If Anthony "T-Bone" Green packs the boxing skills to match his physical appearance, undefeated Town of Tonawanda heavyweight "Baby" Joe Mesi may be in for the toughest fight of his career tonight.
When the foes stripped down for the weigh-in Thursday afternoon, Green -- a 36-year-old from Brooklyn -- proved to be a head taller (6-foot-5 to 6-1) and a whopping 53 pounds (278 to 225) heavier than Mesi.
"And there's not an ounce of fat," Lou Fugazy, Green's manager, accurately pointed out.
Mesi said he was "a little surprised" by the tale of the scale at the Boulevard Entertainment Center, 1620 Niagara Falls Blvd.
His father/manager, Jack, was more dramatic.
"This is like David and Goliath, like a fly versus an elephant," Jack Mesi said.
"I've been watching films for a few weeks and I knew he was not fat," young Mesi said. "But in the films, he weighed about 270-272, always in that range. Being 278 is the heaviest I've seen him. But he also looks much more muscular. I think he's been doing a lot of weight training. To come in 10 pounds heavier and not look fat, he must be doing something right."
The 25-year-old Mesi brings a 13-0 (11 knockouts) record into the "Buffalo Brawl" at Erie Community College's Burt Flickinger Athletic Center.
Green (12-4, 3 KOs) and the Sweet Home High graduate will go a scheduled 10 rounds for the "Interim New York State Championship." Promoters said the title currently is held by Brian Nix of Rochester, who will lose it on Oct. 1 for lack of a defense.
"I feel like the (1997) day I fought Bert Cooper," Green said. "I went into his hometown, which was Philadelphia, and beat him in his own back yard. And I will show that I will beat this guy in his own back yard."
"I cannot afford to lose," Joe Mesi said. "I'm 13-0 and this New York title is a step in the right direction. I've already been offered bigger titles and I need this. I just refuse to lose and it's just not an option for me."
Mesi said he expects to use his speed to overcome Green's size.
Green's extra poundage "is not going to help him too much," Mesi said. "If anything, it'll slow him down a little. . . . Speed is my best weapon."
Green, who said he got his nickname after "I ate a T-bone steak when I was 3," said "my strategy is to . . . use all my faculties and all my abilities to win this fight."
This will be the first professional boxing card in Western New York since April 2, 1998, when Mesi scored the fifth win of his professional career by stopping Mike McGrady of Pittsburgh in the second round at the Flickinger Center, 21 Oak Street at North Division.
Promoter Victor A. Marrale said about 1,000 tickets had been sold by Thursday afternoon and a crowd of about 2,500 is expected tonight. Seats are priced at $67, $48 and $29.
The Mesi-Green main event will be the last of six fights on a program that starts at 7 p.m.
The expected undercard, in tentative order of appearance:
Derrick Brown (4-0, 3 KOs, 234 pounds), of Herkimer, vs. Dean Story (3-6-1, 3 KOs, 240), Moncton, New Brunswick. Heavyweights, 4 rounds.
Kevin Rosier (7-7, 4 KOs, 280), Buffalo, vs. Brian Hollins (Record not available), Utica. Heavyweights, 4 rounds.
Ed Dawson (1-0, 175 1/2 ), Niagara Falls, Ont. vs. Reggie Rivera (1-2-1, weight NA), Akron, Ohio. Light heavyweights, 4 rounds.
Rodney Collins (2-6-2, 200), Buffalo, vs. Tom Klute (3-4, 197 1/2 ), Philadelphia. Cruiserweights, 4 rounds.
Jermell Barnes (6-0, 200), Rochester, vs. Steve Brown, (5-11-1, 214), Akron, Ohio. Cruiserweights, 6 rounds.