Monday, March 15, 2010

'Mean Machine' goes down swinging in possible retirement bout split decision

At 50 years old, heavyweight Al "The Mean Machine" Valentine fought and narrowly lost his retirement bout against a friend, Gabe Steele Duckworth, 27, at Marlintinis' Lounge Roughhouse Boxing on Friday.

"Al's retiring and he wanted to fight me, so how could I turn that down?" said Duckworth, who had the reach on Valentine and tagged him with a hard right uppercut, which was his strategy going in. "I'm going to try and keep him on the end of my jab and when he ducks, I'm going to uppercut him. I love him - but I'm going to uppercut him."

Valentine said of his pre-fight strategy, "He's weighing in tonight at 247 and he's 6-3, so I'm most likely going to attack because I'm kind of short compared to him."

The "Mean Machine" turned it on halfway through the second round and Duckworth's head popped out of the ropes. Duckworth had the edge in Round 3 and he won the fight by split decision. Valentine has since said that he wants to fight one more time.

Jack "Jackhammer" Duckworth, 50, a Ketchikan youth counselor, challenged and then defeated comedian and tire technician Dan "Animal" Fink, 31, bringing Fink's record to 11-8-1. "I'm a lot slower than Jack. I knew he was fast but being four years out of the ring really showed tonight," Fink said. "I just wanted to stop him from running and he's really technical."

Duckworth, fighting his last career fight, had the reach on Fink, scoring points by staying on the run, and then tagging him with hard shots and using fancy footwork to escape. Round 2 was more of the same, with Duckworth ducking Fink's shots.

Duckworth started swirling one glove then surprising Fink with the other in round two. Then Fink exploded in the third but it wasn't enough to overcome the reach.

"It was just a way for us to get in shape," said Duckworth, who calls Fink was a good friend.

Duckworth lost 23 pounds for the bout and also just survived tonsil cancer, and he hadn't fought in 5 years.

Fink lost 18 pounds for the bout.

Jack Duckworth's son, 30-year-old Tyson Duckworth, 31-5-1, defeated 24-year-old Alaskan Brewing Company Employee Henry Dehling, 5-4-1, in one of the best matchups of the night.

Dehling attacked early, getting Duckworth to the ground, but he wrestled and gained power over Dehling.

"It felt good. He was real tough, I was real nervous about it but getting the victory was nice because he's what you call nasty tough," Duckworth said.

The fighters put on a good show, but Duckworth had the edge in all three rounds.

"My take down defense needs some work," Dehling said. "Every time I went to throw some strikes, he was just ducking under."

"They both got into good advantages positions and they got stood up, but it was a good fight," said sparring partner and corner man Damien Horvath.

A State of Alaska employee hailing from Sitka, Selina Slack, 26, brought her record to 6-1-1 with her defeat over her cousin, 26-year-old Anita "The Bomber" Durgan, 10-3-2, of Ketchikan.

Slack fought a different cousin her last bout and found out Durgan was her cousin as well.

"I haven't seen her in 15 years and we're both very shocked," said Slack before her win, saying her family saw Durgan's photo and figured it out.

Slack said she fights because "it's about making memories and savoring them."

Slack stayed tough all three rounds, despite the heavy leather blows from "The Bomber."

Experience won over youth when Rudy "No Introduction Needed" Vonda, 45, brought his record to 53-14-3 with a defeat over Sitka's much younger Eric Moy, 18, in a match that had both fighters thinking they won two out of three rounds.

Moy bloodied Vonda's nose in Round 1 and seemed to take that round. Vonda's corner repeatedly yelled "hands up," and then Vonda woke Moy up with a right left combo and the two traded blows to the bell.

Vonda attacked Moy's body in the third round, and made an impact.

"I think I was robbed in the end, but he did a pretty good job in the third round. The body shots really hurt me a bit, but I think I took the first two rounds," said Moy after the bout.

Vonda was on the attack, winning with an edge of sheer determination and domination to the bell.

"I trained hard for a month and in the end, my hard work paid off," Vonda said.

Klawock's Steven Roberts, 19, defeated Romy Yadao, 37, in one of two MMA fights, bringing Robert's record to 3-1-0.

The fighters, evenly matched with a one-pound weight difference, went the distance. Roberts had another come-from-behind win, repeatedly getting Yadao on the ground, but was caught in an arm bar. He recovered and turned the tables, but Yadao was saved by the bell.

Roberts recovered from an unfortunate low blow, and answered by taking Yadao to the mat and breaking out of an arm bar, then delivering a series of kicks to his head. Roberts got Yadao on the ground again and it was over in Round 3.

Tawn Green, 29, weighing 149 pounds and hailing from New Orleans, picked up his first win with his defeat of Logan Henkins, 27, of Juneau. Henkins, now 3-8-0, fights to try and even out his record and "because I need a job."

Henkins was delivered a standing eight count and they stayed pretty even through Round 2. Henkins took a pummeling from Green in Round 3, and was delivered his second standing eight count, but he stayed tough to the end.

The next Roughhouse Boxing will be held April 9.

Fight Card

Tawn Green defeats Logan Henkins

Rudy Vonda defeats Eric Moy

Steven Roberts defeats Romy Yadao

Tyson Duckworth defeats Henry Dehling

Selina Slack defeats Anita "The Bomber" Durgan

Jack "Jackhammer Duckworth" defeats Dan "Animal" Fink

Gabe Steele Duckworth defeats Al "Mean Machine" Valentine

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