Keith Mullings/Davide Ciarlante
Vince Phillips/Alfonso Sanchez


by GorDoom

I like Keith Mullings & Vince Phillips a lot. They’re both throw back blue collar warriors from another era. They are the kind of fighters that exemplify the best in boxing. They show up, do their jobs & get the hell outta there without mouthing off a bunch of bull shit.

Tonight's fights, were unfortunately walkovers. But these guys don’t fight down to the level of their opponents like a Roy Jones or a Michael Moorer. They just get in there & dispatch their opponents in the most efficient way possible. Guys like those two, are the true heart & soul of boxing ...

Before I turn this over to the reports from our correspondents, I have two questions: Why is Barbara Perez a fight judge??? Every time she watches & judges a fight, her scores are channeled from the freakin’ twilight zone ... & the biggest mystery of the night was, who was that bodaciously gorgeous, va va va voom, blond, Claudia Schiffer look a like, hanging on to Oscar De La Hoya’s arm at ringside???

All I can say is, WAY TO GO CHAMP!!!


Stars For the Night

by Thomas Gerbasi

One year ago. If someone would have told you that Keith Mullings would be headlining a show of HBO's World Championship Boxing, your first reaction would have been "Who?". But in a year's time, Brooklyn's Mullings lost a controversial decision to Raul Marquez, and scored a stunning knockout over Terry Norris, winning the WBC Super Welterweight crown in the process. Add an injured Oscar DeLa Hoya to the mix, and you have Mullings fighting the main event on national television. And for a change, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. A veteran of Operation Desert Storm and a soft spoken family man, Mullings has overcome a less than stellar record (16-4-1) and the usual boxing politics to make a name for himself as a champion to watch.

His opponent for his first defense was undefeated Italian Davide Ciarlante. Like most European fighters, Ciarlante was unknown here in the States, and the quality of his opposition questioned. But to his credit, Davide seemed unmoved by the change in scenery (this was his first fight outside of Italy) or the pressure of fighting for a World title. Ciarlante was busy throughout the fight, and a referee was hardly needed, as both fighters fought, not content to lower matters to the level of a wrestling match.

Mullings pressed the action though, scoring often with his jab, cutting up Ciarlante's face in the process. And after five rounds of spirited, yet dominating action from Mullings, the referee, on the advice of the ring doctor, stopped the contest due to a broken nose suffered by the challenger. At the time of the stoppage, I had Mullings ahead 50-46. The judges saw things differently though, with one finding Mullings ahead 49-47, one scoring the fight even, and judge Barbara Perez scoring it 49-46 for Ciarlante. Now I know vantage point plays a big part in how you score a fight, but how Perez had Ciarlante winning, and by 3 points no less, is beyond me. Ciarlante threw a lot of punches, but Mullings' defense was superb, as he caught most punches on his gloves or his arms.

Regardless, Mullings used the judges in his hands to settle matters, and hopefully Top Rank will find a spot for the workmanlike champ in one of 1998's superfights.

Speaking of workmanlike good guys, Vince Phillips defended his IBF Jr. Welterweight title with an impressive first round blowout of once beaten Alfonso Sanchez. Phillips, who finally looks like he is fulfilling the promise he showed before his bout with drug addiction, picked Sanchez apart with a mixture of stiff jabs and well orchestrated combinations. And at the 2:30 mark, a right hand, left hook combination put Sanchez out for the count.

And like Mullings, the top guys want no part of "Cool" Vince. Kostya Tszyu has reportedly refused a rematch with his conqueror (which would have been a big $$$ matchup in Tszyu's home of Australia), and DeLa Hoya doesn't seem to have a spot on his dance card for Phillips either.

But in the end, in spite of uncertain futures, it was nice to see two of the little guys get to be stars last night. Even if only for one night.

Fight Report

by BoyMayo

Not too long ago, Oscar DelaHoya's short list of future opponents included the names Terry Norris and Kostya Tszyu. They represented perhaps the best fighters in the weight classes immediatly above and below Oscar's own welterweight division. In 1997, both fighters lost their titles in upsets to Keith Mullings and Cool Vince Phillips, respectively. Tonight, HBO's boxing broadcast featured these two new champions in a live card from the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City New Jersey.

When Vince Phillips knocked out Kostya Tszyu to capture the IBF 140lb. title, he finally captured the title many thought he should have long since won. That victory embedded in Phillips the confidence his game was lacking before. Tonight, he needed little more than two minutes to demonstrate the level at which he is now fighting. Phillips (38-3, 27 kos) quickly established his jab against challenger Alfonso Sanchez (16-2, 16 KOs). After launching a few of the big right hands that won him his title against Sanchez, Phillips detected that Sanchez was dropping his right hand when he threw, and decided to follow his right hand with a left hook. The first time he tried it, it landed effectively. The second time he tried it, he caught Sanchez flush on the head and dropped him. Referee Joe Cortez counted all the way to ten, but the wincing Sanchez made no effort to get up. Phillips KO1.

