KO lifts Green's hopes; Pikesville win moves him closer to world title shot


North American Boxing Federation junior welterweight king Reggie Green quickly got over a case of the jitters and moved considerably closer to a world championship bout with an impressive third-round knockout of Mexico's Jesse Rodriguez last night before a sellout crowd of 2,200 at the Pikesville Armory.

Referee Bill Holmes did not bother to count over Rodriguez after Green (29-2) sent him crashing to the canvas with a short left hook flush on the chin.

Neurologist Steve Manekin had to be summoned to administer to Rodriguez (33-13), who was unconscious for two minutes.

Green, who dominated the fight from the opening bell and shook the slender Mexican repeatedly with hard body shots, spoke optimistically of a championship match against Washington rival Sharmba Mitchell, the World Boxing Association champion, or Vincent Phillips, who holds the International Boxing Federation belt.

"Whoever brings the most money," said Green, who recently signed a promotional deal with Harold Weston. "If it's Mitchell, then we'll get it on."

Weston said he would offer $200,000 or enter "purse bids" to secure a match with any of the current 140-pound champions, but insisted he would not give up any options on Green to Don King, who serves as Mitchell's promoter.

"I feel Reggie is the hidden jewel of professional boxing," said Weston. "He has everything it takes to be a world champion. And once he becomes champion, we'll make a point of unifying the title. He'll fight all the best fighters."

Green, currently ranked No. 3 by the WBA and No. 4 by both the World Boxing Council and IBF, said he needed only one round to realize it would be a short night.

"I knew I was faster and stronger, and just had to catch him with a clean shot," he said. "But I still say I'm a boxer, not a slugger. I was ready to go 12 rounds."

Middleweights Andrew Council, of Lanham, and Michael Ward, of Fort Washington, were once sparring partners, but they fought like enemies in the ESPN2 co-feature before Council was awarded a unanimous 10-round decision.

Council (29-6-3), who lost a title bid against IBF champion Bernard Hopkins in November 1997, tried to prove he was worthy of a second chance. He scored all the telling punches against the taller Ward (28-4), who spent too much time fighting off the ropes, as if trying to conserve energy after a lengthy layoff.

On the undercard: Welterweight John Lockett (5-0-1) won a unanimous four-round decision over fellow Baltimorean Pedro Norton (2-5-1). Lightweights Lamont Pearson, Capitol Heights, and Anthony Washington, Philadelphia, both 4-0-1, kept their unbeaten records intact by fighting to a spirited six-round draw.

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