The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Bengal Bouts: Worth the weight

Dustin Madden, Molly Sammon and Douglas Farmer | Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The big boys got a chance to fight for a title amid a night of semifinal bouts in the 12 other weight classes, and Will “The Stimulus Package” Burroughs beat his good friend Kevin “I Left My 6-Pack in my Gym-Bag” Crepeau for the second straight year to claim the heavyweight championship.

“After we fought last year we became friends, hung out on occasion,” said Burroughs, a law student. “I think fighting him again only added to the stress element. When it turned out we were fighting, it was as if we needed to put the friendship on hold for a week.”

The fight opened with Crepeau throwing the first punch but Burroughs making the first contact. After a few combinations to Crepeau’s body, Burroughs managed a left jab to his opponent’s chin, which set up his right hook that landed cleanly and with great force.

Crepeau could not find the holes in Burroughs’ defense to land any punches of his own, and the first round went to Burroughs.

Crepeau made his strongest effort in the second round, landing multiple right-left combinations complemented by right jabs, but none of it was enough to seriously disrupt Burroughs’ momentum.

In the final round, Crepeau attacked in order to win, and Burroughs met him, refusing to dance away or try coast to a victory on points. By the end of the round, Burroughs dispensed numerous shots to Crepeau’s body, as well as right and left hooks to the Duncan sophomore’s head.But Crepeau fought until the very end, mounting one last stand in the closing minute. He did fire a few strong shots upon Burroughs, and each one landed cleanly, blessing Burroughs with a considerable black eye only an hour later. But considering such an onslaught came in the final minute of the final round, it was indeed too little, too late.

Burroughs claimed the first-place trophy with a unanimous decision but could already foresee who would hold the title in the coming years.

“Kevin is a great fighter, I consider him a good friend, and I wish him the greatest luck,” Burroughs said, after icing that black eye from his friend. “He brought it tonight. It was definitely in no ways easy. I look forward to watching him fight in these coming years.”

130 pounds

Joe ‘David Hassel’ Hof def. Chris ‘Cougar’ CugliariThe semifinals began with a close split decision victory for Hof that could have gone to either fighter. Cugliari easily won the first round, landing two- and three-hit combinations interspersed with body shots set up by his jab while taking little damage from Hof.Perhaps knowing the first round had not gone his way, Hof came out much more aggressively in the second, scoring in the early exchanges. By the end of the round, though, Cugliari made a comeback and drew blood before the bell rang.Coming into the third round, neither fighter seemed to have much of an advantage, and it stayed that way for most of the round. After a stoppage to clean up Hof’s blood, the two gave it their all in the final 30 seconds, with Cugliari landed a big uppercut to end the fight. Drawing blood and landing big in the end was not enough, however, as a split decision sent Hof to the finals.

Michael ‘The Silver City Slugger’ Sayles def. Sean ‘Somar’ McNicholsBoth fighters showed what it means to “fight ’til the final bell,” as neither seemed willing to let up until the fight was over. The two took turns initiating early on, with the more aggressive fighter winning most of the exchanges until the end of the first round, when Sayles got McNichols against the ropes and dealt out some good punishment.The second round was all Sayles, as he came out the clear aggressor for the round, initiating most of the exchanges. McNichols’ offense was largely ineffective in the second, with Sayles landing two and three punches for each one his opponent landed.The pace did not slow down in the final round, as both fighters continued to pressure their opponent. McNichols finally mounted an effective offense, but it was not enough, as Sayles moved on with a unanimous decision victory.

