Joe Gardner prefers brains over brawn
By Special Report on Doghouse Boxing (March 3, 2011)
BOSTON (March 3, 2011) – New England light heavyweight champion Joe Gardner has yet to let an overzealous opponent get the best of him in his return to the ring, and he’s not about to let “Irish” Joey McCreedy’s bold prediction faze him, either.

“According to him, I should stop training since I won’t make it past the third,” Gardner said in response to McCreedy’s prediction of a knockout within three rounds. “It seems like he’s worked more on his talking than his boxing.”

Gardner (7-1-1, 1 KO), of Woonsocket, R.I., will defend his title against McCreedy (11-5-2, 6 KOs) on Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 in the eight-round main event of Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports’ “Boxing At The Royale” show, a special, pre-St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Royale in downtown Boston (formerly known as The Roxy).

The six-round co-feature is a rubber match between EBA welterweight champion Sean Eklund (8-4, 1 KO) of Lowell, Mass. – the nephew of Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund, the inspirations behind the Academy Award-winning film, “The Fighter” – and Pawtucket, R.I., native Eddie “The Puerto Rican Sensation” Soto (12-2, 4 KOs). The two originally fought in February of 2009 with Soto winning a disputed split decision before Eklund won the belt this past March with a unanimous-decision victory.

“Boxing At The Royale” also features a four-round intrastate showdown between junior middleweight Derek Silveira (3-0, 1 KO) of Salem, Mass., and Jose Angel Ortiz (3-6-1) of Springfield. Roxbury, Mass., super middleweight Maceo Crowder (2-0, 1 KO); female welterweight Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes (4-1, 1 KO) of Marshfield and New Bedford junior welterweight Johnathan Vazquez (3-0, 3 KOs) will fight in separate four-round bouts.

Training out of Lowell with Ward and Eklund in his corner, McCreedy is back in the ring following an eight-month layoff and promises to showcase a new style in an attempt to spoil Gardner’s first title defense – one that includes more jabbing, among other changes. Gardner is skeptical of McCreedy’s ability to adapt.

“It takes years to change the way you fight,” Gardner said. “He’s going to come out with a jab for a few minutes, and then he’ll turn right back into a sloppy bull again, running into my punches.

“I’m working on what’s always worked for me – staying away and landing my shots. He’s in for a long night. Hey, I hope he [wears himself out] in three rounds. Then I’ll have a chance to put him out. I’m going to stay on the outside and fight smart. I won’t trade too much with him. I’ll make him chase me. He always walks right into everyone. There’s no way he’s going to change that tendency in one fight.”

Although the two have different styles in the ring, Gardner can certainly relate to the challenges McCreedy will face following a long layoff. Gardner recently returned in May following a seven-year stretch between fights. He lost his comeback fight to Eastern Boxing Association (EBA) super middleweight champion Vladine Biosse of Providence, R.I., and has won three in a row since then, including his unanimous-decision victory over Keith Kozlin on Nov. 12 for the N.E. title.

After dealing with person problems outside of the ring – along with a slew of nagging injuries – Gardner, 35, decided to return while he still had something left in the tank.

“Obviously, I do,” he said.

Working with trainer Bob Moreau of the Woonsocket Boxing Club, Gardner now considers himself a smarter fighter than he was in his mid-20s. He’s also pain-free for the first time in his career, which has kept his conditioning up to par.

“I see things a lot better than I used to,” Gardner said. “I see what guys are setting up. I can read their tendencies. I read how they react to me and I work off that. I didn’t have that when I was young. I more or less tried to go forward and knock people out.

“The layoff made me more of a thinking fighter,” he added. “I work on fighting a smart fight all the time. I try to make the other guy his own worst enemy.”

The strategy worked to perfection against Kozlin, and Gardner is predicting a similar outcome March 16th.

“[Kozlin] was so aggressive that he wasn’t getting his punches off. All he wanted was the knockout blow,” Gardner said. “I kept popping him and moving around. He thought the same thing [McCreedy is thinking] – he’d get me out of there early. If Joe is planning on a three-round fight, he’s in trouble.”

Tickets for “Boxing At The Royale,” located at 279 Tremont Street in Boston, are $40.00, $50.00 (ringside) and $75.00 (stage seating for groups of 10 only) and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254 or online at For more information on “Boxing At The Royale,” visit or Doors open at 6 p.m., with the first bout scheduled for 7 p.m.

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