Vincent Pettway got "sick to his stomach" last weekend watching Paul Vaden get stopped by middleweight champion Keith Holmes and super welterweight king Terry Norris get knocked out by unheralded Keith Mullings.
"I kept asking myself how I lost to those guys," said Pettway, a 32-year-old Baltimore boxer.
In August 1995, Pettway lost his junior middleweight crown to Vaden and six months later was stopped in a bid for Norris' 154-pound title.
"I had the flu and ran out of gas against Vaden," he said. "With Norris, I let him dictate the fight. I should have put pressure on him from the start."
But the two setbacks have only increased Pettway's motivation.
It is a realistic goal now that he has returned to the welterweight ranks. Coming off a 13-month layoff, Pettway needs only to beat Kentucky journeyman Gerald Reed (15-16-2) in Pompano Beach, Fla., tonight, to position himself for a bout with Mahenge Zulu, of Congo, for the vacant International Boxing Federation welterweight crown.
The current champion, Felix Trinidad, is expected to move up in weight to challenge Mullings for his newly won World Boxing Council super-welter title.
Although he has not fought since a third-round knockout of Harold Bennett in October 1996, Pettway has managed to remain No. 1 in the IBF rankings, with Zulu next in line.
"I know I've been off a long time, but I've been in the gym almost every night," Pettway said.
Pub Date: 12/13/97