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Boxing at the Crowne Plaza (with photo gallery)

It was a satisfying program of boxing the other night at the Crowne Plaza in Albany, even if one of the main attractions, local light-heavyweight Shawn Miller, had to drop out at the last minute. He fell on ice while carrying his young son and dislocated his shoulder, so his appearance at the Crowne Plaza was in mufti, with his arm in a sling, taking a rueful bow for his fans during intermission.

Otherwise events turned out as fans always hope, with hometown fighters prevailing over their imported opponents. (To see photos of the event, click HERE.)

In the four-round junior middleweight opener, Joe Yerdon of Albany bloodied the nose of Rogelio Sanchez of Fort Wayne, Ind., whose chest tattoos of Jesus and Mary (one on one pec, one on the other) were not enough to overcome Yerdon’s punching power. Both of these novice fighters came in with no wins and two defeats, but that proved deceptive. It was a good scrappy fight.

In women’s boxing, of which I am not a huge partisan, Albany’s Sarah Kuhn looked much bigger and proved much stronger than southpaw Cassandra Lindsey of Columbus, Miss., though the official weight difference was only three pounds. The judges awarded her a thoroughly deserved shut-out.

In the middleweight division, Markus Williams of Albany dominated Lawrence Jones of Reston, Va., and won a unanimous decision. He fights with his mouth open, and I’m always afraid he’s going to catch a shot and regret it.

In another women’s contest, Jaclyn Trivilino, who for rooting purposes counts as local despite being from Plattsburgh, dominated Karen Dulin of Providence, R.I., and was also awarded a shut-out decision.

In the 10-round main event, Manny Lucero, originally from Mexico City, now of Albany, looked fresh all the way through as he outpunched and outpointed Oscar Cuero, originally from Colombia, now out of the Bronx.

I had been anxious to see Lucero. He was a rising star, going 21-0, until he met the sensational Manny Pacquiao in 2003 and got stopped in the third round, and that seemed to take the starch out of him. He lost four of his next six fights, then quit. But last August, after three years on the sidelines, he decided to give it another go, and he proceeded to win two fights and lose one. Saturday night made him 3-1 on the comeback trail, but more importantly it showed that he has plenty of stamina despite his 32 years. Ten rounds seemed not to phase him.

I talked with him at Schott’s gym a couple weeks before the fight, and watched him work out, and he seemed as lively as the kids who were there.

So with luck we will see him again, maybe in another card by ARES promotions, which did a nice job putting this one on. The Crowne Plaza does not seem a likely place for boxing, and indeed the low-ceilinged downstairs meeting hall where the event was held does not have the feel of a sports arena. But it was perfectly jolly even if the lighting was a bit dim for those of us trying to take photographs. The 800 seats appeared to be sold out, and even if there were no knockouts and very little blood, the two things that a lot of boxing fans seem most to appreciate, I heard no complaints. The fights were all competitive, which for me is the most important thing. Only the most cruel relish one-sided fights.

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