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MESI'S HOMETOWN APPEARANCE PACKS A REAL PUNCH

"Baby" Joe Mesi handed out another spanking Friday night.

The undefeated Town of Tonawanda boxer ran his record to 14-0 with a flurry of punches to the body and head that knocked down and stopped Anthony "T-Bone" Green in the eighth round of their scheduled 10-rounder at Erie Community College's Burt Flickinger Athletic Center.

A hometown crowd of about 2,500 were on their feet chanting "Jo-ey, Jo-ey" as the 25-year-old dispatched Green and scored the 12th KO of his professional career over the Brooklyn giant who stood a head taller and outweighed Mesi by 53 pounds.

The victory earned Mesi, who fought at 225 pounds, the interim New York State heavyweight championship.

Referee Dick Pakozdi stopped the bout at 2:26 of the eighth round after the 6-foot-1 Mesi sent Green, 6-5, 278, squatting onto into the ropes in his own corner.

Until then, the final round had gone much like the others as the quicker Mesi would throw combinations of punches and then retreat from the long reach of his foe. Until the final flurry, the often-strutting Green acted like nothing in Mesi's arsenal could hurt him.

Mesi said his strategy was to "work inside, and exit to the right or left."

He said "I kept turning to the right and hitting the hook to the right head. . . . You don't want to face him head on. He's too strong."

Mesi said he finished Green off with a series of hooks. "I was hitting him with the hooks all night. None of them were real flush, but they were adding up," Mesi said.

While Green, 36, had the edge in size, he failed to match Mesi boxing skills. Green's most notable missing weapon was a left jab. Despite pleadings from his corner to attack with the jab, Green (12-5 with 3 KOs) frequently kept his left hand low, allowing Mesi to slip inside and score body blows.

"I was a little surprised, but in the films I studied, he's a hooker. He likes to hook from the outside and use that 85-inch reach. It wasn't effective. I kept going under his hook," Mesi said.

Green said: "I stood flat-footed and fought this fight flat-footed. If I had been on my toes I could have coordinated some jabs. I didn't coordinate enough jabs."

The end came soon after Mesi landed two rights to the head that backed Green backed into Mesi's corner. Mesi hit Green in the stomach and chased him along the ropes, landing five shots.

Green straightened up and walked away but Mesi followed him to the center of the ring and forced him to the ropes with a few punches to the head and stomach. Green retreated to his own corner, where Mesi delivered a right to the head that sent Green down on the ropes. Mesi finished with a left to the head and a left-right to the body before the halt came.

On the undercard, two New York state fighters stayed unbeaten but Buffalo's Kevin Rosier dropped an entertaining four-round decision. Despite giving up 80 pounds, Rome's Brian Hollins (3-5) won a unanimous four-round heavyweight decision over the 280-pound Rosier (7-8), who represents the Buffalo Athletic Club and spars with Mesi.

"He's a big guy who hits very hard," said Hollins. "I had to do something to counteract all that weight and it was stick and move as much as possible."

Rochester school teacher Jarmell Barnes (7-0) won a unanimous six-round cruiserweight decision over Steve Brown (5-12-1) of Warren, Ohio.

Utica's Derrick Brown (5-0) knocked down Dean Storey (3-7-1) of Moncton, New Brunswick in both of the first two rounds before knocking him out at 2:51 of the third round in a scheduled four-round heavyweight bout.

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