NEW YORK (April 29, 2005) – Minutes after the verdict was rendered in a sensational junior welterweight rematch between Jeffrey Resto of The Bronx, New York, and Michael Warrick of Landover, Maryland, at the Manhattan Center in midtown Manhattan on April 28, promoter Lou DiBella found himself immersed in what is now generally regarded as the main event.
As the excited crowd was departing the eighth floor arena a brawl broke out between groups of drunken ringsiders, several of whom were hurling metal chairs at each other. DiBella thrust himself into the fray by yanking a chair out of one of the brawler’s hands, and putting another into a headlock before thrusting him to the floor.
“It looked like two guys were fighting, and the others were trying to help their boys,” said DiBella, who is 6’4” tall and well over 200 pounds. “To be honest, I don’t remember exactly what happened. I was acting on pure instinct and adrenaline. My hand is swollen and my arm is black and blue, and I don’t even remember exactly how those injuries occurred.”
Angelo Carlino, a Boston-area based photographer who was in town as WBA heavyweight champion John Ruiz’s official photographer, was impressed with DiBella’s willingness to jump into the trenches. (Ruiz is scheduled to defend his title against James Toney at Madison Square Garden, which is one block away from the Manhattan Center, on April 30).
“He spent eight years going to school in Massachusetts,” said Carlino, alluding to DiBella’s higher education at both Tufts University and Harvard. “Even Ivy Leaguers have to fight up there.”
When apprised of Carlino’s assessment, DiBella just laughed. “I’m from Brooklyn, so I have some idea how to handle myself,” he said. “But this happened so quickly, I reacted on pure instinct and genuinely believe I defused the situation. Everyone was leaving peacefully when the guys started fighting. There’s really no one to blame. It’s not security’s fault or the police department’s fault. There was no warning. This was a spontaneous action by a bunch of drunken idiots.”
“It was a toxic mix of testosterone, machismo and alcohol,” said photographer Teddy B. Blackburn, who was shooting from the balcony. “It was minor league compared to the Bowe-Golota riot, but people could have gotten seriously hurt by those chairs.”
Jack Hirsch, the senior editor of the Reno-based “Ring Sports,” had nothing but praise for both DiBella and Ron Scott Stevens, the Chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission. “Lou didn’t hesitate to get involved, and looked like he was really concerned about someone getting hurt,” said Hirsch. “Ron grabbed a microphone and made it clear that it was over, and that everyone better go on home. He had a very commanding presence in taking control of a volatile situation, and really did a great job.”
One “fighter” did need to have his bloody head wrapped by paramedics, but he appeared to be fine.
Hopefully the post-fight shenanigans won’t devalue what was a great night of grassroots boxing, and the latest installment of DiBella’s “Broadway Boxing” series. Resto, now 19-2 (13 KOs), avenged an earlier decision defeat to Warrick, now 18-3 (11 KOs), by knocking him down in the seventh round and stopping him in the tenth, just seconds after being on the verge of a knockout himself. It was that fight, not his “fight,” that the perpetually excited DiBella was most excited about.
“Their first bout was a Fight of the Year candidate, and so was this one,” proclaimed DiBella. “The tenth round might be one of the best rounds I’ve ever seen. Both of those guys have a lot to be proud of, and it would be a shame for their great performances to be overshadowed by the morons that got into it afterward.”
In other action, undefeated super middleweight knockout sensation Jaidon “The Don” Codrington, from Queens, New York, via Bridgeport, Connecticut, improved his record to 8-0 (8 KOs) by starching the well traveled, but usually durable, veteran Etianne Whitaker, Warren, Ohio, at 1:45 of the first round. Codrington did the trick with a left hook that landed square on the button. Whitaker, who has tangled with the likes of Omar Sheika, Rico Hoye and Charles Brewer, saw his record slip to 32-17-2 (21 KOs).
Another knockout artist, Curtis Stevens, now 7-0 (6 KOs), who hails from Brooklyn, was forced to go the distance for the first time when he was extended six rounds by Shannon Miller, Columbus, Mississippi, whose records now stands at 20-31-8 (15 KOs).
(Reported by Robert Mladinich)