|The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire -- JULY 29:2001|
Moorer/Crowe Fight Review, July 27, 2001, Soaring Eagle Casino, Mt.
by Ted Kluck
The soft-spoken Mark Breland stood alone in a back hallway of the Soaring Eagle Casino shadowboxing quietly to himself. He had just finished explaining a technique to the writer and now, as if by reflex, practiced it on his own.
The writer had wanted very badly to make a joke about the charmlessness of boxing in a casino, and about someone billed as the "State Heavyweight Champion of Kentucky" (Crowe). But tonight was a night that, despite the controversial technical draw in the main event, saw the sport of boxing score a much-needed win.
The evening belonged to a 17 year old junior welterweight named Juan Diaz with 11 victories, poise, discipline, and a penchant for wicked bodywork already on his resume. Bodywork that he used chop down journeyman Scott Buck in one round. It belonged as well to Ukrainian Light Heavy Vitali Kopytko, who would outpoint Troy Barnes in the best fight on the card. It would belong to Breland, who as a trainer picked up another win with Heavyweight prospect Dominick Guinn. Ultimately, though, the exclamation point would be delivered by a ringside physician who, minutes into the 5th, would explain to a glowering, tattooed, angry Dale Crowe that his fight was over.
The beginning of a boxing match is much like an intimate conversation between two people: the venue is quiet, the eye contact unwavering, and most importantly the two are alone. This fight was no different. A slightly doughy Michael Moorer plodded forward initially with all the elacrity of a GM retiree shuffling from slot machine to slot machine. However, a clash of heads brought forth emotion and wild swinging from both men. Moorer proved hittable, however Crowe the brawler was often off-target. Blood began to trickle into the right eye of Crowe, from a cut just above his eyebrow.
The patient Moorer continued to walk Crowe down and generally dictate the pace and tempo of the fight. Crowe seemed genuinely thankful at times to simply be in the ring with Moorer - even while getting tagged repeatedly by the deceptively powerful bombs that made Moorer a champion. To the credit of Crowe's corner, the cut was a nonfacter through the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. What they could not control though was Crowe's penchant for depositing his mouthpiece onto the canvas which happened 5 or 6 times during the fight and caused numerous breaks in the action.
A headbutt in round 5 opened another cut above the right eye of Crowe, at which point the ringside physician was invited to take a look.
"There's 3000 people here!," was the futile plea of promoter John Witz, who by this time was pacing and sweating as profusely as the fighters in the ring. To his credit, Crowe's arguments were articulate and charming, but with a wave of her wrist the doctor made the draw official. The furtive scowls, chants of "bullshit" and momentary ring pandemonium were all befitting. However, one got the impression that no one went home hungry. The steady diet of scantily-clad midwestern girls and aggressive fighting sat well with the mid-Michigan crowd, who cheered heartily for whichever fighter happened to be pressing the issue. And let's face it, the evening could have ended worse for Crowe, who was cordial following the bout. "Shit happens," he explained, but his smile indicated otherwise. "I could have gone on," he added, "I felt fine."
One was left with the impression that Moorer and Crowe would both be okay - Moorer seemed to enjoy himself in the ring and Crowe left town without another defeat on his ring record. Postfight, Moorer explained that his conditioning "felt good," and that he had planned to wear Crowe down and take him out in the 7th. "I was catching him with right hooks," said the former champion, "and he kept spitting his mouthpiece out to get a break."
In the co-main event, Damon McCreary, dressed like a pugilistic John Shaft, put a first-class beating on Etianne Whitaker, stopping him in 2. The author observed that Whitaker had sad, defeated eyes. Eyes that seemed to be mulling over other career options, even during the bout. This fact, coupled with a relentless jackhammer right hand from McCreary, made for a short night for Whitaker.
And so it ended. The 17 year old college-bound Diaz chatting excitedly about one of his schoolteachers coming to see him fight, and the whippet-thin Breland dancing alone. Even a surreal few minutes of uncomfortable shuffling and bad jokes from the Raging Bull Jake Lamotta couldn't dampen the mood. Indeed it felt like the kind of night that should have ended with a booster-club supper at someone's house. All told, this night of good boxing left the writer undable to sleep, and smiling from ear to ear.
Moorer/Crowe, technical draw, 5
Damon Mcreary TKO 3 over Etianne Whitaker
Vitaly Kopytko, UD 6 over Troy Barnes
Julian Burford, TKO 2 over Kenito Drake
Juan Diaz, TKO 1, over Scott Buck
Dominick Guinn, KO 2, over Maurice Wheeler
Troy Rowland, UD 6, over Chris Grays
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