Friday fights added up to Miller night

It was Miller night at the Saratoga Springs City Center last Friday, and I was there at ringside, yo

It was Miller night at the Saratoga Springs City Center last Friday, and I was there at ringside, your dutiful monitor of the pugilistic arts.

First up was Shawn Miller of Troy, a light-heavyweight making his professional debut. Then there was Brian Miller (no relation), a light-welterweight from Schenectady, coming into the ring with the unusual record of three wins and three draws. And then there was Shannon Miller, heavyweight, older brother of Shawn, trying to see if at the age of 35, having lost three of his last five fights, he still had what it takes.

Shawn Miller acquitted himself respectably with a fourth-round stoppage of one Zaid Malik, who came from Cleveland only to have his record drop to 0-3, all three defeats now coming at the hands of fighters making their pro debuts.

Shawn recovered quickly from a first-round knockdown, knocking Malik down twice and exhibiting no fault graver than an excess of enthusiasm, swarming over his opponent rather than dissecting him. By the middle of Round 4 he had Malik actually sitting on the bottom rope simply because Malik had nowhere else to go, and at that point the referee called a halt.

Brian Miller, who fought to a draw in Saratoga last year, won a split decision this time in a slugfest with Manny Cotrich of Utica, whose record fell to 1-4. (You will notice that these fighters do not have super-distinguished records.)

It may have been the best fight of the evening, in terms of both action and evenness, though I am bound to note that no fight this year provided fight fans with what they like best, which is blood and destruction.

As for big brother Shannon Miller, who faced a blubbery 260-pounder by the name of Terrell “Baby Bull” Nelson from New Jersey, the fight didn’t quite happen. Early in the third round, a cut opened on the top of Shannon’s shaved cranium, the result of an accidental head butt, and the fight was stopped, though not before Baby Bull threw a full-fledged tantrum, stomping his feet like a frustrated 2-year-old and screaming, “He don’t wanna fight! He don’t wanna fight!” right above me on the ring apron so I was briefly concerned for my safety, imagining myself with 260 pounds of convulsive bullfat in my lap.

It was a disappointing end. Though Shannon has never threatened to break into the top ranks of heavyweights, he has always been popular with Capital Region fans.

The main event, so-called, was little improvement. It featured the flabby Nagy Aguilera (231 pounds) from Newburgh against the even flabbier (255 pounds) Darrell “King David” Madison of Central Islip, and the principal reaction those two squeezed from the audience was sustained booing for lack of action.

Last year when Aguilera fought in Saratoga I described him as a “ponderous puncher and grabber,” and he has only gotten worse since then. He is just 23, so I suppose he has time to get worse still.

Guilderland lightweight Mike Faragon, however, just gets better, this time winning a workmanlike decision over Alberto Amaro of Puerto Rico, improving his record to 7-0. He makes it look easy.

I enjoyed the doings before the main event — the call to action from Sammy the bugler, the over-the-top rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, the introduction of celebrities, including in this case, Joe Bruno, former boxer, former senator, who, we were told, had spent his life “fighting for New York,” with nothing said about fighting a federal indictment, which would only have been awkward.

All in all, it was a jolly evening.

Categories: Opinion

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