|The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire|
December 23, 2000
With Win Over Phillips, Oliveira Sends Message to Champions - by JD Vena at ringside
MASHANTUCKET, CT - After some 2,989 punches were thrown in a 12 round contest between two wily veterans, "Sucra" Ray Oliveira chalked up perhaps the biggest win of his career in defeating "Cool" Vince Phillips to win the vacant NABF jr. welterweight title last night at the Foxwoods Resort & Casino. The difference in the near record breaking fight, had to do with the fact that the younger, Oliveira (140), was able to land more of the punches the majority of those rounds, where as his game opponent couldn't sneak enough punches by the cagey Oliveira's defense.
As in most of Oliveira's fights particularly his losses, he fought his opponent's style, but the determined native of New Bedford, MA was eager to prove that it was a strategy he could more than manage.
"I always say I'm going to box everybody, but when I see that I can probably beat them at their own game even though sometimes it's a tougher fight, I just keep trying it," said Oliveira. "I fought the wrong fight because I backed him up instead of letting him come to me. Something kept telling me, 'Keep backing this kid up and maybe he'll give up.' He didn't give up, but he did slow down."
The 37-year old kid from Pensacola, FL did slow down but managed to make a fight out of what may have been the final fight of the former IBF champion's stellar career. After a fairly even first round, Oliveira pressed Phillips and began walking his adversary backward for much of the fight. Phillips tried playing cat and mouse with Oliveira by luring him into his right hand, but the majority of Phillips' heavy punches landed on Oliveira's gloves. Phillips (140) was effective in sneaking in some counter shots but it was Oliveira who seemed to finish each exchange, usually with his own right hand.
"He got my respect," said Oliveira. "He threw some good punches in there but I wanted to show him that he didn't hurt me so I would come back with three or four punches of my own."
In the awesome 12th round, Oliveira and Phillips tried to prove which of them could prevail in this strategy. Both combatants gave a three-minute shoeshine drill until Oliveira lashed out with two hooks that backed Phillips up at the final bell. In that round both Oliveira and Phillips combined to throw an incredible 463 punches (237 by Phillips and 226 by Oliveira). Though it was a dangerous scheme for Oliveira because of Phillips' destructive power, it impressed most at ringside and convinced two of the three judges when it came down to the final verdict. Glen Feldman's 114-114 tally was overruled by Greg Smith's score of 117-111 and Crystal Wright's score of 117-112. The CBZ had Oliveira winning convincingly at 118-111.
For the loser, retirement may not be too certain. Phillips (41-6-1, 30 KO' s) may have shown signs of wear, but how can one be convinced that he's finished when considering that he threw the most punches (1,559) and the fact that Oliveira has never been stopped? Phillips stouthearted performance was what made Oliveira's that more impressive.
"I've been calling this fight 'The War of the Dinosaurs.' Nobody wanted to fight us because they were scared of us, so we fought each other. We showed everyone that no matter what the decision was, that he and I weren't done."
After an active year (5 fights), Oliveira (42-7-1, 19 KO's) hopes that his achievements this year will not be overlooked in the forthcoming. In February, Oliveira upset unbeaten Vivian Harris and knocked out Isaac Cruz in June, another rated competitor with the WBC. With his biggest career win since winning the NABF title the first time against Charles "The Natural" Murray in 1997, Oliveira expects that titlists like Kostya Tszyu will look to keep their distance from tasting some of "Sucra."
"Put your belts up!" demands Oliveira. "They're all good fighters but they will lose my respect if they don't fight me now."
Last night's ESPN2's co-feature was scratched when pre-fight blood tests confirmed that one of its scheduled participants, Gerald Gray of Queens, NY tested positive for the hepatitis C virus, leaving Hartford's Pito Cardona without an opponent. Here's hoping for a speedy recovery for Gray.
In lieu of the co-feature's postponement, only four fights took place prior to the main event. In the first bout of the evening, 19-year old Pawtucket prospect, Peter Manfredo, Jr. (161) found his southpaw opponent awkward until dropping Cornell Hester twice (161) in the second round. After the two rounds had completed, Hester (0-2-1) surrendered. Manfredo registered his first knockout in three pro fights.
Gary "Tiger" Balletto, of Cranston, RI scored yet another knockout this time over Larry O'Sheilds, 140, of Houston TX. The Tiger had a difficult time in hunting down his prey because of his wide punches. O'Sheilds, who had gone the full route with Floyd Mayweather earlier in his career, was able to slip the wild punches until running into the Balletto's left hook midway through the fourth round. After dropping O'Shields twice, referee Ken Ezzo stopped the beating. O'Sheilds is now 17-11-3, 7 KO's while Balletto moved to 17-0-2, with 17 KO's.
In a surprising verdict between two world-class female fighters, Liz Mueller, of New London, CT seemed to land more of the heavier shots but came up short in losing her first fight as a pro by split decision to Holland's Marischa Sjauw. Mueller, 134 had a difficult time in the early going as Sjauw's jab kept Mueller at a distance, but Mueller came on strong down the stretch in pouncing crisp hooks and right hands to the four-time champion's ribs and face. Though Mueller managed to do a number on Sjauw's left eye with her right crosses, the numbers reflected in two of the judge's scores did not. After eight action packed rounds, Judges Harold Gomes and John Lawson had Sjauw winning by scores of 77-75 and 78-74 while Frank Lombardi had Mueller taking it by 77-75. The CBZ had Mueller winning a close but convincing count of 78-74. Regardless of the how the outcome was viewed, it was certainly a great fight for women's boxing. Sjauw is now 18-4-3 with 3 KO's while Mueller is now 5-1, with 2 KO's.
In the fight prior to the main event, Shakha Moore, of Norwalk, CT moved his record over the .500 mark with a close majority 4-round decision over Ike Ezeji, of New York, NY. Moore showed some flash but seemed to let his opponent into the fight enough to make it closer than it should not have been. Harold Gomes had the fight even at 38 a piece. John Lawson had Moore by a 40-36 shutout while Lombardi scored it 39-38 for Moore (as the CBZ saw it. Moore is now 6-5 while Ezeji is now 5-4-1 with 2 KO's.
Promoter - Jimmy Burchfield's Classic Entertainment & Sports
Matchmaker - Ted Panagiotis
Network - ESPN2