Four months ago, Vincent Pettway was on the verge of potential stardom, having been scheduled for a championship bout against Felix Trinidad.
How things have changed since then. While Trinidad will be headlining a major fight card in Las Vegas on Saturday against Oscar De La Hoya, Pettway was in Woodlawn at Martin's West trying to get his career untracked.
Pettway's return from eye surgery wasn't against a top-notch opponent: Anthony Ivory of Chicago, a last-minute replacement, brought a less than impressive 26-47 record into the welterweight match.
Pettway wound up winning the fight, but in unimpressive fashion as he walked away with an eight-round decision in a bout void of anything resembling action.
Two judges scored the fight 79-73, and one judge had Pettway the winner, 78-74. In the end it was a unanimous decision, although the performance probably did little to help launch Pettway into world contention. With the victory Pettway improved his record to 43-6-1.
"With the opponent I had, it would be difficult to rate where I am," Pettway said of Ivory, who fought an overly defensive fight. "I can see why his record is the way it is. Every time I would get in the inside, he would tie my hands up. He made it look like I was doing the holding."
Pettway had been scheduled to fight Trinidad in Puerto Rico in May, only to have that fight canceled when a pre-fight physical revealed a detached retina in his left eye. It was the second time that injuries had forced Pettway to cancel fights against Trinidad, the IBF welterweight champion.
In his first fight since the injury, Pettway said the injury was not a factor.
"There was no problem. I saw everything pretty good," he said. "If I was worried about the eye, I would have been defensive. I didn't worry about the eye at all."
Fighting for just the third time in 24 months, Pettway appeared tentative in the first round.
And that continued through non-memorable second, third and fourth rounds, a disappointment to the fight crowd that expected Pettway to make quick and easy work of a journeyman who had more losses than Pettway had wins going into the fight.
When the fourth and fifth rounds ended, both fighters were met by a smattering of boos -- with some in the crowd actually leaving during the main event. By the end of the sixth round, a fight that fans had hoped would be hard and furious wound up anything but.
The most action from Ivory: complaining of a low blow in the seventh round.
In earlier fights involving local fighters:
George Barksdale of Baltimore got up from a first-round knockdown to stop Greg Terrywith 1: 25 left in the third round of their cruiserweight fight that was scheduled for six rounds. Barksdale improved his unbeaten record to 6-0-1.
Scott Jones, also of Baltimore, improved his record to 9-8 by stopping Moe Grey in the fifth round of a heavyweight bout that was scheduled for six rounds.
Baltimore's Dana Rucker improved his record to 7-1 by stopping Alan Watts, of Washington, in the fourth round.
And in the most entertaining fight of the night, Mike McFail of Baltimore survived a third-round knockdown to stop Reisterstown's Matt Hill in the sixth round of a welterweight fight. McFail improved his record to 5-2-1, and Hill fell to 2-3.
Pub Date: 9/16/99