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The Return of the Pride of Providence

By Stephen Tobey at ringside


Lincoln, R.I. – As is often the case in boxing, what was supposed to be a retirement became a layoff.

Two-time title challenger and former International Boxing Organization middleweight titleholder Peter Manfredo Jr. returned to the ring after a year away, winning a 10-round unanimous decision over Rayco Saunders of Pittsburgh on Thursday at the Twin River Events Center.

Wayne Lima and Eddie Scunzio scored the fight 100-90; Clark Sammartino scored it 99-91. Manfredo, a native of nearby Providence, is now 38-7 with 20 knockouts; Saunders is 22-19-2 (9).
“Tonight I felt good,” said Manfredo. “This was the longest layoff of my career and he’s the biggest guy I’ve fought in a long time.”
 
Manfredo last fought on November 19, 2011 when Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. stopped him in five rounds in a bid for the World Boxing Council middleweight title. He hopes in time to get back to that level.
“This is the first step back,” he said. “You have to crawl before you walk.”
 
Manfredo began the fight jabbing to the body in the first two rounds, trying to open up Saunders’ tight defense. Saunders came out of his defensive shell in the third round, landing a right hand. In the fourth, Saunders landed an overhand right that made Manfredo take a step back and later beat him to the punch when both fighters were throwing left hooks.
 
In the beginning of the fifth, Manfredo landed a hard right hand. Saunders responded with two right hands that shook Manfredo briefly but Manfredo regained control in the final two minutes of the round.
 
Manfredo used his legs more in the sixth round to avoid any hard shots from Saunders. He landed a hard right between Saunders’ hands early on. Manfredo stayed with that strategy in the remaining rounds, stopping to land a one-two, then getting out of the way.
 
In the ninth, Manfredo was cut along the left eye after a headbutt.
 
In her first six-round bout, Shelito Vincent of Providence, R.I. won a unanimous decision against Rosie Thomas of Ottawa, Canada at bantamweight. Eddie Scunzio scored it 59-58. Don Trella and Clark Sammartino scored it 60-54. Vincent is now 6-0; Thomas is 2-2.
 
Super middleweight Joe Gardner of Woonsocket, R.I. outpointed Alex Amparo of Providence, R.I. over six rounds. Trella and Sammartino scored it 58-56 and Wayne Lima had it 59-55. Gardner, 10-5-1 (1), outworked Amparo, 5-1 (3), consistently, throwing more punches and avoiding most of Amparo’s big shots.
 
In a battle of undefeated light heavyweights, Tylon Burris of Hartford, Conn. stopped Kevin Cobbs of Burlington, Vt. in the second round of a scheduled six. Referee Joey Lupino stopped the fight at 1:19 of the second round after Burris landed a hard one-two with Cobbs on the ropes.
 
In the first round, Burris established himself shortly after the opening bell with a right hand to the body. Later in the first, Burris dropped Cobbs with a right hand. Burris is now 4-0 (3); Cobbs dropped to 6-1 (2).
Zack Ramsey of Springfield, Mass. knocked out Michael Lambert of Mobile, Ala. in the first round of a scheduled four at welterweight. Ramsey, 3-0 (3), dropped the debuting Lambert twice, both times with right hands. The first one was a grazing punch to the top of the head. The second was more solid, taking Lambert’s feet out from under him. Lupino stopped the fight at 1:15 without a count after the second knockdown.
 
Stephen Tobey can be reached at sg.tobey2@comcast.net.

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