Forgotten Classics: Rocky Gannon vs Dominick Carter

By: Steve Gallegos

Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, USA Network’s Tuesday Night Fights series provided lots of thrills for boxing fans. It was a spring board for future world champions on their way up as well as a showcase for some of the top fighters in the sport. There were many “Remarkable Rounds” and one of those rounds was a one round war between two light heavyweight sluggers in Rocky Gannon and Dominick Carter.

RichardRockyGannon was a very exciting, fun loving brawler who sported a blonde crew cut as well as American flag styled trunks. He got his start in boxing after successfully competing in the “Tough Man” competition. He loved to get into the ring and slug  it out with his opponents, many times tasting the canvas as well as knocking his opponents down and out. He would go 26-5-0 with 19 KO’s from 1991-1996, including some big wins over former world champion Iran Barkley and former world title challenger Thomas Tate. In 1996, he also claimed two minor world titles in both the IBC and IBA light heavyweight championships.

Dominick Carter was another tough slugger who loved to give and take while inside the ring. He began boxing professionally in 1986 and would go 23-4-0 with 12 KO’s from 1986-1996. He was hungry for the spotlight and a world title when he met up with Rocky Gannon. Gannon and Carter met on 12/10/96 in front of a loud, packed house in Corpus Christi, TX and it was televised on USA’s Tuesday Night Fights. Al Albert and Sean O’Grady both said prior the bout that this fight had B-R-A-W-L written all over it.  There was little respect for one another coming into the fight. Gannon, who was known for his exciting, brawling style, said that he was going to box more and avoid brawls. He said that his fighting style aggravated his parents whenever they saw him fight.

Gannon came into the fight as the IBA light heavyweight champion as well as top 20 ranking by the WBC. He also came into the fight with a new slogan, “I’m Your Huckleberry”. Gannon describes his slogan as “I am the thorn in your side. You have to get through me to get anywhere and you’re not gonna do it”. Carter didn’t buy into the notion that Gannon was going to box and believed that he was going to be right there to be hit. He also said that he was so easy to hit, that Ray Charles could hit him.

In the opening seconds of the bout, Gannon dropped Carter with a terrific left hook and also hit him while he was down. Referee Laurence Cole gave Carter a count and after Carter got up and Cole said box, he then called time and took a point away from Gannon for hitting Carter while he was down. The two fighters immediately began slugging it out, trading hard shots for the next minute or so. With 1:15 left in the first round, Laurence Cole called time again and unusually took a point from Carter. Cole wasn’t clear what his reason for the point deduction and the action resumed. Moments later, Carter put Gannon on the canvas with a flurry of punches. Gannon got up and was upset with himself for letting himself get into another slugfest.

The two fighters immediately began slugging and Carter sent Gannon reeling into the corner with another flurry of punches  and landed a right hand to end the exchange. Laurence Cole stepped in and stopped the bout, earning Dominick Carter a first round TKO victory and the IBA light heavyweight title.

Gannon, protested the stoppage, believing it was premature and that he wasn’t hurt. While the stoppage was early, it was great fight for as long as it lasted and a rematch was evident. Gannon said that he would fight Carter tomorrow if he could. It was a Tuesday Night Fight’s “Magnificent Round” and one of the top five rounds in Tuesday Night Fight’s history.

Gannon and Carter met again just three months later at Casino Magic in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi on Tuesday Night Fights. It was another exiciting fight and Gannon would get his revenge by scoring a fifth round TKO. Gannon would go 3-5 in his next 8 bouts, some of them bouts being bloody slugfests. He would retire in 2001 with a record of 30-11 with 23 KO’s. Carter would go 6-4 over the next three years and would make a brief comeback in 2010; however the comeback was shortlived as he lost via second round KO. Gannon and Carter were two brawlers that gave it their all each time they stepped in the ring and they provided three minutes of all out warfare in one of boxing’s ‘Forgotten Classics“.

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