140 pounds

Kristopher ‘El Azteca’ Perez def. Kieran ‘The Bulge’ BulgerShowing why he has not lost a fight in four years, the three-time champion Perez was all business in the semis. Perez started off slowing, stalking Bulger throughout the first round, rarely throwing punches, yet landing nearly everything he did throw. Bulger tried pushing the pace early but typically ended up backing off after eating a couple of hard shots.The second, and ultimately final, round was all Perez, with the beginning of the end coming when Bulger appeared to have Perez pinned against the ropes. Looks can be deceiving though, as Perez landed five or six hard shots while against the ropes to force the ref to call a stop to check Bulger’s bleeding. This was followed quickly by another stoppage when Perez landed multiple unanswered uppercuts and hooks in the middle of the ring. The fight was stopped shortly thereafter, 50 seconds into the second round, after Perez landed a few more hard combos.

Eric ‘A 2nd Reading From the Book of the Prophet’ Feduska def. Michael JohnstonIn a match where the only person to get knocked down was the referee, the first round saw Johnston pushing the pace, with Feduska using effective counter-striking to take the round.The second round was more of the same, with Feduska countering Johnston’s aggression. The aggression took its toll, as Johnston appeared tired and sluggish by the end of the round.Still looking tired in the final round, Johnston continued to initiate, but Feduska worked the jab well, and kept his tired opponent at bay.

145 pounds

Bobby Powers def. Albert ‘Hispanic Causing Panic’ ToscanoThe top-seeded Powers used his reach advantage to earn a spot in the finals for the second straight year.Powers used his reach early and often, trapping Toscano in the corner in the first and landing good punches while staying out of Toscano’s reach.Toscano used aggression to overcome the reach disadvantage in the second round, initiating and winning the early exchanges. Toscano continued to get inside and deliver punishment throughout the round.Powers came back in the final round, however, evading the freshman after being trapped in the corner early. Powers found his reach again late, landing enough shots while staying out of reach to earn the round and a unanimous decision.

Mark Weber def. James ‘Francis’ WoodsWoods gave it a good run but was unable to take down Weber, the boxing club president.Woods was aggressive early on, and was able to land several punches in the first, despite being warned twice for punching while holding the back of Weber’s head.Weber came out strong in the second, trapping Woods in the corner and unloading until Woods managed to bear hug Weber, causing the referee to separate the two. Woods mounted little offense in the second.The final round saw Weber again schooling Woods on technique, with an early flurry against the ropes and multiple shots late that left the sophomore stunned. Woods was warned for grabbing the back of the neck, and again after landing a spinning back elbow while trying to escape Weber’s flurry. Weber took the unanimous decision and will join Powers Saturday in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 final.

147 pounds

Joe ‘Thor’s Hammer’ Leary def. Brian ‘The BK Special’ KoepselBoth fighters gave it their all, and by the third round it showed. The first round saw Leary getting the better of Koepsel, who had trouble getting accustomed to Leary’s lean-back defense, as Koepsel was often unable to find the reach he needed.Koepsel turned things around in the second round, leaning into his punches more and thus landing more shots. He sealed the round with combinations against the ropes, though both men were breathing hard by the end of the round.With the fight up for grabs, Leary came out aggressively, with the two trading combinations early. Both continued to swing throughout the round, though by the end it did not appear either had enough left in the tank to cause too much damage. Leary took a split decision victory that could have gone either way. Patrick ‘The?South Bend Sniper’ Kibbe def. Brian ‘Raw Dawg’ DesplinterDesplinter, a senior captain, delivered the first crucial series of hits of the contest to his opponent, but Kibbe demonstrated an innate ability to dodge that carried him throughout the match. Kibbe chased Desplinter into a corner midway through the round, offering successive combo throws. In the second round the boxers acted a little more cautiously than before, showing a new mutual defensive strategy. Kibbe chased Desplinter into a corner, and Desplinter’s strategy of aiming for Kibbe’s stomach could not do enough damage. Desplinter finished the round out well with good combo throws and an intense right jab. Kibbe began the third round by containing Desplinter in the corner and aiming low. Desplinter showed a few right jabs as detrimental hits to Kibbe’s game. Toward the end of the round, Kibbe was able to get in some right-handed power shots, helping the judges with their decision, a split in Kibbe’s favor.

