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Savage hits it big in return to ring

By By Evan Smith/The Meridian Star
Feb. 14, 2001
David McNeil continued his commitment to bringing top-class boxing to Meridian Tuesday with another night of "Brawlin' at the Frank."
Tuesday's fight card featured local favorites such as Brad "The Irish Bull" McNeil and Freddie "No Fear" Collins, as well as former IBC featherweight champion of the world Richard Savage of Monroe, La.
Savage, fighting as a junior welterweight in his first bout after a seven year break from boxing, took on Meridian's Michael "The Boss" Moss in the main event scheduled to go eight rounds.
The taller Moss came out looking to utilize his reach in the first round by keeping Savage at a distance with a series of jabs. The strategy appeared to be working as Savage couldn't seem to find an opening in the early going.
Moss came out with more aggressiveness to start the second round, looking to hurt his opponent with some big hooks. But Savage weathered the storm and eventually found his way inside on Moss where he was able to work some nice combinations of punches that had Moss wobbling for a moment.
Savage wasted little time taking advantage of the situation as he proceeded to unload on Moss with a torrent of uppercuts and hooks that Moss was unable to stop.
When Moss stumbled, the referee paused the action and gave him a standing eight count. Moss recovered and as the final 15 seconds of the round dwindled, the fighters unloaded on each other with a series of blows that had the crowd on its feet.
Round three saw both fighters land some nice punches, but neither able to gain a decisive edge.
In the fourth, Moss once again seemed to be in trouble as Savage backed him into the corner and hit him with a combination of punches that opened a cut under his right eye. Moments later Savage sent him to the floor with a big right hook.
In the fifth, both fighters seemed to be tiring a little. The big hooks and jabs Moss had been throwing in the early rounds weren't coming with the same frequency and didn't have as much pop on them. And while Savage was having an easier time getting inside on Moss, he couldn't seem to connect with his uppercut.
Moss and Savage both came out more aggressive in the sixth, but Savage quickly gained the advantage and didn't waste any time before knocking Moss down for the second time in the bout. This time, Moss' corner man decided his fighter had enough and threw in the towel giving Savage the win by technical knockout at the 2:25 mark of the round.
After the fight, Savage said he was surprised the fight went as long as it did.
Savage said going up against a fighter with so much of a height advantage forced him to approach the bout a little differently than he would if he were boxing someone his own size.
After being out of the sport for nearly a decade for "personal reasons", Savage said it was good to get back in the ring. And while he said he doesn't know when his next fight will be, he is looking forward to making another run at the belt.
In the evening's other bouts, Meridian's Tim Meyers TKO'd Danny Ireland, of Toronto, Ala., in the first round of their junior middleweight bout; Tony Young, of Meridian, TKO'd Terrance Gilmore, of Okolona, in the first round of their lightweight bout; Collins won by unanimous decision over Deitrick Castor of Monroe in a featherweight bout; Greg Granger, of Meridian, won a unanimous decision over Hattiesburg's Melvin Lumzy in a heavyweight bout; and McNeil knocked out Curtis Johnson with 1:31 left in the third round of their middleweight bout.
Evan Smith is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at esmith@themeridianstar.com