It took 45 minutes to resolve a problem with the gloves for the main event at the Pikesville Armory last night, but nothing could spoil Vincent Pettway's overpowering performance as the IBF junior middleweight title contender from Baltimore handed Aaron Smith, of Gaithersburg, the first knockout loss of his 21-bout career.
Pettway (35-4), looking surprisingly sharp after his seven-month absence from the ring, dominated the fight before dropping Smith with a four-punch combination late in the sixth round.
Smith (10-11), who had used his awkward boxing style and sturdy chin to survive the early battering, made no effort to rise, shaking his head in a show of surrender as referee Chris Wollenson counted him out at 2:48 of the round.
Now waiting to challenge the winner of the Oct. 16 International Boxing Federation title match between champion Gianfranco Rosi of Italy and Gilbert Dale of France, Pettway, 26, had good reason to be proud of his effort before an estimated crowd of 500.
He seemed to have Smith in serious trouble in the third round when he rocked his slender rival with hooks and overhand rights, but Pettway revealed later that he damaged his left thumb in that round.
Meanwhile, Smith sustained a cut over his left eye and what appeared to be a broken jaw in the third round.
"The way Smith kept turning his shoulder into me, I couldn't really nail him with a right hand," Pettway said. "So I used my jab to set up the left hook, and that's what did most of the damage.
"After being out for so long, I was surprised by the accuracy of my punches. The gym work really helped me, but I don't want to wait this long before fighting again."
Glen Burnie lightweight Chuck Sturm (24-3-1) continued to show progress after his 18-month layoff, stopping Horace Waterson (5-8-1) at 1:49 of the fourth round of their scheduled eight-round semifinal bout.
Sturm, who has won all three of his bouts since returning to action this year, slowed his left-handed rival with several body shots in the third round after Waterson had used light combinations to keep the fight even in the first two rounds.
Laurel heavyweight Thomas Williams made a successful pro debut, proving too fast and busy for stalking Mike Whitfield (2-2) of Baltimore in the opening four-round bout.
Local junior welterweight Ed Griffin (2-0), a gifted, young pro, won all the exchanges and shook Glenn Randolf (3-7) of Laurel several times in their lively four-round bout.
After two rounds of beating a steady retreat against unbeaten Wade Duncan of Baltimore, Hyattsville's Elvis DeLoatch quit in his corner before the start of the third round.