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The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire
August 11, 2001
Tackie Sours Sucra's Title Hopes
By JD Vena


LEDYARD, CT - For the past four years, "Sucra" Ray Oliveira has done whatever he could to get a world champion in the ring with him. Having gone 12-0-1 since losing to current IBF welterweight champion Vernon Forrest, Ray was steadily climbing the ratings but not absorbing what he deserves most: respect. Despite beating a slew of contenders, which included unbeaten "Vicious" Vivian Harris and "Cool" Vince Phillips, Oliveira's name wasn't mentioned among many boxing circles as a guy who deserves a "big money fight." Last night at the Fox Theater at Foxwoods, Oliveira, 140, of New Bedford, MA nearly beat another fearsome contender in Ben "Wonder" Tackie only to fall short in another of his amazing battles. Tackie, 140, of Accra, Ghana won a majority decision by scores of 114-114, 115-113 and 116-112 and Oliveira's NABF jr. welterweight title. The CBZ had Tackie pulling it out 115-114.

"You have to feel bad for Ray a little," said ESPN2 Boxing Analyst Teddy Atlas. "Here is a guy who hasn't lost in nearly four years, has beaten some good fighters and instead of being rewarded with a big money fight or title shot he is forced to keep fighting tough fights. I guess he figured that he'd have to fight another tough guy since he didn't get anything out of what he put in the last four years. You have to admire him for that. Who knows, maybe now he'll get a money fight?"

Early on in their pitched battle it appeared that Tackie's one punch power could do enough to stop Oliveira. In the second round, Tackie landed a pulverizing left hook to the chin of Oliveira, the same shot that devastated IBF champion Roberto Garcia last year. But the resilient Oliveira didn't wilt, as most any other fighter would have. He tried to fight on the outside using a jab, a weapon that Tackie would eventually overcome.

"The jab can be great weapon but it can be dangerous one too if you don't move your head or jab at the wrong distance," said Atlas. "Before the fight, I thought that Ray should have been fighting Tackie on the outside but he was allowing Tackie to time him with his right hand. He knew it was predictable and he knew he could throw his right over Ray's jab."

With his title in jeopardy, Oliveira began making a gallant stand. Besides using his jab, Oliveira was attempting to damage the cranium of Tackie with hooks and right crosses. But Tackie's head just wouldn't budge. Even when Oliveira landed four consecutive hooks to Tackie's tank-like head, the effects didn't seem to take its' toll. Oliveira desperate at this point needed to make an adjustment.

"There was a moment in that fight when things changed," said Atlas. "When Ray hurt Tackie to the body, he changed the fight around."

Midway through the fight Oliveira landed a left uppercut/hook to Tackie's solar plexus, causing him to wince in pain and instead of beating on Tackie's head, Ray Ray used a two fisted attack to Tackie's midsection which kept Tackie idle for most of the round. Ray had found a way to keep Tackie from throwing bombs, but in the next round Oliveira reverted mostly to his headhunting game.

"Before Ray hurt him, the inside was where Tackie wanted to be," said Atlas. "What amazed me was the next round when Ray went back to the head. Ray went back to the outside and Tackie stayed there with him, which showed that Tackie was hurt before. In doing so, Tackie was able to box and he recovered. I thought to myself, Ray might be sorry that he didn't stay with the body and fight Tackie on the inside. That was the real turning point of the fight."

Going in to the final round, Oliveira knew he had to win it big in order to move on in the jr. welterweight sweepstakes. Oliveira put on another of his amazing punch-a-thon exhibitions, something that Tackie welcomed. Oliveira and Tackie began to finish the fight the way most of Oliveira's fights close. In the first minute of the final stanza, Oliveira threw four or five jabs from the same spot and was countered with a decapitating right hand, a punch that would have left anyone in a heap. Instead, Oliveira buckled and Tackie tried to finish the job. But the amazing resiliency that Oliveira has demonstrated throughout Oliveira's career allowed him to recover and fight back until the final bell. It was yet another one of ESPN2's classic bouts, one that most watching will keep in mind as a Fight of the Year candidate.

When the two were done punching, 2,729 thrown punches were tallied by CompuBox, the third most since it began. Incidentally, Oliveira was also a participant in the 1st and 2nd fights of most punches thrown (3,020 against Zack Padilla in 1993 and 2,986 against Vince Phillips last year). But despite another heroic effort, Oliveira knew that Tackie was the better man on this night. And though he may be disregarded as an immediate title fight challenger, Oliveira may have garnered some of that respect that he has been looking for over the past 11 years. And with respect, Oliveira, now 42-8-1 with 19 knockouts could obtain a money fight down the road, something he richly deserves. Tackie, rated 10th by the CBZ and now 23-2 with 14 knockouts of course will move forward, especially after his impressive showing last night. But anyone interested in fighting Tackie may want to remember going to Tackie's body.

In a thrilling co-feature, Daniel Alicea, 136 , of Santurce, Puerto Rico and Julian Wheeler, 136 , fought to a 10 round draw (97-93 for Wheeler, 96-94 for Alicea and 95-95). Neither the CBZ, who scored also had it 95-95 or the three ringside judges could determine a winner in this close battle. Wheeler was effective in countering most of Alicea's punches but it became more and more difficult for him when Alicea refused to stop punching. Like Tackie and Oliveira, Wheeler and Alicea deserve some moolah. Alicea is now 24-4-1 with 19 KO's while Wheeler is now 20-6-2, with 8 KO's.

In other bouts, Jason "The School Boy" Pires, 127, of New Bedford, MA won a close and somewhat controversial decision over St. Louis's Phillip Payne. Payne, 125, won some of the hometown crowd over when he stunned Pires on two occasions during the fight but it was ultimately Pires' activity that won him the fight. Pires, rated 13th by the NABF at featherweight improved his mark to 19-1 with 9 KO's while Payne slips to 11-3-1 with 5 KO's. 19 year-old Peter Manfredo, Jr., 160, of Pawtucket, RI looked impressive in his first televised appearance until punching himself out when he had Rhon Roberts, 160, of Georgetown, Guyana in trouble early in the round. The bout was originally scheduled for 6 rounds but was moved to four at the last minute and in Manfredo's case that sudden change may have helped him. Young Manfredo is now 7-0 with 4 stops while Roberts is now 8-3 with 3 KO's. Jamie "The Hurricane" Clampitt, 133, of Calgary, Canada showed once again why she is one of the most impressive female fighters on the planet when she pounded a very game Erica "Too Sweet" Sugar (what a cool fighting name for a chic eh?), 132, of Baltimore. Sugar lasted the four round limit but lost by three scores of 40-36. Clampitt is now 5-1 with 2 KO's. Sugar is now 1-2-1 with 1 KO. In the swing bout, Iman Green, 175, of Bridgeport, CT won a 4-round shutout over John Douglas, 179, of Georgetown, Guyana. Green is now 6-4, 2 KO's while Douglas is now 2-8-2 with 1 KO.

Promoter - Jimmy Burchfield's Classic Entertainment & Sports
Matchmaker - Ted Panagiotis
Venue - Foxwoods Resort & Casino
Ring Announcer - M. Mark Beiro
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