By Anthony Bosco
Bayside heavyweight Vinny Maddalone will step back in the ring for the second time in less than a month Friday, taking on journeyman Dennis McKinney in a six-round bout at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.
Maddalone will be supporting fellow Queens heavyweight Monte Barrett, fighting out of South Jamaica, who was added to the card Monday when main event attraction Ray Mercer fell out of his bout with Robert Wiggins.
“The idea is to keep him busy, keep him going,” said promoter Joe DeGuardia of Maddalone’s recent activity. “He’s about to crack into the upper echelon of the division and I want to keep him busy so he can keep learning and be ready to take that next big step.”
Maddalone won his last bout, a second-round knockout over Brian Blakely March 14 at Atlantic City Resorts Casino. It was the third bout since Maddalone’s (18-1, 13 KOs) lone professional defeat, a six-round decision loss to former world cruiserweight title holder Al “Ice” Cole.
The win has given Cole’s career new life, including a draw against Jeremy Williams and a win over David Izon.
“I want the guy to keep winning so I can get a rematch worth something,” Maddalone said. “Since the Al Cole fight, I’ve felt more relaxed than anything in there. That’s the biggest thing. Even in sparring, everything is just there. I was too tense before. I’m just putting it all together now.”
Maddalone said he has been training steadily since November and did not take any time off since his last win.
McKinney, out of Columbia, S.C., sports an unimpressive record of 22-25-1 with 12 KOs, but, according to DeGuardia, is coming off six straight wins and is 7-1 since moving up to the heavyweight class. Described as a “cagey veteran,” the promoter said that McKinney may have the most experience of anyone Maddalone has been in the ring, with the exception of Cole.
“He’s a little sneaky,” Maddalone said. “He’s cute in there. You can just tell he’s been in the ring and he knows what to do. I just have to go at him and do what I have to do.”
One of McKinney’s more impressive performances may have been a disputed decision loss to cruiserweight contender Lou DelValle, of Queensbridge. According to DeGuardia, McKinney is just the type of fighter he is looking for against Maddalone, someone with experience who will give him different looks, but whom Maddalone should beat.
“These are the guys he needs to fight to get the experience,” DeGuardia said.
Maddalone, a former Minor League baseball player out of Holy Cross High School, did not have much of an amateur career and said his career is in no rush.
“I had to learn on the job pretty much,” Maddalone said. “I feel good. I’m ready to go. I like this. I’ve been going like since November, December. I’ve been training every day. Hopefully after this fight I’ll take a week, week and a half off.”
Barrett, a former all-city football player at John Adams, sports a record of 27-2 with 15 KOs and will face Wiggins (17-2-1), of Providence, R.I., in the main event. Brooklyn’s Daniel Judah (17-0-1) is also on the card, facing veteran Glen Johnson (38-9). Former world champion Kennedy McKinney is also slated to fight.
The bouts will be televised on ESPN2.
Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.