Mike Oliver, of Hartford, Connecticut gave the crowd at Mohegan Sun Casino their money’s worth Saturday night in registering an exciting ninth-round stoppage of Castulo Gonzalez, of Wilimington, MA. Oliver, now 12-0 (6 KOs), picked up a regional title in the 122-pound division. Oliver and Gonzalez, 7-2 (3 KOs), both gave a great showing and upstaged the main event that took place afterward, a middleweight attraction between Darnell Boone and Rasheem Brown. It was unfortunate for Boone and Brown that their bout, which was won by Boone, took place after Oliver-Gonzalez. Oliver wowed the crowd with blazing hand speed and dozen-punch combinations so when Boone and Brown appeared in the ring, it was like they were fighting in slow motion. And it didn’t help that the first round of Boone-Brown was a "feeling out" round and the second stanza was a sloppy hug-fest.
A significant portion of the fight crowd left the arena in the early going of Boone-Brown. Oliver, who has on occasion displayed somewhat of an amateur style in the pro game, sat down on his punches more in this fight."I’m not my old self, going out there and throwing a million punches and then getting tired," said Oliver, who has been making adjustments under the tutelage of head trainer and close friend John Scully, who has known Oliver since Oliver was about four years old. Oliver dedicated the win to former amateur coach Johnny Duke, as well as Greg Cuyler and Pepe Vasquez, two boxing buddies from the Hartford area whose lives were recently cut short too early. Oliver, after hurting Gonzalez at the end of the eighth round, ending things in the ninth with a four punch combination to the head.
"I thought he fought a beautiful, well-schooled professional fight," he said. "I mean his amateur experience really came through in this fight because he didn’t look like a guy that just had eleven fights."