After compiling a 17-2-2 record against obscure opponents, heavyweight Sam Hampton of Virginia Beach, Va., will step up in class Dec. 17 when he is scheduled to fight world-ranked Obed Sullivan on cable TV in Baltimore.
But questions were raised at Martin's West last night whether it was the right move after Hampton won an eight-round majority decision over journeyman Tim Knight (15-31) of Louisville, Ky.
Looking 20 pounds overweight at 234 and admittedly under-trained, Hampton still possessed too much power for Knight, a former welterweight. He staggered Knight several times, dropping him in the fifth round with a hard right.
Knight showed considerable heart by constantly fighting back and used his quicker hands and combinations to convince Ken Chevalier that it was an even 75-75 match. Judges Gary Camponechi (78-72) and Jodi Wingfield (77-74) recognized Hampton's punches were more meaningful.
But Hampton's manager, John Tripp, and his corner men said he will need a major tuneup before testing Sullivan, ranked No. 9 by the International Boxing Federation.
"We want to believe Sam is ready for better competition," Tripp said. "But it was hard to judge off of this performance. He had a lot of personal problems. Obviously, he has to get into far better ++ shape."
Hampton said he was too eager to end the fight early.
"I was loading up too much, looking for the quick knockout," he said. "I didn't listen to my corner."
In the companion eight-rounder, Baltimore cruiserweight Courtney Butler (14-2-1) stopped Ken Payne (9-10-3) of Brasstown, N.C., in four rounds.
In the best fight on the undercard, Baltimore junior middleweight Kenny Blackston (10-4) survived a cut left eye in the fourth round and out-punched Brian Crumb (4-3) of Washington to win a six-round split decision.
Four of the preliminary bouts didn't go the distance. Unbeaten New York middleweight Joe Hughes (5-0) stopped Kevin Johnson (2-4), Baltimore, at 2: 19 of the second round. Jamaican cruiserweight Rowyan Wallace (2-0) halted Dewalt Stewart, Suitland, Md., at 1: 52 of the first round, and Washington middleweight Maurice Haywood (5-0) finished Francis Battara (0-3) at 1: 04 of the fourth round.
In a slow-paced six-round bout between super-heavyweights, 40-year-old Chico Thompson (5-10) outpointed cross-town rival Mike Whitfield (4-11).
Former amateur champion Moe Rites, 125, of Arbutus spent most of his pro debut on the canvas. Nigerian Daniel Attah, also making his pro debut, dropped Rites twice in the second round and continued hammering him until Rites' trainer, Danny Kisner, tossed in the towel.
Pub Date: 11/21/96