150 pounds Timothy ‘Slayer’ Thayer def. Jamie ‘Sweet Rays of?Sunshine’ KoepselBoth boxers remained on the defensive for much of the opening round, and neither gained much of an edge, thanks to the other’s blocking abilities.But just 13 seconds into the round as Koepsel brought his left arm back to initiate a big hook, he hit the mat with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Unable to move his left arm, the same one he had injured during the interhall football season, Koepsel was forced out of the fight.

Matt ‘Poz’ Posluszny def. Mark ‘The?Caveman’ BennettPosluszny chased Bennett into the corner with a series of powerful combo punches to open the fight. Bennett was quickly able to reciprocate by using his right hook to chase Posluszny back against the side ropes, though he was unable to throw anything particularly damaging Posluszny’s ability to withstand and block.Bennett took over at the beginning of the second round with several effective combos, but Bennett was still able to successfully block as well as he did in the first round. Bennett switched up his offensive strategy and aimed for Posluszny’s stomach, in hopes of weakening his ability to block. In the third, Bennett was able to keep up with his strategy of chasing Posluszny around in the ring, but he held his ground by showing combination power shots that do real damage in the ring. The round finished with both fighters tiring, off their targets, and unable to do crucial damage to make the decision obvious. But the judges determined Posluszny the victor with a split decision.

155 pounds

Daniel ‘You’re in the Lion’s Den, Now’ Rodgers def. Nathan ‘I Am?Legend’ RothenbergerBoth fighters looked cautious from the get-go, but Rodgers caught Rothenberger off guard with a right jab-and-hook combo to start the match. Rothenberger went for the body early on, but Rodgers landed a few more combos that kept his opponent away.Neither of the boxers proved to be overly assertive at the start of the second round, but Rodgers took over offensively from there until the remainder of the match. Rothenberger began some effective chasing, but Rodgers began to aim for Rothenberer’s unguarded head. Toward the end of the round, Rothenberger showed a powerful right jab but remained a few points behind. Both saved their aggression out for the third round. Rothenberger still did the majority of the effective charging, becoming a much stronger opponent. Combo hook shots against Rodgers chin showed that Rogers was losing his balance, but once Rothenberger got him against the ropes for a final time, he showed successive left and right hook shots which tipped the match largely in his favor.

John ‘L.E.R.N.’ Maier def. Alex ‘Speedy’ GonzalezDespite his height disadvantage, Gonzalez came into the ring with intense tenacity that showed Maier that the fight might be more balanced than it seemed. Gonzalez’s hooks were able to do some damage to Maier, who trailed most of the round until landing a right hook.In the second round, Maier gained some crucial points with powerful combination throws that Gonzalez struggled to keep up with. Each boxer became more defensive toward the end of the second round, but Gonzales appeared a little more dazed than Maier. For the third round, both boxers came back into the ring on the offensive, but Gonzalez was off-target with most of his throws. Maier gained a few crucial points toward the end of the third round by landing a few combos on a very dazed Gonzalez. Maier was awarded the split decision.

160 pounds

Jim ‘Rainbow Sprinkles’ Devereaux def. Caleb ‘The?Sharkitect’ Laux Following the heavyweight championship bout, these two fighters appeared to move with a great sense of urgency. But no matter how urgent Devereaux may have been, he could not evade Laux’s right fist. Laux varied his punches from hooks to jabs in the first round and alternated blows to the head to working the body, but he always seemed to use his right.Once the bell for the second round rang, Devereaux’s left jab exercised its effectiveness. While Laux bloodied his opponent’s nose in the second round, but Devereaux’s left-right-left combinations forced Laux to gasp for air as the round closed.In the third round, Devereaux repeatedly landed a left jab or two, then step away before Laux could retaliate. As Laux attempted to gain ground via desperate jabs, Devereaux used more combinations, and one left hook in particular rattled Laux. The judges rewarded Devereaux’s effort with a unanimous decision.

