanks to Savarese was a quite a few of them, even one against the sports biggest name, Mike Tyson. Though Savarese (251), now 36 years old, didn't impress last night in winning a unanimous 12-round decision over journeyman Dave Bostice (250) of Los Angeles, he could be good for yet another lucrative payday.

Scoring a knockdown in the 6th round, Savarese, now 42-4 with 34 KO's faded down the stretch and even lost the final round to Bostice. In boxing, a win is a win, but in his showing Savarese proved that he is just a name now rather than a contender. It's okay to go the limit with someone like Bostice, but ya don't stagger in the final round and lose that frame as Savarese did if you're to be perceived as a legitimate threat. On the flip side, not much was answered in Mesi's performance. Mesi (228), a colorful kid was matched with Derrick Banks of Detroit and it didn't go very long. A minute into their scrap, Mesi followed a right hand with a crisp left hook that left Banks (232) sitting helplessly on one of the ring ropes in a neutral corner. Mesi followed that volley with a series of hard punches that dropped Banks for a 9-count. Referee and former title challenger, Eddie Cotton halted the contest at the right time (1:25) and probably didn't serve Banks any justice in issuing a mandatory count while the ropes held him up. It's the CBZ's belief that Mesi, now 21-0, 19 KO's would have finished him that round anyway.

What's next for Mesi? "I would love to have a fight with Lawrence Clay-Bey," said the 27-year old. "We fought three times as amateurs. He beat me the first time in regular competition and then I beat him in the '96 Olympic Box-Offs. If I had beaten him the second time I would have been on the U.S. Olympic team, so I owe him one."

Mesi has deep roots in the Sweet Science, which date back all the way to his grandfather, a 1929 national amateur champion. They are roots he would like to see one day bloom him into the family's first world champion. But if Mesi doesn't become the next world champion, his career may not look to shabby if it winds up looking like the career of Lou Savarese.

Mesi's early blow-out enabled the boxing fans viewing on television one of the most exciting fights ever seen in the Fox Theater, a scheduled 6-round contest between David Estrada (148) of Chicago who is trained by popular Angel Manfredy and Charles Clark (151) of Baltimore. If it weren't for these two, particularly Clark who sports a heart of a lion, fans may not have felt as though they got their money's worth. Even a non-fan flipping through the tube that may have suddenly caught a glimpse of their savage brawl would have been impressed. After absorbing a wicked uppercut that dropped him on the seat of his pants and caused a serious cut inside of his mouth in the 1st round, Clark managed to his feet and gave Estrada some hellish moments. When Clark continued after being knocked down, the cut inside his mouth dripped from his mouth like a college kid's sloppy attempt to funnel a beer. Estrada, along with any seated ringside official was wearing Clark's blood. The brawl was mercifully halted by Cotton at 2:57 of the 5th round when Estrada, now 10-0 with 4 KO's finally convinced Cotton along with everyone else watching that enough action and bloodshed was seen. It was a humane stoppage and a superhuman performance by both boxers.

In other bouts, Peter Manfredo, Jr., 163, of Providence, RI won a 6-round SD over Ian Gardener, 164, of Toranto, CA. Manfredo is now 9-0 with 4 KO's while Gardener loses for the 1st time in 3 fights. Olympian Jermain Taylor (158), 6-0, 3 KO's was awarded a 2nd round TKO at 1:25 of the round over Brockton's Dave Hamilton (163) when Arthur Mercante, Jr. prematurely stopped their match. Taylor buckled Hamilton with a left hook and Mercante, Jr. thought that the fight should end that way. Mercante, who was the third man in the ring the night Beethaven Scotland lost his life, should definitely hang 'em up. His judgement in the ring must be severely impacted and his job last night is a clear indication that he can't do an honest job in there. It pains to say this because his dad was the very best and a great guy. But whether he is a decent guy or not, Arthur Jr. is incapable of calling it right. In the opening bout, Robert Maldonado, 126, of Hendersonville, KY thoroughly whipped Angel Torres, 126, of Manchester, CT over 4 one-sided rounds. Maldonado is now 5-0 with 2 KO's, while Torres suffered his first defeat in 5 bouts.

Promoter - Sugar Ray Leonard
Venue - Foxwoods Resort Casino
Television - ESPN2

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