Sims gives his all up to final bell At 32, he decides to stop boxing


September 26, 1993|By PAT O'MALLEY

In sports, especially boxing, time strikes the hardest blow, and for gutsy Cecil Sims, time is up.

Jake "The Snake" Smith's jubilation at winning the Hammer Promotions Maryland super middleweight championship belt at La Fontaine Bleu in Glen Burnie on Thursday night pales only in comparison to the farewell of Sims.

While Smith (9-3-1) dominated the bout and celebrated afterward by jumping on the ropes and inviting his mom in the ring for a big hug as he accepted the championship belt, Sims took the long walk back to the dressing room for the last time.

At age 32 and with a record of 5-15-1, Sims faced reality as Smith, a graduate of Meade High, scored a technical knockout at 2:22 of the fourth round of their scheduled six-round bout.

"I retired and am getting out being able to say that I have not been seriously hurt," said Sims before embracing his former trainer, Frank Gilbert of Loch Raven.

Sims became a mainstay at local shows in Glen Burnie and Baltimore, but his skills waned and the losses piled up. But unlike many in boxing who go through the motions, Sims displayed a competitive pride. There were nights when we all wondered how he took the punches he did and kept coming back for more.

There were nights when some of us feared for his safety, yet just when you would think he was out, he would reach within and bounce back. The guy trained hard and always answered the bell.

Sims' decision to retire was the right decision, but it's also a painful one for those of us who admire fierce competitors.

It's a shame that Sims did not possess the skills to match his heart. In terms of heart, desire and class, Sims retires a world champion.

The Smith-Sims fight was one of three Hammer Promotions Maryland title bouts promoted by Bob Ryan of Potomac. Unsanctioned by the Maryland State Athletic Commission, the gold title belts offered an added incentive and proved a novel idea.

Ryan, a telecommunications expert from Potomac who visits Russia once a month, has promoted amateur and pro shows in Prince George's County and the Washington area for the last decade. Anne Arundel County is virgin territory to him, but despite a turnout of fewer than 400 Thursday, he is optimistic he can draw fans at future shows.

"We're going to give it a good shot and are considering going to the dinner-boxing concept in the future," said Ryan.

Ryan and the Cliff "The Hammer" McPherson of Glen Burnie are partners in the new group, which is competing with Round One Promotions of Josh Hall and Victoria Savaliski.

McPherson (4-6-2) was also part of the show and won one of the belts with an eight-round split decision over Carlton West (9-23) for the light heavyweight (175 pounds) title. McPherson dedicated the bout to his wife, Karen, for standing by him in his pro boxing and pro kick-boxing careers. He is an IKF light heavyweight champion in kick boxing.

Pasadena's Butch "The Bounty Hunter" Kelly (8-11) was a third local boxer to win a belt, taking the Maryland cruiserweight (178) title with a unanimous eight-round decision over Baltimore's John "King Bee" Keys (7-18-1).

Two other Glen Burnie boxers also won fights in Mark "Ice Man" Owens, a kick boxer, and Jeff Passero (18-7-1). Owens took his pro super middleweight debut with a third-round TKO of Detroit's Tim McQuater.

Passero, 34, a 140-pound fighter, was victorious after a 10-year layoff, scoring a majority decision over Washington's Ed Holley (1-2).

Ryan and McPherson have three title fights among 12 amateur kick-boxing bouts scheduled for Thursday at Michael's Eighth Avenue. They will conduct their next pro boxing show Oct. 21 at Teamsters' Hall in Baltimore. Call (410) 766-0363.

The Hall/Savaliski duo have set Nov. 4 for their next dinner/boxing show at Michael's Eighth Avenue featuring Lou Duva-trained heavyweight Thomas Williams (5-0) against Warren "Chico" Thompson of Baltimore.

Newcomers Alfonzo Daniels and Bobby Haarhoff, who are trained by Crofton's Jeff Novotny, and Sugar Boy Chew of Annapolis will box on the undercard. Call (410) 760-2699.

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