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High Drama at Schuetzen Park

High Drama at Schuetzen Park

North Bergen, NJ (July 28, 2013)
Written by: Matthew Baker-Boxing Pulse

The evening was nearly over. Several dramatic bouts had been fought at Schuetzen Park in the NYC suburb of North Bergen, New Jersey. The promoters at KEA Boxing were wrapping up a wonderfully successful evening of truly fine boxing, filled with surprise TKO’s, upsets, and suspenseful decisions. The main event had been fought and won, and there was only one more bout left to put a cap on a great evening. But nothing that occurred inside the ring could possibly match the high drama outside of it that was about to transpire.

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Patrick “Paddy Boy” Farrell (8-2-1), a dearly loved local fireman from Jersey City, had sold over 100 tickets to the event on the strength of his name alone. He was scheduled to fight six rounds against fellow heavyweight, Phillip Triantafillo (2-3-0), from the steely city of Chicago. As Triantafillo made his march toward the ring, there were many in the room who did not know what a grudge match this bout had become. But we were soon to learn. In what initially seemed a display of truly putrid sportsmanship, the New Jersey crowd booed the young man from Chicago with a verve and gusto traditionally reserved only for the truly despised. The boos turned to cheers as Farrell began his march and the enthusiasm of the crowd intensified.

Farrell had trained for 12 weeks in preparation for this moment and, as he doffed his emerald green robe, his body reflected every minute of those 12 weeks. The contrast with his opponent was almost comical. The young man from Chicago, who had weighed in a full 12 pounds over the agreed limit, bore several humiliating layers of flab that hung from his stomach like a millstone. This heavyweight was heavy in all the wrong ways, enough to make James Toney look like George Dixon. One suddenly lost all sense of surprise that he was coming off three consecutive losses. As he lunged toward his firefighting opponent, not waiting for Referee Ricardo Vera to provide the required pre-fight instructions, Vera stepped in and reminded him that it is the referee’s duty to run the show. Something about this moment provoked Triantafillo to snap. He burst out “That’s it! That’s it! The fight’s off!”, spitting the words through his teeth in an unmitigated show of rage. Ducking through the ropes, he stormed out of the ring with the shocked crowd’s jeers ringing in his ears as he departed. The commissioner disqualified him on the spot (This decision was later turned to a no-contest because the opening bell had not rung).

So, how and why did all this happen? It seems that the weigh-in on the previous day featured more to-do than just a visiting boxer coming in over the limit. Farrell and Triantafillo had engaged in a hefty degree of verbal sparring that dwarfed their combat sparring in ferocity. Echoing the barbs, threats, and curses that had once been so fiercely traded between Liston and Ali, these two had sold their fight as a grudge match whose animosity would be settled in the ring. But The Chicagoan was early and decided not to wait. Hearing the Jersey man make a crack about his weight, Triantafillo hauled off and slapped him in the face, there, in front of the scales, the fans, the trainers, the local boxer’s family, and of course the press. Farrell, though he verbally expressed his surprise that his foe had taken things so far, remained ever the sportsman and simply assured him that “I’m gonna knock your teeth out” once the opening bell rang on Saturday night. Alas, it never happened.

Downstairs, in the dressing room, Triantafillo’s own people were heard scolding him for his childishly unprofessional conduct. He was, apparently, shocked to learn that he had forfeited his purse, insisting “I’ve gotta be paid something.” For what? A fight that never happened? His trainers at Union City Boxing Club were horrified by their client’s behavior and were passionate in their efforts to make clear that they did not know him and had had no dealings with him prior to his preparation for this fight that he had tossed away. With that toss, he had made himself a pariah in the state of New Jersey and, quite possibly, throughout the entire boxing community.

Patrick Farrell has stated that he still intends to take the post-fight break that he has earned through his weeks of dedicated training and hopes to have another fight lined up sometime in late September or early October. He also hopes that at least some of the people who had bought tickets specifically to see him fight would receive refunds. While no official decision on that topic had yet been made at press time, the officials at KEA Boxing have certainly behaved honorably and honestly in all other aspects of their response to this unfortunate incident. Surely, whatever the details, some arrangement will be reached that can satisfy all parties.

Here at Boxing Pulse, we are fully confident that future KEA Boxing cards will feature honorable fighters who are tough men in the ring and gentlemen out of it.

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