Juneau's Keaton Gaines predicted a first-round knockout in his main event bout at Roughhouse Fridays at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.
Gaines got his knockout, but had to wait until 40 seconds into the second round before he floored Juneau's Daniel "Danimal the Animal" Fink. Gaines improved to 2-0 with the knockout and looks to be one of the top middleweight contenders in next month's Southeast Showdown.
"I felt really good about the fight," Gaines said. "It was really nice. Basically, it went just how I wanted it to go. All the talk about knocking him out in the first round was just pre-fight hype."
Gaines went to work in the first round, connecting with several hard punches which put Fink on the defensive early. But Fink wasn't going to back down that easy and the tow pugilists stood toe-to-toe after Gaines' initial surge.
"He came in and did get some good shots, I'm not going to lie about that," Gaines said. "I dropped my left hand and he opened up on me. He rung my bell."
Gaines continued with his aggressive tactics in the second round and repeatedly landed blows to a reeling Fink. Gaines was warned for pushing down Fink midway through the round, and as soon as the action resumed, Gaines put Fink to the canvas for good with a solid right hand.
Fink's record dropped to 2-4-1 with the loss, but he has fought the best Southeast middleweight competition. Both Fink and Gaines will compete in the Southeast Showdown April 4-5, but Gaines feels he has a good shot at the title.
"I'm definitely a contender," Gaines said. "My plans are to bring the belt back to Juneau. I think it's well within my reach. After the fight, Dan said I hit harder that The Goat (Sitka's Matthew Coppick). There's some power behind my punches. Coppick better be ready."
In the first heavyweight main event, Auke Bay's Jess McCallon kept his record unblemished, improving to 4-0 with a technical knockout over Ketchikan's Thomas "Heavy Hands" Ferry. McCallon knocked Ferry to the canvas early in the first round with a pair of left hands.
McCallon continued to dominate in the second round and opened a cut under Ferry's left eye, forcing Ferry to retire.
"I just didn't want to risk any major injury," Ferry said, who dropped to 6-4 in roughhouse competition.
Two-time Southeast Showdown heavyweight champion Russ "Dirt" Stevens of Juneau improved his record to 8-2 after two straight losses. At a height of 6 feet, 5 inches and weighing 246 pounds, Stevens made a formidable opponent to newcomer Roy Paolo of Ketchikan, emerging once again a victor.
The contenders were cautious and fought smart during the first two rounds, with Stevens nimbly dodging Paolo's advances. Both saved their energy for the last round, when Stevens was able to penetrate Paolo's weak defense and land some punches.
"He was a tough guy, but I could tell he hadn't done much boxing," Stevens said. "I was trying to figure him out at first, and he made a couple of mistakes so I came out with straight punches."
This proved to be the deciding factor in this close match, earning Stevens the decision.
In other matches Friday night:
* Juneau's Allan "Squid" Pearce defeated Juneau's Scotty "Pimpin" Minge. While Minge was energetic in the ring, he showed his instability when he lost his balance in the second round. Pearce secured his win in round three by landing several punches, forcing Minge into a corner. Pearce improved to 1-1 while Minge dropped to 0-2.
* Kevin Pringle outlasted fellow Juneauite Chico "Suave" Beierly. Despite Beierly's strong advances, the steady Pringle was able to keep the upper hand, earning a second-round knock down. Pringle came out in round three swinging hard and often, wearing Beierly down until the fight was stopped. An exhausted and stunned Beierly sat on the edge of the ring as Pringle's victory was announced. Pringle improved his record to 1-2 while Beierly fell to 0-2.
* John "The Irish Indian" Smith III from Hoonah proved to be too energetic for his opponent from Juneau, Fernando Pintang. More of a wrestling match than a fight, Smith was warned once to stop trying to wrestle Pintang to the ground. The bewildered Pintang got several solid punches in, but Smith's wild advances served him well, earning him a close victory over Pintang in the third round. Smith upped his roughhouse record to 3-2 while Pintag's record fell to 3-5.
* Mikko "Speedy" Epperson lived true to his knickname by recording the fastest knockout in the history of Roughhouse Fridays. Epperson improved to 1-0 when he floored Yakutat's Patrick Baker Sr. in just seven seconds. Baker's record fell to 0-1.
* Juneau heavyweight Judd Kokotovich had an impressive roughhouse debut, winning a split decision over 358-pound Todd Stanley from Ketchikan. Kokotovich was able to hold off a hard-charging Stanley in the first round, but it was Kokotovich's stamina that outscored a winded Stanley in the third round. Stanley's record fell to 1-1.
* Ketchikan's Jack "The Jackhammer" Duckworth improved to 5-3 with a first-round technical knockout over Juneau newcomer Dave "Cool Hand Luke" Barnes. Duckworth scored an early knockdown and continued to hammer Barnes until referee Butch Fondahn stopped the fight.
Jeff Kasper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Emily Wescott can be reached at email@example.com.