Stark Outboxes Oliver
But Loses On Official Scorecards
by Frank Gonzalez Jr.
Friday night in Oklahoma, at the Buffalo Run
Casino, highly regarded Jr. Featherweight prospect Gary Stark Jr. took his
unbeaten 18-0, 8 KO record from ice covered New York to Oklahoma for his best,
‘on paper’ match-up so far against fellow unbeaten, Mike “Machine Gun” Oliver
(17-0-7 KO’s), who trekked it down South without incident from equally cold
In the first round,
Oliver was very aggressive and managed to muscle Stark into the ropes and
let off about eight cannon shots to the body. Stark picked up the pace
after that with some decent shots but not enough to win the round. That
barrage of body shots compliments of Oliver would prove to be the most
defining moment of this 12 round boxing match.
In the second, Oliver was strong and landed often as he pressed Stark to
the ropes. There was some talking going on between the fighters and Stark
landed some good body shots. Between Oliver’s aggression and Stark’s
superior boxing skills, it was a tough round to score. Oliver was a bit
busier if anything.
By the third round, Stark was jabbing and scoring. Oliver continued to try
and muscle Stark to the ropes but that strategy was proving less effective
by the minute. Stark landed cleaner shots, mostly to the body but also
landed a low blow that drew a warning from the referee.
Stark was landing more effectively for most of the rounds that followed,
losing only the seventh and twelfth on my card. There was a slip from
Stark, a trip of Oliver by Stark and a lot of verbal taunting, mostly by
Stark. The ref even told him to stop talking and box. Oliver continued
trying to muscle Stark into the ropes, where he had the best chances to
score. Stark showed good defensive skills and ring generalship against his
By the time the fight was over, I was sure Stark had won the boxing match
with the cleaner punching and better defense. The Judges scores all had
Oliver winning 116-112 twice and 115-113. I had it 116-113 for Gary Stark.
Gary Stark Jr.’s promoter, Lou DiBella is protesting the decision and
asking for a rematch. He says his fighters won’t be fighting in Oklahoma
anytime soon. The gripe is valid. Why the gift decision for Oliver, who is
not even from Oklahoma, is a mystery?
There is one thing that cannot be denied—Oliver was the only one who had a
stellar moment in the fight. That first round barrage to the body was the
most memorable snippet in this match and so; the lesson for Stark is
clear, always do something memorable, something that excites the crowd
against more aggressive fighters. To Mike Oliver’s credit, he gave all he
had and worked hard thorough twelve rounds. A rematch is definitely in
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