Boxers, motivated to earn a $50 bonus above the winner's prize money, went the extra mile at Roughhouse Friday boxing at Marlintini's Lounge as six of the nine bouts ended in split-decisions.
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The bonuses, donated by the owner of Excel Towing, added some spice to the fights as the victorious boxers lined their wallets with a little extra cash just in time for the holidays.
One of the most exciting fights of the night ended in a draw as 19-year-old Norman "Thunder Punch" Flood III and 18-year-old Charlie Gallant, a soldier.
Both boxers started the fight by trading shots to the head until a left-right combination from Flood sent Gallant to the ropes. The referee issued Gallant a standing eight count.
Walter "The Showstoppa" Brown defeats Mike "The Rock" Gravel
Aaron Tucker defeats Vernon "The Microwave" Perry
Robert Schenker defeats Chris Larsen
Wayne "Fu" Smallwood defeats Tim Tong
Norman "Thunder Punch" Flood III takes draw with Charlie Gallant
Matthew Brown defeats Walter "The Showstoppa" Brown
Casey "Little Big Man" Yakovich defeats Logan "Little Toy" Henkins
Julio "The Haitian Sensation" Gregoire defeats Nick "The Nightmare" Morgan
Al "The Mean Machine" Perkins defeats Rooney Hasselquist
After an even second round, Gallant came alive in the third and final round by knocking the mouthpiece out of Flood's mouth. The crowd chanted for Gallant, but the judges declared the bout even.
Friday's card, the last one of 2007, was also the final boxing event in Juneau that featured smoking patrons. A Juneau smoking ban will start in 2008.
The smoking ban may help boost local boxing. Roughhouse Friday boxing promoter Bob Haag said Sitka's fight club will return to Juneau to battle in the ring in 2008. Haag said that Sitka's club always told him to "call us when you quit smoking."
Al "The Mean Machine" Valentine, a seasoned Juneau boxer, said the smoke-free policy "will benefit every fighter and every fan who likes to breath clean air."
Ethan Billings, owner of Marlintini's Lounge, agreed with Valentine.
The smoking ban, he said, will help local boxing by "bringing out more athletic and seasoned boxers who will put on great fights."
Flood, Gallant and boxer Chris Larsen, all of who were sucking fresh air in front of Marlintini's after their fights, said they were looking forward to battling without the added difficulty of smoke-filled lungs.
Also on Friday, Mike Edenshaw, a former boxer battling terminal cancer, was given a plaque reading "To a great boxer, Mike Edenshaw, from all your friends at Marlintini's." Edenshaw was unable to attend due to his illness but said in a phone interview that some of his favorite memories are of his fights.
The next Roughhouse Friday boxing will be smoke-free on Jan. 18.
Here is a rundown of Friday's action:
First-time fighter Aaron Tucker, 18, defeated 23-year-old Vernon "The Microwave" in another exciting bout. Tucker had some huge misses in the first round as he got his feet wet, but tagged Perry late in the round. Perry, fighting for rent money, stayed tough and nailed the spry Tucker repeatedly. Tucker's corner yelled "uppercut" repeatedly as both boxers tired at the end of round two. Both boxers battled until the very end but the decision went to Tucker.
Casey "Little Big Man" Yakovich, 17, fighting for a second time, defeated Logan "Little Toy" Henkins, 25, again in a rematch. Henkins looked like he might get even when he knocked Yakovich down three times in the first two rounds. In round three, however, a tired Henkins was no match for the stamina of Yakovich who stayed tough and grabbed the win.
Robert Schenker, a 24-year-old construction worker helping build Thunder Mountain High School, defeated Hoonah fisherman Chris Larsen, 20, in a powerful hyped-up bout.
In round two, Schenker took a direct shot to the nose but he stayed strong through round three and grabbed the win.
In one of the night's most anticipated bouts, 32-year-old Roughhouse veteran Julio "The Haitian Sensation" Gregoire, a Greens Creek Mine worker, defeated 22-year-old rising star Nick "The Nightmare" Morgan, a beer delivery person, in a much anticipated fight of the night.
Both fighters brought out their big guns and packed powerful punches in the first round. The two continued to trade shots with Gregoire earning the decision. Morgan showed improvement and maturity in the ring despite the loss.
Walter "Showstoppa" Brown pulled double duty on Friday, splitting a pair of fights. Brown defeated Mike "The Rock" Gravel in his first bout. Gravel is the nephew of former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, who's running for president.
Brown had two bouts Friday, defeating Gravel, 15-3-0, in a split-decision heavyweight fight. Later in the night, Brown fell to his cousin, Matthew Brown. The Showstoppa was knocked down in the first round and later retired. He said he was uncomfortable fighting his younger relative.
Wayne "Fu" Smallwood, 57, who said he will quit fighting when he gets the belt, defeated 28-year-old mechanic Tim Tong. Smallwood and Tong, fighting in work boots and jeans, traded punches in the first round. Tong stayed tough in the second round but Smallwood held on for the decision.
In the night's main event, 44-year-old Al "The Mean Machine" Perkins defeated AAA mover Rooney Hasselquist, 25, in a seasoned bout that went four rounds. Perkins rocked Hasselquist's body but the Juneau mover stayed aggressive. Perkins, the king of defensive boxing, poured it on at the end to grab the win.