By Dylan Butler
UNCASVILLE, CONN. — Chalk it up as another lesson for heavyweight pupil Vinny Maddalone.
The hard-hitting Bayside native, a former pitching standout at Holy Cross High School, defeated veteran Dennis McKinney by split decision at the Mohegan Sun Arena Friday night.
It wasn’t one of the better performances for the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Maddalone, but the four-round win came against a fighter who has almost 50 professional fights under his belt, including an impressive resume that includes going the distance in losses to Queensbridge native and former light-heavyweight champion Lou Del Valle, as well as Julian Letterlough.
“I wanted to get the work,” said Maddalone, who improved to 19-1 (13 KOs). “I wish I could have gotten a knockout, but I think I was trying for one. I didn’t do what my corner was saying, put the short combinations together. I was trying to throw little haymakers, but I’m glad I got a couple of rounds.”
Judges Robert Paolino and Frank Lombardi had Maddalone in front, 39-37 while Don Trella had McKinney winning, 39-37.
The TimesLedger scored the fight 39-37 in favor of Maddalone.
The fight against McKinney, who moved up in weight from light heavyweight, was originally scheduled for six rounds, but was pushed back to four rounds in order to fit it on the televised portion of the card.
Maddalone tried to put the smaller but quicker McKinney away in the first round, but missed wildly with some roundhouse punches. McKinney, whose cousin, former Olympic champion Kennedy McKinney, lost to Greg Torres earlier on the card, scored with a nice combination at the end of the round to steal the round on all three judges scorecards.
Maddalone effectively attacked McKinney’s body, negating his speed. McKinney, who dropped to 22-26-1, was stunned by a strong left hook midway through the second round and a big right hook at end of the round.
In the third round, Maddalone, who connected on 35 percent of his punches (78-for-221), landed with a good left to McKinney’s body and an overhand right at the end of the round.
While he was never able to truly hurt McKinney, Maddalone won the fourth round by being the busier fighter and pounding away at the body and it appeared, had it gone six rounds as originally scheduled, Maddalone may have knocked McKinney out for the eighth time in his career.
“We knew going in the kid was experienced and wanted to grab a lot,” said Maddalone’s trainer Bob Jackson. “What we worked on a lot in the gym was moving in punching behind your hands. When he did that, when he moved in punching instead of moving in to punch, [McKinney] wasn't able to grab him. That’s when [Maddalone] was able to tag him.”
Added Maddalone: “I was a little flat the first couple of rounds, but then I started peaking up. He was getting a little tired so I think the holding on to me stuff was wearing him down. If it would have [gone six rounds] I would have had him in the later rounds.”
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.