Jordan ‘Shake and Bake’ Bucci def. Mark ‘The?Sleeveless Samurai’ WitteWith the top of Bucci’s head only reaching the bottom of Witte’s chin, Witte’s height and reach advantages defined the fight, but only in the ways that Bucci managed to exploit them. From the opening bell, whenever Witte attacked, Bucci would duck the punches from above and take advantage of the newfound gap to pummel Witte’s body.In the second round, Bucci occasionally tried to reach Witte’s head, but often couldn’t reach high enough. Nonetheless, Witte would attack, and Bucci would slip under the punches and have an open opportunity against Witte’s ribs.By the third round’s opening bell, the blows to his body had tired Witte. Bucci managed a left hook to Witte’s chin that further set Witte back, and soon Witte’s corner men were cleaning up his bloodied nose. The decisive third round assured Bucci a victory, and indeed, it was unanimous.

165 pounds

Daniel ‘It’s Showertime’ Brennan def. Jack ‘The Ripper’ Peterson Both fighters made it quite clear from the start that they possessed strong punches when connecting. Peterson landed the first strong punch, a right-left combination. Nearing the end of the round, Brennan asserted himself with a right hook that firmly connected with Peterson’s head.Brennan began landing his punches with greater frequency in the second round. His highlight of the round came with back-to-back right-left combinations that Peterson could not match.Peterson left his corner in the third round looking to land many punches very quickly. He led with a series of right hooks that Brennan could not defend, but Brennan threw enough punches to keep Peterson alert. Even though Peterson bloodied Brennan’s nose in the final round, the fight did not tip his direction. Brennan won the bout with a split decision.

Alex ‘Check Out These Chicken Legs’ Duffy def. Matt HopkeHopke opened the fight throwing a multitude of punches, yet Duffy managed to avoid most of them. Excluding a quick, even flurry shortly before the bell, the first round involved more feeling out the other fighter than it did actual fighting.As the second round gained momentum, Duffy got adventurous. Hopke’s reach advantage had kept the two somewhat separated, but suddenly Duffy landed first a right-left combination, then a strong left hook. Hopke did not get a chance to return the favor.With two relatively conservative rounds under their belts, both boxers entered the third round in a hurry. Hopke threw more punches, but did not land a great percentage of them. While Duffy did not necessarily land a larger percentage of his punches than Hopke did, the punches he did land left a mark on Hopke. After three successive right hooks, Hopke was noticeably dazed. The fight ended in a unanimous decision for Duffy.

170 pounds

Andres Villalba def. Matt ‘The Abominable Flowman’ Paletta Both fighters opened the fight strong. Paletta threw two hooks that Villalba could not quite return. At the end of the round, Villalba had not landed any noteworthy punches, yet the round was still even.Villalba began the second round aggressively, attacking Paletta’s body. A right jab to Paletta’s chin furthered Villalba’s cause, as did a few more body shots near the end of the round.Entering the third round, each fighter seemed to feel that in order to win the bout, he needed to win the last round. As both tired very quickly, Villalba continued to focus on Paletta’s body, and this strategy led Villalba to a unanimous victory.

Bernardo ‘Blue’ Garcia def. Alex ‘The Big Swede’ KissingerThe fight began quickly as Kissinger threw punches at Garcia’s head while Garcia attacked Kissinger’s body. Once the opening adrenaline-induced exchange had passed, the two fighters sought a rhythm. With time, Garcia got Kissinger into the ropes, but Kissinger fought back effectively.Garcia opened the second round with two right jabs to Kissinger’s head, but Kissinger landed more punches throughout the rest of the round, including two right-left hook-jab combinations. Seconds before the bell, Kissinger landed three strong hooks.The conclusion of the fight neared with no clear victor when Garcia landed a right hook that dazed Kissinger. As Kissinger attempted to regain his composure, the final bell rang, and with it came a split decision in favor of Garcia.

