PROVIDENCE (April 27, 2010) – New Bedford police officer Jason “School Boy” Pires, one of the top United States amateur boxers in the mid-1990s, has come back to the ring after graduating from college to take care of some unfinished business.
Pires (22-3-1, 9 KOs), a former USBA super bantamweight champion, takes on former world title challenger Michael “Cold Blood” Clark (39-5-1, 18 KOs), headlining the May 7th “Spring Fever” pro boxing card, presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment and Sports, Inc. (CES), at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, R.I.
Pires and Clark are fighting for the vacant NABA-U.S. junior welterweight title in a special 9-round bout.
As an alternate on the 1996 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team, Pires was recognized as one of the best amateurs in the nation. When Team USA was preparing for a dual meet against Russia, Jason roomed with the great Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr.
“Floyd’s a good guy,” Jason said. “It was a great experience working out with him and being roommates. He’s a down-to-earth guy. I remember sneaking out at night and going to the roller skating rink with him.”
Pires turned pro in 1996, winning his first 15 fights, before suffering his first loss to the much more experienced Arthur “Flash” Johnson, who had been in three world title fights at that time, by a 10-round majority decision. Two years and four wins later, Jason lost an 8-round majority decision to Oscar Leon, who went on to fight twice for the world title.
In 2003, Pires was stopped for the first and only time of his career by a hot prospect, 14-0 Rocky Juarez. Jason decided to concentrate on school, earning a BA degree from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth in sociology and criminal justice before becoming a police officer in his hometown of New Bedford (MA).
The now 35-year-old Pires returned to the squared circle Nov. 29, 2008, more than five years since his last fight, winning a 6-round decision against veteran Frank Houghtaling, followed by a win by 8-round decision against Louie Leija (21-9-1), and a 6-round majority draw in his last action (March19) versus John Revish in which Jason was dropped twice in the second round but came back to earn the draw, though many ringside observers felt he won the fight.
“I came back because I missed it,” Pires said of his return to boxing. “I was out of boxing five years but I was still in the gym. I’ve been boxing since I was a baby – three years old; it’s in my blood. It’s part of me. I had put so much into boxing and wanted to take care of unfinished business – winning a world title and making some real money. I decided to go for it.
“Boxing has helped me as a police officer. I know how to stay focused, the No. 1 priority in both jobs, and to always be in top condition. I’m a professional in both jobs. One time I had a foot chase with a guy and caught him after a mile. You never know what to expect when you get a call. What I’ve learned in the gym has helped me be a better police officer.”
Pires’ May 7th opponent, Clark, has been an NABF, IBC and WBC Continental Americas champion, and he lost his only world title-fight in 1999 to WBO lightweight champion Artur Grigorian. Clark holds a win against former CES star Gary “Tiger” Balletto during The Contender, Season 2 as well as victories against other top fighters such as Mauro Lucero, Antonio Rameriz and the late Leavander Johnson.
Also slated to fight in 4-round bouts are some of New England’s finest prospects: Providence super middleweight Vladine Biosse (5-0, 4 KOs) and former University of Rhode Island football player vs. TBA; “Irish” Micky Ward-trained Barnstable (MA) heavyweight prospect Jesse Barboza (3-0, 3 KOs), a 3-time New England Golden Gloves champion, vs. TBA; Warwick (RI) super middleweight Keith Kozlin (5-0, 2 KOs) vs. Greg McCoy (0-1-1); Hartford middleweight David Bauza (4-0, 3 KOs) vs. Richard “Hurricane” Grant (4-3, 2 KOs); New Haven light welterweight Edwin Soto (3-0, 2 KOs) vs. Carlos Hernandez (pro debut); Marshfield (MA) welterweight Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes (1-1, 1 KO) vs. Natoya Ervin (1-4), Lincoln (RI) light welterweight Diego Pereira (4-0, 2 KOs) vs. Noel Garcia (2-3-1, 1 KO) of Springfield (MA) and New Haven (CT) middleweight Ricky Dawson, whose younger brother Chad is recognized as one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world, making his CES and pro debut. All boxers are subject to change.
Ticket prices for “Spring Fever” are $35.00, $50.00, $75.00 and $100.00 and are available to purchase by calling CES (401.724.2253/2254), going online at www.cesboxing.com or www.twinriver.com, at Twin River’s Players Club booth at Twin River, or any TicketMaster location.
(Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for “Spring Fever.” Anybody under the age of 18 must be accompanied at all times by an adult and they must enter through the West entrance.)
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