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Howes, Howard both score decisive victories

Marin Independent Journal | May 23, 2001
By Dave Albee

SAN FRANCISCO – People were getting off work and ordering beer and wine and food. There was a DJ in the corner and girls were sitting around everywhere looking to dance and unwind. The place was packed yet pensive.

At the beginning, in the late afternoon yesterday, “On The Waterfront” looked like your average “Happy Hour.” At the end, the boxing extravaganza was better than that. It couldn't have been any happier for Susan Howard and Peter Howes and a standing room only crowd of more than 2,500 at Pier 32.

Howard, from Novato, celebrated her lightweight victory with her trainer, Andy Nance of Marinwood, and friends from the Novato Boxing Club in private in her dressing room, which was actually a tent. Howard put a girl named Bambi in her place.

Howes, a graduate of Redwood High School who learned boxing from Jack MacPhee in San Rafael, basked in the glow of his newfound success at ringside with the honorable Willie Brown and the mayor's bodyguards. Howes, the event's promoter, put San Francisco back on the boxing map.

“He put on a good show,” said Paul Nave, the retired former junior welterweight champion from San Rafael. “It gives him a chance at the big time.”

Four years after he first promoted a fight card featuring Nave at the Longshoreman's Hall, Howes put together a knockout event – “On The Waterfront” – under a pitched tent on Pier 32, site of the Summer XGames. He treated it like a big top. The event had style – everything from fashion models to a mariachi band – and substance in the form of hard-hitting action, the perfect ratings-winner combination for ESPN 2, which televised the first three fights live.

The first one, which started at 6 p.m., ended with an explosive technical knockout in the third round. The second one was a highly entertaining six-round bout won by undefeated 24-year-old Jaoquin “Killer” Gallardo of San Leandro, who beat Jose Luis Montes, who wiggled his behind in the ring better than he used his fists. And the third fight – a heavyweight bout between a couple of no-nonsense power-punchers – had the crowd on its feet after the second round. That’s when Robert Davis got nailed by a Terrance Lewis roundhouse right and fell forward to the canvas, knocking Lewis over like a bowling pin on the way down.

Lewis eventually knocked Davis out for good in the ninth round, much to the delight of the audience which included a former 49er (R.C. Owens), a former 49ers quarterback (Steve Bono) and a former 49ers quarterback's father (Joe Montana's dad) in the front row.

The 238-pound Lewis leaped to the top of the ropes and pounded his chest, but Howes was probably the biggest winner, overall. His behind-the-scenes managing produced three thoroughly action-packed bouts for the two hours ESPN2 was on the air live.

“This is a warm-up, baby,” Howes said “This is a warm-up.”'

Warming up is something Howard did a lot of yesterday. She was originally scheduled to be in the second bout of the event, the fight before the main event, but she was pushed back. Howard and Nance had arrived at Pier 32 at 3 p.m., but they didn’t climb into the ring until after 8.

“It was very aggravating,” said Howard, who spent most of the idle time in the 10-by-25-foot tent compartment assigned to her, right next to the changing area for models and ring girls. “I was like a caged animal.”

That was bad news for Howard's opponent, Bambi Bertoncello, a model from Bellevue, Wash., in their four-round bout. Howard whipped her so bad in the first three rounds, the 37-year-old Novato boxer confidently raiser her arms as if victorious en route to her corner before the final round. Howard then came out and bloodied Bambi's nose in the opening minute of the last round, wiping a cute smile off Bambi's face.

The only drawback to Howard's majority decision – other than one judge had the audacity to score the fight a draw – is that ESPN2 signed off on the event before Howard entered the ring. She wasn’t on television.

“I don’t think she knew,” Nance said.

“I don’t care,” Howard said. “I won.”

So did Howes. he’s working on a Bruisin' Susan vs. Bambi rematch for his next fight card on Sept. 14 at the Civic Auditorium, a sequel to “On The Waterfront”. In the 1954 movie “On The Waterfront,” Marlon Brando was a washed-up, ex-boxer lamenting that he “coulda been a contender.” In the boxing event “On The Waterfront,” Howard and Howes proved to be quite the opposite.

They're still contenders. For the big time.