After the fight, Vince Phillips called out Ike Quartey, the man who previously destroyed him. Phillips' newfound confidence might well make the rematch a competitive fight. Phillips is fighting like a champion, and there seems to be no reason he couldn't compete with anyone at 140 or 147.

In the main event, WBC Super Welterweight (Jr. Middleweight) Champion Keith Mullings (16-4-1, 11 KOs) put his fresh title on the line against #1 ranked challenger David Ciarlante (23-1, 13 kos). Mullings, too, showed a new maturity and confidence in the ring tonight. He only needed five frames to grossly disfigure the face of his Italian Challenger. Mullings began the fight establishing his jab, and methodically testing his opponent for weaknesses. Straight rights, double left hooks, a heavy jab, and a committed body attack were all thrown in the first round to find a hole in Ciarlante's guard. Mullings quickly found that a looping right to the body and his stick were landing at will. And so Mullings went to work. Never overanxious, never trying too hard, Mulling went out for the remainder of the fight and patiently picked apart his opponent. In the fourth round Ciarlante's nose was broken, and his face began to swell. Mullings landed jabs, elbows, shoulders, and forearms into his opponent's swelling head until the referee stopped the fight after five rounds. Mullings TKO5. At the time of the stoppage, Ciarlante was still the busier figher, although he was no longer recognizable. Mullings showed poise and maturity in this fight, and his stock is certainly higher than his record might reflect. While my scorecard reflected a Mullings shutout, the Atlantic City judges had the fight a split draw at the time of the stoppage. One judge, Barbara Perez (wife of referee Tony Perez,), actually had the outmatched Ciarlante ahead four rounds to one. One can only wonder who Larry Hazard will asign to Lewis-Briggs next month.

Oscar DelaHoya was at ringside for this fight. After both men turned in punishing, power-punch laced and impressive performances, one has to wonder how eager DelaHoya is to get into the ring with either opponent. In an interview in between the two bouts, DelaHoya said that he felt his biggest fights would come at 154 lbs (a weight he himself said was 4-6 fights away). It seemed DelaHoya's way of stating that he was going to avoid Trinidad and Quartey until he moved up in weight. One wonders if he'll avoid Phillips and Mullings as well.

"In the first round, I hit him and he laughed.
In the second round, I hit him and he sneered.
In the third round, he knocked me out."
-Vince Phillips after his kayo loss to Ike Quartey

Fight Report

by BoxngRules

First of all, I would like to apologize for not being able to contribute any pieces for this section since the Hopkins-Brown/ Joppy-Green II fight. Now that I've got that out of the way, enjoy my article on the fights.

Keith Mullings TKO 6 Davide Ciarlante
Vince Phillips KO 1 Alfonso Sanchez

After noticing the official scorecards in the aftermatch of the Mullings-Ciarlante fight, I took a glare at Barbara Perez' scorecard which had it 49-47 for Ciarlante! GorDoom is right in saying "her scores are the twilight zone", note she was also the only judge to give Wayne McCullough the nod in his 12-rounder with Daniel Zaragoza. She is one of the many disgraces of the New Jersey State Athletic Commission, but the biggest disgrace is said in 2 words: Larry Hazzard. Hazzard is the one who appoints these "judges". Both for this and the disgusting scoring of the George Foreman-Shannon Briggs fight. Now here are my thoughts on the performances of Phillips and Mullings.

In the first fight, Vince Phillips showed power of his many skills in knocking out Alfonso Sanchez only 150 seconds into the fight. He ended with a sweeping right hand and a left hook. If many people look at my pound-for-pound list which I share on my official web site Boxing 101, then they now know why I have rated Phillips #7 for some time now. I hope Phillips' career ends in a great way, and not in a way that can spoil his career like signing a rematch with the big bad WBA Welterweight titlist Ike Quartey who stopped Phillips in 3 rounds on April 12, 1996. This was Phillips' third defense of the IBF Jr. Welterweight title he won by knocking out Kostya Tszyu.

Now to the main event, blue-collared WBC Super Welterweight titlist Keith Mullings cut up and brutally beat the top ranked Davide Ciarlante over 5 rounds until the fight was stopped due to cuts under both eyes and a broken nose. I know this doesn't matter at all, but they ruled it the end of Round 5 when the fight was stopped when it was actually the beginning of Round 6 because if it would have been the end of Round 5 it would have been stopped like the Gatti-Manfredy fight, immediately before he got to his corner. Ciarlante was cut, stopped, and beaten for the first time in his pro start. Mullings won every round up until the stoppage and recorded his first title defense since his upset of Terry Norris last December. I wish Mullings very good luck, he deserves it.



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