Pettaway, Bates fight could become reality
HUNTINGTON -- The West Virginia heavyweight boxing title is vacant.
How about Jason Pettaway of Huntington vs. Jeremy Bates for the Mountain State crown?
Bates, who is from Ashland, attended the 24th Tri-State Original Toughman Contest on Saturday night at Big Sandy Superstore Arena. He saw Pettway improve to 11-0 with a second-round knockout against Juan Robles from Waynewboro, Va., in the professional feature bout.
After the fight, Bates was called into the ring by promoter Jerry Thomas and made it known to him and Pettaway that he'd like to make that title fight a reality.
"I want to. If the money's right," Bates said. "Jason's a crowd favorite. I think it would go."
"Would I? Yes indeed," Pettaway said. "I want a belt."
Pettaway (8 KOs) took some shots from Robles (12-4, 5 KOs) early in the first round. The Huntington fighter turned the tide later in the round and dominated action in the second round. The end came at 2:28 when he sent Robles to the canvas with a straight right to the head.
Bates (23-17-1, 19 KOs according to BoxRec) last fought on July 30, 2011 and beat Justin Riegle in Cannonsburg, Ky. Bates, 38 and a former Tri-State Golden Gloves champion, has fought in Germany, Poland, Las Vegas, Detroit and Miami in addition to being a popular atraction at home.
"I have nothing but respect for Jason," said Bates, who was stopped by Evander Holyfield in the second round in Dallas in 2006. "I've trained, come to West Virginia and beat numerous fighters. I'd like to come across the river and do it again."
Robles attempted to take it to Pettaway early, but the plan didn't work.
"My timing was off early," Pettaway said. "I wanted to feel him out. I wasn't aggressive enough and he came after me. We got inside and I could hear him breathing harder. That's when I knew I had to turn it up."
Pettaway, 31, said he wants to have his next fight in March.
Pettaway also thanked the fans for their support Saturday night and during his career.
"It's great to see that support from your hometown," he said. "It drives me and motivates me."Source: www.herald-dispatch.com/sports/x962049102/Pettaway-Bates-fight-could-become-reality
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