Our man Vinny Maddalone, you might remember, has been on a final run.
He's been in a last bid to get over that proverbial blasted hump and get that long-desired title shot. When he hangs up the gloves, he can know that he at the least made it to the promised land, even if perhaps he was stopped at the gates.
Well, that climax might not be in the cards for the Queens-based boxer, who went in against Brit contender Tyson Fury on Saturday night in Engalnd, and was stopped in the fifth round.
The WBO Intercontinental title was up for grabs, and no, that's not one of the coveted crowns. But a win here could have put Maddalone in the mix, perhaps, for a title crack at maybe Alexander Povetkin, the WBO heavyweight champion.
It didn't go as he would've liked, though. The 6-9 24-year-old Fury, on the short list of future foes for the Klitschko brothers, buzzed Maddlone in the first, and the Queensman was never able to get untracked. He ate leather in the fourth and a bad cut under his left eye opened up. The New Yorker came off his stool for the fifth, to applause from fans at Hand Arena in Somerset, England impressed with his heart. He kept winging shots, when he could. But he didn't have enough in the tank to do more than cover up and throw the odd desperation overhand right. The ref saw enough midway through the round, and you know he made the right call, because Maddalone didn't protest. He knew he was cooked.
I asked his promoter Joe DeGuardia on Monday afternoon, is that it for Vinny? At age 38, a pro since 1999, with his legacy as a fan-friendly bomber intact, should Maddalone hang up the gloves?
"I will talk to him later this week," said DeGuardia, who has promoted Maddalone the whole way through. "He's a good guy. We'll make sure we'll do the right thing."
I pressed, curious if he'd lobby for him to step away. (I have to note, a promoter is in a difficult place. If he advises a client, like a Maddalone, to walk away, he is taking money out of his own pocket, because that part of his stable is now absent.)
DeGuardia, an attorney who formerly worked as a prosecutor, responded that we don't tell lawyers or judges who are over the hill to exit their field. Yes, I said, but those guys don't eat punches for a living. DeGuardia agreed, but noted that lawyers and judges who have lost it impact others with their subpar work, while a fighter does damage only, by and large, to himself.
DeGuardia firmly told me, to his credit, that whichever way he feels about the subject, he will sit down with Maddalone, and convey it to him.
Far be it from me to read between the lines .. but, if I may ... If Maddalone showed a bit more against Fury, I think I might have heard that from his promoter. DeGuardia didn't point out any elements, beyond Maddalone's immense heart, which were in evidence Saturday. My guess is he might offer his opinion that Vinny leave his record at 35-8.
I have been tending to lobby fighters less and less to leave. It is easy for me to sit on the sidelines and opine that a Maddalone, or a Roy Jones should walk away. But fighting is in their blood, their heart, and every bone in their body. It isn't so easy to leave the stage.