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The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire
Tiger Balletto Hunts Down Figueroa
By JD Vena
June 3, 2001

CRANSTON, RI - 30 year-old Bronx trial horse, Joseph "Trouble" Figueroa arrived at the Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet last night to do what he was supposed to do when coming in as a late replacement: lose, lose convincingly and not get stopped. For Figueroa, winning must not be a big thing for the 5'1 New Yorker. The getting stopped part is something that Figueroa must pride himself. In Figueroa's 44 losses including last night's 10-round unanimous defeat at the hands of unbeaten Providence favorite, Gary "The Tiger" Balletto, Figueroa has been stopped only once, and that was in 1993. You see, old Figs is the Reggie Strickland of the lighter weights, a survivor who spends each round smiling, playing possum, taunting and electing to fight only when he hears the timekeeper signal that there are 10 seconds left in the round.

Figueroa's performance last night personified his career, a resume filled with decision losses to world beaters like Antonio Diaz and Tracy Patterson as well as fellow members of the sub-500 club like Genaro Andujar. Balletto, who came in at his usual limit of 135 did his part in trying to make last night's headliner of a sold-out, 8-bout card an exciting one, but Figueroa didn't cooperate until there were either 10 seconds left in the round or if he was in deep trouble in the corners. The opponent Balletto was suppose to face last night was Freddie Ladd, another journeyman who pulled out for whatever reason and would have made for a more intriguing fight for Balletto and his fans. In beating Figueroa by scores of 100-90 twice and 100-91, Balletto improved to 21-0-2 with 18 KO's. Figueroa is now a proud 9-43-4 with 4 KO's.

Mobile, Alabama's Rick Dinkins appears to be following in the tracks of Figueroa. But he could learn a few of Figueroa's tricks for survival. In the past year, Dinkins has made his way up to New England to get himself knocked out by Balletto, the late Bobby Tomasello, Jeff Frazza, Aaron Torres and last night to former USBA jr. featherweight champion Jason Pires of New Bedford. Unlike Figueroa however, Dinkins attempts to make a fight out of it and for his efforts usually gets himself knocked out. Pires' right hand made that possible last night when he iced Dinkins face-first in a matter of 2:30 of the initial round. Pires (18-1, 9 KO's) is ranked 12th by the NABF at featherweight, has now won three in a row since losing for the first time to 4-time world title challenger, Arthur Johnson. Dinkins is now 10-18-1 with 1 KO.

Another Providence favorite, Peter Manfredo, Jr. had his hands full with Antonio Barker until unleashing with a devastating left hook that deposited Barker on the seat of his pants and nearly out of the ring. Referee Joe Lopino waved the fight over at 1:26 of the 4th and final round. Barker was coming off a decision loss to 2000 Olympian, Jermaine Taylor and admitted after the fight that Manfredo may be just as skilled Taylor as well as hitting harder than the Olympian. The 19-year old Manfredo improved his mark to 6-0 with 4 KO's.

Joe Spina, 175, a former Southern New England Golden Gloves champion made his professional debut last night punching out Buffalo's Tom Barker, 175 , at 2:06 of the first round. Apparently, someone thinks that Spina is going to go a long way in the pro ranks. Shortly after snatching his first win, someone snatched his ring gear. I saw Barker leave and it wasn't him. He left the Rhodes with his own bag, a swollen jaw and a record that now reads 2-8-1 with 1 KO.

Calgary, Canada's Jamie Clampitt may not only be the best female fighter in Canada, she may also be the toughest scrapper from Calgary since Lanny McDonald. Unfortunately, only Clampitt's beautiful looks and not her well-honed skills could not be fully displayed, as they were when she lost to the first time, a close decision to Liz Muehler back in December. That was due largely in part to her debuting opponent, Philly's Anita Parker and her inability to hold her hands up and defend herself. Moments into the first round, referee Steve Manfredo, the uncle of Peter Jr. issued a standing 8-count over the hopeless Parker and stopped the fight at 1:48 after Clampitt dropped Parker. Clampitt is now 5-1 with 2 KO's.

In other earlier bouts "Irish" David Grundy, 170, another Golden Glover from Providence made a successful debut winning a unanimous decision over another unsuccessful Philadelphian, Keith Collier. Throughout the 4-rounder, Grundy leaped in with haymaker-left hooks from one side of the ring to the other. Grundy's major problem was the fact that of the few times Grundy landed one of those punches, he failed to even buckle Collier, 174, who has probably absorbed harder hooks from the "Streets of Brotherly Love." Collier is now 0-2-1.

Angel Torres won his third fight while going the 4 round limit for the first time with gritty Atlanta native Leroy Price. Torres, 128, is a former 5-time Puerto Rican national amateur champion, who now lives in Williamantic, CT. Price, 129, is now 3-14 with 2 KO's. Fareed Samad, 155, a 1996 Olympic alternate to Fernando Vargas of Philadelphia who now fights out of Providence knocked out Ronin Ross, 160, after he dropped him 4 times. Ronin stayed down the 4th time and was counted out by Harold "Chubby" Gomes at the :38 mark. Samad is now 9-0 with 9 KO's.

Promoter - Jimmy Burchfield's Classic Entertainment & Sports
Matchmaker - Ted Panagiotis
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