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The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire -- May 5, 2001
Tate Escapes Zuniga Scare
By JD Vena
May 5, 2001

UNCASVILLE, CT - In a relatively competitive contest for the interim NABF super middleweight championship, Thomas "Ice-T" Tate (165 ) won a 12-round split decision over Fernando Zuniga (165 ) at Mohegan Sun's Uncas Pavilion.  Tate of Houston, TX was to originally challenge Scott Pemberton for his NABF champion until FBI agents nabbed Pemberton for muscling for a local organized crime group in his hometown of New Bedford.  Pemberton was replaced with Downey, California's (via Equador) Fernando Zuniga, who almost became another name opponent for William Joppy, the WBA champion who struggled with Zuniga over 10 rounds a year ago.

    As he had I his fight with Joppy, Zuniga gave Tate (rated 5th by the CBZ) all he could handle early on and towards the end of the bout, but didn't do enough during the middle when the 35 year old Tate tattered Zuniga's counterpunching attack an effective jab.  During the fifth round, Tate who had absorbed some decent counterpunch right hands, began to pump his jab in twos or threes, snapping back the head of Zuniga whenever Zuniga tried to mount any kind of attack.  That attack however heated up in the 12th and final round when Zuniga repeatedly stung Tate with several right hands.  When it was over, Tate was ruled the victor by two scores of 117-111 to Zuniga's vote of 116-112.  The CBZ had Tate eking it out by a tally of 115-114.  The victory brings Tate's respectable record to 40-6 (with 27 KO's) and could earn him his 4th world title shot if not the NABF belt, provided Pemberton is released or exonerated in time to defend it against him.  Zuniga's mark falls to 20-4 (15 KO's).

    A couple of years ago, Paul Spadafora looked like the real deal when he whipped Israel "Pito" Cardona of Hartford, CT over 12 rounds for the vacant IBF lightweight title.  His one sided victory over Cardona led most to believe that Spadafora was an incredible elusive boxer.  Since that loss, Spadafora has struggled with every challenge he has faced.  Last night in an 8-round co-feature, journeyman, Julian Wheeler showed that Spadafora's feat over beating Cardona isn't what it's cracked up to be winning a unanimous decision by scores of 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75.  After the first two rounds, Wheeler (134 ) of Virginia Beach, VA looked poised in peppering Cardona as he plodded to get inside.  Wheeler just didn't let him, landing everything in the book but a finishing blow.  Wheeler's record improved to 20-6-1 with 18 KO's, while Cardona, who himself may have become a journeyman slips to 34-5 with 26 KO's.

    Gary "The Tiger" Balletto of Providence, RI also won an easy decision over a more reluctant Freddy Cruz of Santo Domingo, D.R.  In entering the bout, Cruz, now 52-29-9, with 17 KO's had only been stopped by Naseem Hamed and Angel Vasquez.  After watching him run around the ring for 6 rounds, you could grasp why so many have failed to put him to sleep. After scoring a knockdown in the first round, Balletto, 136 , chased Cruz, also 136 , all over the ring hoping to nail him with one of his wild amateurish swings.  Balletto tried as he could to finish Cruz, who tried as he could to finish the 6 rounds and stink out the joint.  Balletto, now 20-0-2 with 18 KO's won by scores of 60-52 twice and 59-54. 

    Peter Manfredo, Jr., another Providence native went to 5-0 with 3 KO's when he stopped Worcester's Manny Teo at :41 of the 4th and final round.  Manfredo couldn't put anything together during the first two rounds, until Teo, who has been inactive for over two years, showed signs of fatigue.  Junior staggered Teo at the end of the 3rd round with a right hand, but Teo draped himself over Manfredo, which smothered his follow up.  Manfredo attacked Teo at the start of the 4th, prompting referee Rich Flaherty to administer a standing 8-count and to also stop the fight moments after he let it continue.

    Earlier in the evening, Zuri Lawrence, 237, of Wappinger Falls, NY continued to win and without the means of a knockout punch by decisioning trial horse Louis Monaco, 240, over 6 rounds.  Lawrence, who won by three identical scores of 60-54 improved to 16-7-3 with 0 stops while Monaco dropped to 11-23-3 with 5 KO's.  Angel Torres, 125, of Willimantic, CT landed a colossal overhand right to the cheekbone of Terron Glasgow, which dropped him onto his side.  As Glasgow lay on the canvas, he looked as though he was playing Han Solo frozen in Carbonite. Not knowing where he was, Glasgow grappled to his feet and tried climbing out of the ring deep into referee Joe Cusano's count.  Torres, an accomplished amateur from Puerto Rico is now 2-0 with 2 KO's while Glasgow slips to 1-2 with 1 KO.

In two exciting swing bouts, Jason Pires, 125 , of New Bedford, MA looked very impressive in starching Luis Rivera, 126, of Hartford at 2:20 of the third round.  In the first, Pires dropped the aggressive Rivera with a picturesque right hand.  Rivera leapt to his feet and survived the next two rounds, only to be dropped with another crushing right hand in the third.  Referee Mike Cusano wisely halted the contest just before it would have gotten ugly.  Pires is now 17-1 with 8 KO's, while Rivera is now 5-6 with 1 KO.  In a duel for Connecticut bragging rights, Juan Cruz of Hartford dropped streaking Shakha Moore of Nowalk in the first round with a vicious left hook and dominated most of their four rounds with Moore fighting on guts alone.  Moore, now 7-6 with 1 KO had won four in a row until losing by scores of 40-34, 38-36 and 39-36.  Cruz is now 5-1 with 2 KO's.

Promoter - Jimmy Burchfield's Classic Entertainment & Sports
Matchmaker - Ted Panagiotis and Tiny Ricci
Ring Announcer - M. Mark Beiro
Venue - Mohegan Sun
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