October 25, 2000
ndefeated junior middleweight Jonathan Reid may have
been the headliner of Debbie King's fight card last night in Nashville, but
the stars of the show were two South Carolina heavyweights Don Steele and
The two heavyweights engaged in an all-out brawl that ended with a dramatic
Judging from the boxers' records, fight fans might not have expected a
competitive fight. Steele entered the ring with a gaudy record of 44-2 with
all 44 wins coming by way of knockout. Smith came from the other end of the
spectrum with a record of 6-18-1 with 5 knockouts.
Steele began his career with 42 straight knockout wins against marginal
competition. For example, three of his wins came against the still active
43-year-old Frankie Hines (14-94-5) who last won a fight in 1993. Steele's
perfect record ended with a thud in 1997 when he ran into Danish giant Brian
Nielson who stopped him in two rounds. His career came to a crashing halt in
1999, when he was stopped in three rounds by Richie Melito. However, he had
rebounded from that loss with two consecutive wins heading into last night's
Smith, on the other hand, entered the ring with nine straight losses,
including a second-round kayo loss to former two-time heavyweight champ
"Terrible" Tim Witherspoon.
Both fighters entered the right with flabby physiques. One fan at ringside
aptly summed up the fighter's appearances by yelling: "Too Many Tombstone
Pizzas." Yet, the fighters showed a hearty appetite for hard-core boxing
In the first round, the two fighters jabbed each other with Steele forcing
the action and Smith backpedaling. In the second round, Steele again began
to force the action. Though he was the stronger fighter, Smith was a little
Smith landed a series of left hooks and right hands that left Steele
bloodied and battered. Steele appeared ready to go a few points in the
round, spitting out his mouthpiece at an opportune time to gain a
The third round featured Smith stalking Steele, firing power-punch
combinations. However, towards the end of the round, Steele answered with
some vicious body shots that dropped Smith.
In between rounds, Smith complained mightily of back pains. After Steele had
him with the first hard body shot, Smith turned toward Steele and took an
even harder shot in the back. The doctor looked at him between rounds and
many ringside observers feared Smith would retire.
Fortunately, Smith courageously battled on in the fourth round and, unlike
many journeyman fighters, went for broke. He again began to hammer Steele
with combinations and Steele began bleeding profusely again.
Just as the tide was turning against him, Steele threw a haymaker undercut
that caught Smith flush. The punch knocked Smith out cold.
Whether either flabby fighter will leave any sort of legacy in the ring is
doubtful. However, their effort last night left a lasting impression on
those at ringside.
--David L. Hudson, Jr. is an attorney and writer based in Nashville. He can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org