By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO May 2, 2006 Another large crowd turned out Friday night at Mighty M Gaming at Monticello Raceway as the facility hosted its third professional boxing card in seven months.
An exciting womans fight, along with a strong light heavyweight match and a close junior middleweight bout, made for a lot of action in front of the hundreds of fans.
There were six fights in all on card, which was sanctioned by the New York State Athletic Commission.
The co-feature of the night, a bout between three-time womans champion Leona Brown of Fishkill and Yahaira Bonilla of Puerto Rico, fell through when Bonilla couldnt pass a physical due to an eye problem.
The loss of one womens fight was made up by another duel between Dominga Olivo of Brooklyn, who was making her pro debut, and Sarina Mae Hayden of Colorado, who was 0-3-1 heading into the match.
Olivo sent sparks flying through the crowd by her all-out approach to the fight. Olivos relentless aggression put Hayden on her heels throughout the four-round bout.
Olivo took the decision unanimously by putting little energy into defense. Most of her time was spent mounting a fearless approach of a fury of punches, which helped explain why she couldnt get anybody to fight her for the last two years.
Hayden deserved credit for her apparent refusal to give up. She countered many of Olivos attacks, but it simply was not enough against her determined foe.
Olivos trainer, Hilergio Bracero, said he is hopeful Olivo can earn a title shot in the lightweight division (134-135 lbs.).
One of the most competitive and entertaining fights of the night was in the light heavyweight division. The undefeated Stephen Marcantonio of Rahway, NJ came out swinging with no pause in the second professional match of his career. His undefeated opponent, Ronson Frank of Rosedale, (2-0 1 KO before the fight), withstood the onslaught early while pinned against the ropes. Frank fired back with a number of hard blows and then took over the final three rounds.
Even while taking a flurry of punches from Marcantonio in the first round, Frank was able to find an opening and cut Marcantonio under his eye with a solid hit.
For Marcantonio, the fight appeared to turn for the worse when he took a blast below the belt from Frank, which stopped the fight for a few minutes. The punch visibly stung Marcantonio, who had a tough time recuperating, although he had already been cut.
Frank took complete control in the second round and appeared to be on the verge of a knockout, but he let up ever so slightly. Although he did not knock out Marcantonio, Frank clearly controlled the rest of the fight and won a unanimous decision.
The most controversial bout of the night was clearly the six-round faceoff between junior middleweights Wesley Hobbs (3-0-1 0 KOs) of Manhattan and Davin Arthurs (3-6-0 2 KOs) of Brooklyn. Arthurs threw more punches, including many crowd-pleasing overhand lefts.
The southpaw connected with a number of them soundly, but could not win over the three judges. All three judges gave the decision to Hobbs, who was much more careful, deliberate and technical.
Hobbs landed one of the biggest punches of the fight and the night almost by accident, when Arthurs walked into the bomb. Otherwise, the action was all being directed from the hands of Arthurs.
More than one observer thought that the feature of the night was a letdown. That bout pitted cruiserweights Newton Kidd (6-4-1 4 KOs) of the Bronx and Jamal McKay (5-9-2 1KO) of Brooklyn in a six-round matchup. Kidd won the first battle between the friends, while McKay took a unanimous decision on Friday night. The difference between the two boxers was minimal, as not many punches were thrown or landed. Much of the fight was spent with the two locked in close quarters, neither willing or caring to open up much at all.
Afterwards, McKay and his trainer, Terence Simpson, said the win could have been more decisive if he had been more aggressive.
Another bout featured two relatively inexperienced fighters as Gilbert Rodriguez of Puerto Rico made his pro debut against Corey Jones (1-1) of Brooklyn. Jones was dominant in defeating Rodriguez for his second career win.
Jones picked up the victory by winning on the scorecards of two of the three judges. In an odd call, former champion boxer and judge Billy Costello called it a draw.
The first matchup of the night was between winless middleweights Luis Sanchez of Brooklyn and Ronald Lewis of Patterson, NJ. Sanchez used a more polished and energetic effort to win a unanimous decision over Lewis. Sanchez improved to 1-1-1 while Lewis dropped to 0-3.
Former boxing champion Lou Savarese of Greenwood Lake was on hand to take in the fights.
Savarese is in the midst of a semi-comeback while also at the beginning of a successful acting career. He recently stopped Marcus Rhodes in the second round of a rematch in Arkansas. Savarese won by technical knockout in the fourth round the first time the two men faced each other.
He is not sure of his next boxing move, saying simply, Well see whats out there.
But Savareses acting moves may be the ones that grab the headlines. He will be making his movie debut with a short role in We Own the Night, a movie starring Robert Duvall and Mark Wahlberg.
Last week, Savarese shot an episode of Dennis Learys new show, Rescue Me. The episode is scheduled to be televised in July.
When asked which one he will concentrate on, Savarese said he plans to do both.
Of acting, he said, Its fun. I enjoy it. Its challenging, but similar to boxing [in that both are on a stage].
Other notable celebrities at the fight included Larry Chance, bandleader of the 1950s group Larry Chance and the Earls (who still play at events).
Tony Darrow, the well-known local actor who has been seen around the world most recently in his role on the hit HBO show The Sopranos, sung the national anthem to kick off the night and then stayed to watch the entire card. In addition to appearing on The Sopranos, Darrow has acted in major movies such as Analyze This, Mickey Blue Eyes, Sweet and Lowdown, Deconstructing Harry, Mighty Aphrodite, Bullets over Broadway and Goodfellas.