175 pounds

Mike ‘The Big Dog’ Lee def. Jim Hasson Lee did not waste any time in this contest. As soon as the opportunity presented itself, he delivered a flurry of punches to Hasson’s ribs. Lee repeated this with every chance he found, especially when Hasson found himself in the ropes.Lee then turned to his left jab in the second round to keep Hasson’s own quick flurries at a distance. The round passed without either fighter inflicting considerable damage to the other, nor did either fighter feel too comfortable within the ring.Continuing with variety, Lee utilized his right hook in the final round and earned himself a championship bout appearance with a unanimous decision. Mike Doran def. Bill ‘Italian Stallion’ StracciaConsidering the low number of punches actually thrown, neither Doran nor Straccia risked too much. Because of all the feigns, neither fighter landed a significant punch.Straccia changed this as quickly as he could in the second round, landing two right hooks within the first minute. A third Straccia right hook was overshadowed by a right-left-right combination delivered with success by Doran.Again in the third round, Straccia attempted to begin strongly, but Doran kept his opponent at a distance with his reach advantage. A right jab directly to Straccia’s chin all but sealed the fight.

185 pounds

Leo ‘The Southpaw Lion Claw’ Rubinkowski def. Chris ‘Roadhouse’ Hapak With a distinct height and reach advantage, Rubinkowski took charge of the fight near the closing bell of the first round. He delivered a mighty right hook, and then with only a second’s pause, an equal left hook that left Hapak harmless for the remainder of the round.Hapak returned to form in the second round, neutralizing Rubinkowski’s reach by forcing the southpaw into a corner. There, Hapak pummeled Rubinkowski’s mid-section, after delivering two hooks of his own.Rubinkowski closed strongly. Repeated left jabs kept Hapak at bay once again, and that was all Rubinkowski apparently needed.

John ‘The Boogie-Woogie Monster’ Tchoula def. Rafael ‘Dinamita’ DiazWith two fighters possessing as much prowess as these two, the first round largely consisted of the competitors gauging the other. Tchoula threw a few hooks, but none landed as strongly as he hoped. Tchoula displayed his efficiency in the second round, literally wasting no effort. When Diaz managed to land a left jab to Tchoula’s chin, the response was a five-punch series of hooks and jabs that Diaz could not defend.Opening the final session, Tchoula landed two left jabs, followed by two left hooks. Diaz was fatigued from such an onslaught, and Tchoula controlled the rest of the fight, as he had most of it to start with. Due to this control, Tchoula won with a unanimous decision.

200 pounds

Benford Begay def. Andrew Lorenz Showing unexpected agility, Begay ducked and weaved Lorenz’s initial aggressive approach. Lorenz did land two right hooks, but Begay responded in turn with a right hook of his own, as well as a right-left-right combination that Lorenz could not match.Begay continued to throw solid combinations throughout the second round. Lorenz did land punches, but none with quite the same effects as Begay’s. Both boxers began to fatigue at the end of the round, promising a difficult third round.Begay turned to Lorenz’s left ribs to start the third round, followed closely by a vicious left hook. Such success left Lorenz exhausted, and Begay was quite fatigued himself. When the final bell rang, Begay had earned himself a split-decision victory.

Patrick ‘Third-Degree’ Burns def. Bart DearThe two fighters began the bout with an excess of movement, yet Dear was still able to land a few jabs to Burns’ chin. Not many other punches landed solidly during the round, and each fighter remained relatively fresh.To begin the second round, the fighters changed patterns, as they matched each other blow for blow. Burns finally gained an edge by executing a clean right hook followed by a quick jab.Dear entered the third round with plenty of energy. With punch after punch, right after left, hook after jab, Dear gave Burns a good amount of difficulty. Nonetheless, the judges felt Burns was able to handle this difficulty, as he won with a split decision.