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Maddalone, Melito fail to fight yet again

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The latest cancellation came last week when both were scheduled to appear...

By Anthony Bosco

For the second time in as many attempts, two popular Queens boxers, undefeated heavyweight Vinny Maddalone and cruiserweight Richie Melito, had bouts canceled at the last minute.

The latest cancellation came last week when both were scheduled to appear on a card promoted by Thomas Gallagher Productions Inc. in association with Cipriani 42nd Street.

The card was slated for Friday night at Cipriani 42nd Street in Manhattan. It was canceled the night of May 1 after the New York State Athletic Commission refused to approve an opponent for Melito.

Sources close to the card said ticket sales were not as brisk as expected, which also doomed the promotion. Tickets for the card, billed as “Black Tie Boxing,” went for $200 each.

“There were a lot of different elements,” said Gallagher, a Howard Beach resident, as to why the show was canceled. “Cipriani said there were not enough tickets sold. Melito’s opponent was a real problem.”

Melito, a former heavyweight who was planning his debut at cruiserweight, has not fought in more than a year following a federal investigation that resulted in the indictment of two men for allegedly fixing a fight with Melito, which the Queens native won.

The indictment, handed up by a federal grand jury in Las Vegas and brought by the U.S. attorney for the District of Nevada as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, alleged that boxer Thomas Williams and matchmaker Robert Mitchell conspired to fix Williams’ Aug. 12, 2000 bout with Melito on the Evander Holyfield-John Ruiz undercard at the Paris Hotel and Casino. Melito won the bout in a first-round knockout.

Melito was not charged in the case.

Richard Melito Sr., a former New York City police officer who helps manage his son’s career, said NYSAC approved two opponents, one as late as April 26, pending the outcome of his medical examination on Wednesday, May 1.

On Monday, April 29, Melito Sr. said that opponent was rejected by the commission prior to the examination, resulting in his son being pulled from the card.

“Richie has been ready to fight for the last three months,” Melito Sr. said. “I thought for sure he was fighting on this card. It’s unfortunate. All I want is for the kid to fight.”

Ruby Marin, acting executive director of the New York State Athletic Commission, which oversees all boxing and wrestling in the state, contends that only one opponent for Melito was presented to the commission and was approved. Marin added that Melito’s opponent then withdrew from the card and no other opponent was presented to the commission for approval.

Matchmaker Chris Mittendorf, who works for Gallagher as well as other promoters and is based out of Baltimore, said the commission gave preliminary approval to two opponents for Melito, but then declined to approve both, boxers Don Normand and John Randall. The last opponent was turned down on April 29, which, Mittendorf said, was the cutoff date for getting a fighter’s blood work back in time for approval by the commission.

“We’re in the business of regulating,” Marin said. “They are in the business of presenting opponents. If it’s a mismatch, we don’t approve. We did not reject all of them.”

Melito’s last attempt to fight in New York was also derailed by the commission, when he was to appear on a Ring Promotions card at the Park Central New York Hotel, Jan. 24.

Ticket sales were also a problem for the most recent cancellation, said Louis Rose, managing director of Cipriani’s.

“It was a mutual decision by Cipriani’s and Gallagher Promotions,” Rose said. “Ultimately we did not have enough tickets sold. It had nothing to do with the politics of the fighters. We certainly had a good card. It was surely the number of ticket sales.”

Melito Sr. and Maddalone’s manager, Bob Lansilotti, however contend the venue would have been filled on fight night.

“Between Richie and Vinny, they are the draws,” Lansilotti said. “I don’t know. I had all of these tables sold.”

For Maddalone, it was not the first time a card on which he was to appear has fallen through and he has been forced to sit idle. He was first expected to take part on a card at Cipriani’s on March 16, a bout that initially was to be the Bayside native’s debut on Friday Night Fights, a weekly boxing show televised on ESPN 2. But his opponent for that fight did not meet NYSAC muster, forcing him to be excluded from the show, which was a great success, according to Marin.

Maddalone instead traveled to Myrtle Beach, S.C. later in the month, scoring a second-round knockout over Clarence Goins, raising the prospect’s record to 15-0 with 10 KOs.

“I was looking forward to it,” Maddalone said of the March card. “The first one was supposed to be ESPN. That fell through and I said ‘OK.’

“I was getting ready for [last Friday] and this happened again,” he added. “I had to tell all these people. It’s disappointing. They’re all set to go and I have to call them and call it off.”

Marin said the problems Maddalone has had with his last two scheduled New York bouts were “bad luck” for both Maddalone and Gallagher, a well-known and long-time member of the boxing community.

Gallagher is a licensed cornerman in New York state and therefore prohibited from acting as the promoter of record. The sole shareholder of Thomas Gallagher Productions, Inc., Marin said, is Maureen Gallagher, Thomas’ wife.

Both Melito and Maddalone are now seeking their next bouts.

“I don't blame it on Tommy,” said Maddalone, whose services were on loan to Gallagher from Joe DeGuardia and Star Boxing. “I’ve been ready to go for 2 and a half months.”

According to Marin, DeGuardia has been unable to promote a card in New York while serving a suspension issued by the NYSAC for undisclosed reasons. The suspension, she added, was likely to be lifted this week.

Maddalone said he is hoping to fight in the next few weeks, even if it means heading back down South.

Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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