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ELVIR MURIQI, LEFT, and Marlon Hayes, right, stare each other down in the first round of the main event at last Friday night’s boxing card at Mighty M Gaming. 

Boxers Square Off
At the Mighty M

By Andy Simek
MONTICELLO — August 1, 2006 – Looking solely into the faces at Mighty M Gaming this past Friday night, one might not guess what those visages were witnessing.
The emotions, the thoughts forming behind those eyes; what were they watching?
Admiration, visions of glory and even lust shone through.
Lust? Yes, blood-lust.
When a large sum of money is on the line, and especially when it is resting on some sort of violence, the darkest and most basic of human instincts take over, thus drawing out the crowds who are in-tune and comfortable with these animalistic tendencies.
The 10-bout pro-boxing card at Mighty M packed the room full of these eager fans who were all hoping to get a glimpse of the guts and the glory behind professional fighting.
The boxers certainly did not disappoint.
The first bout of the evening went the full six rounds and sent heavy-weight Elfair McKnight home in stitches.
McKnight seemed a shoe-in to win the bout against his opponent, Andrew Hutchinson, with the amount of body shots he landed and his ultra-aggressive onslaught.
Hutchinson, however, made the few hits he landed count more. The strength behind his arm certainly rocked McKnight enough to slow him down some.
After the fourth round, McKnight seemed to get his second wind. The term “fists of fury” comes to mind to describe the speed and energy with which he unleashed his attacks.
Hutchinson didn’t lose heart, and kept up his strong-but-seldom plan in action.
Interestingly enough, and much to the crowd’s dismay, the bout was ruled a draw, as the judges scored it 57 to 57.
Bout two pitted a couple of newbies against one another.
Both Rafal Jastrezbski and Mazur Ali seemed to come into the match with some sort of terrible grudge against one another, even though they had probably never met.
Most fighters get a glazed look in their eyes when fighting; these two cruiserweights had the look of people out for revenge.
From the very beginning of the bout, Ali seemed to have the upper-hand. He had all the speed whereas Jastrezbski had all the brawn.
Ali thoroughly trounced his opponent at the end of the second round with a rage that was shocking even to the sadistic tastes of the audience.
Fortunately for Jastrezbski, the match was only four rounds. Unfortunately for him, he lost with a score of 40 to 36.
The shortest fight of the evening was fight three, a light-heavyweight bout.
Joel Castillo crossed himself right before the bell and, with the power of the rosary behind his quick and viscous blows, broke Sean Tatum’s nose 32 seconds into the first round. This would be the only TKO of the evening.
The judges scored the next bout in favor of junior-middleweight Jason Thompson, whose speed and accuracy beat Anthony Otero’s slow-and-steady body shots with a score of 40 to 35.
Strawweight Suzannah Warner earned the win in the evening’s only women’s match in the third round of the fifth bout with three successive jabs to the jaw of Carmela Parker, which seriously put a damper on Parker’s attacks. Warner won the bout, as the judges scored it 40 to 36.
The light-heavyweight fighters in bout six both came out swinging with some seriously heavy blows.
Denys Lozada, possibly the quickest fighter of the evening, won the match against Steve Marcantonio. His hit-and-run tactics, coupled with near-superhuman reflexes handed Lozada the match with a score of 39 to 37.
Welterweights Harvey Medina and Mario Hayes went head to head in the seventh bout of the night, with the judges scoring it 58 to 54 in favor of Medina. One of the match’s highlights for Medina was a mean right hook that sent Hayes flailing to the ground.
The main event was bout eight, a light-heavyweight fight which pitted Elvir Muriqi against Marlon Hayes.
Muriqi was the favorite to win from the very start, with an impressive record of 31 wins with 20 by KO and only four losses.
Try as he might, however, Muriqi was not going to knock Hayes down in this fight.
The majority of this bout looked more like a dance lesson for an inebriated couple than a boxing match. The amount of grappling was so severe that the referee had to warn them in the fifth round to start fighting.
It also appeared that Hayes said something to Muriqi to instigate a renewed fervor in his attacks. If this was in fact the case, he should have remained quiet.
In the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds of this bout, the blows to the face the fighters were taking made the spectators cringe back in their seats.
In these rounds, it was actually possible to see the stars in Hayes’ eyes. Muriqi could sense how close he was to a knockout, but despite his greatest efforts, he just couldn’t finish the job.
His frustration at this showed through in the eighth and final round of the fight. Muriqi was throwing punches in a frenzy, trying to get Hayes to go down, but to no avail.
After two massive roundhouses to the face, Hayes staggered and, by this time, everyone was wondering when he was going to fall.
However, much like those young actors in the early 1990s, Hayes was saved by the bell.
With a score of 80 to 72, Muriqi racked up another win in his professional career, and did it with a disquieting sense of nonchalance.
“I was just having a good time out there,” Muriqi said after the fight.
“I have a good chin. I hardly felt anything.”
Juan Carlos Sanchez wasn’t as lucky.
Although he won the ninth bout by a score of 59 to 55 against Ron Lewis, by the sixth and final round his scalp was bleeding profusely.
The final bout of the evening was a fast-paced fight between two fighters who are new to the sport.
Juan Zapata and Rondu Campbell both had speed and agility on their sides, but it was Campbell who earned the victory by a score of 40 to 36.

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