31.08.06 – By James Slater: He’d be the first to admit he’s far from the most naturally gifted Heavyweight fighting today, but New York’s Vinnie Maddalone (photo © starboxing.com) is certainly the most consistently exciting big guy boxing in today’s heavyweight division. Boxing News, the trade paper for the sport in England, recently called Vinnie, “The closest real life similarity to Rocky Balboa.” That about sums up the tough and gutsy New Yorker. As does his most compelling fight to date. In an August, 2005 match with Shannon Miller, who was undefeated at the time, though also far from active, having spread out his eleven wins over thirteen years, the fans got to see the quintessential Vinnie Maddalone. His defensive shortcomings were exposed once again, but his punching power, determination and sheer grit allowed him to win in five amazing rounds. The comparison to Stallone’s creation is indeed an apt one. Along with the silver screen’s infamous brawler, Vinnie certainly has his limitations as far as skills go. But he has absolutely no shortage of heart and bravery. As such, he is one of today’s genuine crowd pleasers. A world title may never be his, but it sure would be fun seeing him get the chance to fight for one. Without a doubt, Maddalone would go all out in an attempt to shock the odds. There was talk, some time back, of a fight with Shannon Briggs. But Vinnie, wanting instead to try and avenge his loss to Brian Minto, opted for a return bout with him instead..
The first fight with Minto, in 2004, was another in a number of thrilling and memorable fights from Maddalone’s action-packed career. He lost, after having his share of successful moments in a back and forth classic, and the match delighted the fans. It was no surprise then, that the thirty-two year old opted to fight the first man to defeat him inside the distance for a second time. The return, fought in October last year, wasn’t quite as good – for either Vinnie or the fans – as he was battered into submission in seven rounds of a more one-sided affair. In the original, in which Maddalone was eventually stopped in the tenth round, the action had been close and ultra-competitive all the way. This wasn’t the case in fight two, however. Not to let the setback bother him, Vinnie was back in action in June the following year. He put another win on his record with a routine second round KO over club-fighter Dan Whetzel. Then, in his last fight, on August the 18th, Vinnie went back to doing what he does best – namely electrifying his fans with good, honest, value for money slugfests.
In another mini-classic, Maddalone dug deep and out pointed the determined Jermell Barnes in a gruelling ten rounder. Badly cut, Vinnie bit down on his gum-shield and fought his heart out once more. He prevailed with a very close, yet well earned majority decision. This win keeps his boxing ambitions alive, and though a considerable ring absence will be necessary due to the bad cut Vinnie suffered, he will be straining at the leash for his next bout.
One gets the impression that, despite his talent deficiencies, Maddalone loves to fight. What I do know for certain is the fact that we fans love watching him when he does. A nicer and more down to earth guy you couldn’t wish to meet, Vinnie deserves at least the chance to try and emulate the odds defying achievement his cinematic equivalent managed to pull off.
If he does get that far, rest assured Vinnie will give it absolutely everything he has in an effort to make his ultimate dream a reality.