Lavin, Amparo Renew RivalryOctober 12, 2012
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Oct. 11, 2012) – Even though he won their first fight in October of 2011, unbeaten super middleweight Alex Amparo didn’t hesitate when asked to face Nick Lavin again next Thursday at the Twin River Event Center.
“We have the kind of style that makes for a great fight,” Amparo said before adding, “This time, I think it’ll end differently. I don’t think it’ll go four rounds.”
Amparo (4-0, 2 KOs), a Providence, R.I., native, won the first fight by majority decision, 39-37, 38-37, 38-38. Lavin (2-3, 2 KOs) thinks he at least earned a draw. They’ll settle the score for good Thursday, October 18th, 2012 on the undercard of Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports’ “Closing Statement” boxing show in a four-round super middleweight bout.
“He better be the one worrying about surviving, not me,” said a confident Lavin, who lives and trains in Shelton, Conn., under the guidance of local instructor Kasey Coon. “I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. I’ve never trained harder for a fight than I have for this one.
“I’ve been talking about this since the last one ended. A win would open some doors for me and breathe some life back into my career.”
Lavin is facing a major crossroad as he prepares for Thursday’s fight. The loss to Amparo in 2011 dropped him to 2-2. Then he got knocked out by Paul Gonsalves in the final seconds of their light heavyweight bout in March.
Since then, he’s switched trainers, leaving former Hartford title contender John Scully for Coon – nothing personal; Scully was out of town from time to time working with light heavyweight world champion Chad Dawson, so Lavin needed someone with deep roots in the area who would be available more often. He and Coon linked up through the Lion’s Den in Middletown, Conn., and have been working together since the end of the Gonsalves fight.
“We just clicked,” Lavin said. “My jab feels a lot sharper, my movement’s better – I’m making people miss a lot more. I’m working angles a lot better. Everything is falling into place.
“In the first fight, I was reckless. I played into his game plan and brawled with him. This time I’m going to try to step back a bit and box him a little more.”
Amparo is equally confident, pointing to his own workout regimen, which has changed in recent months. He’s split up his training between his new conditioning coach, Shane Cronan, and his current boxing coach, Jose Santos.
“With Shane, it’s pure conditioning,” Amparo said. “In the past it was difficult because I’d try to squeeze my boxing and conditioning into my sessions with Jose, but now I’ll meet Shane in the morning and work with Jose at night, or vice-versa – train with Jose in the afternoon and hit the hills with Shane at night.
“Now I’m able to focus more on my boxing strategy when I’m in the gym with Jose. One of the things I noticed in the past was I’d be able to implement the game plan for one or two rounds and then I’d get sloppy toward the end because my conditioning wasn’t there. Having that base now is the most important thing.”
The end result is a leaner, stronger Amparo capable of fighting effectively over the course of four rounds.
“My power has improved a lot since last year,” he said, “and [Lavin] is still going to be there to get hit with those shots. He won’t be able to stand up to it. I faded toward the end of the last fight and it didn’t allow me to exert myself 100 percent in the final round. If I was in the shape I’m in now, I would’ve got him out of there.”
The first bout between Lavin and Amparo last year was fought at 175 pounds. Amparo has since dropped to 168 and has several local fighters on his radar – “I won’t mention any names because I spar with some of them,” he laughed – but the path to the top starts with Lavin next Thursday in a fight both sides need to win, albeit for much different reasons.
“This is kind of the story of my life,” Lavin said. “I’ve been knocked down so many times, not just in boxing but in life in general. You’ve got to put it past you and keep moving forward. That applies to boxing as well. I’m ready this time. I’m coming hard.”
The main event of “Closing Statement” features an eight-round battle interstate rivals Joseph “Chip” Perez (9-1, 3 KOs) of East Hartford, Conn., and Hartford’s Chazz “Magnificent” McDowell (6-2, 1 KO) for the vacant New England Junior Lightweight title. Providence female bantamweight Shelito Vincent (4-0) will face Ivana Coleman (0-1) in a four-round rematch.
Sparks will fly in the heavyweight division when hard-hitting Alexis Santos (6-0, 5 KOs) of Lawrence, Mass., puts his undefeated record on the line against Providence’s Josh Harris (8-6-1, 6 KOs). The show also features two additional regional battles as former The Contender reality television star Rich Gingras (11-3, 7 KOs) of Attleboro, Mass., returns to face Providence’s Richard “Bobo The Bull” Starnino (9-9-2, 2 KOs) in a six-round light heavyweight bout and newcomers Jon Smith of Cranston, R.I., a former three-time New England Golden Gloves champion, and Dinis Paiva Jr. of East Providence, R.I., who has five professional mixed martial arts fights under his belt, square off in a four-round welterweight bout.
“The Vermont Bully” Kevin Cobbs (5-0, 1 KO) of Burlington, Vt., will look to keep his perfect record intact when he faces tough veteran Alexander Mancera (8-4-1, 5 KOs) of Queens, N.Y., in a four-round light heavyweight bout and middleweight Thomas Falowo (7-1, 5 KOs) of Pawtucket, R.I., will battle Ontario, Canada veteran Michael Walchuk (9-6, 2 KOs) in a six-round bout. Woonsocket, R.I., middleweight Joey Gardner (8-5-1, 1 KO) will face Philip Burnette (2-5, 1 KO) of Myrtle Beach, S.C., in a six-round bout. Providence junior lightweight Toka Kahn (2-0, 2 KOs) will also be featured on the undercard in a separate four-round bout.
Tickets for “Closing Statement ” are $40.00, $75.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, online at www.cesboxing.com or www.twinriver.com, at the Players Club booth at Twin River, or through any TicketMaster location. Doors open 6 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7.
(Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for “Closing Statement.” Anybody under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and must enter through the West entrance.)