An evening dedicated to Say Yes to Kids ended with a bang when Rich Haskins said hello to Chris McInerney’s right hand.
The 12th annual Pi Kappa Alpha Fight Night, held Friday at the Events Center, raised about $6,000 for the Say Yes to Kids program, a Santa Barbara-based youth boxing program. Pike member and event coordinator Bill London said not all tickets had been counted, but estimated the event drew around 3,500 people.
McInerney’s second-round knockout with a solid right cross to Haskins’ jaw drew the biggest cheer of the night aside from the half-dozen half-dressed ring girls who danced between rounds. The match was the last of 11 fights on the night, two being special “Ultimate Fighting” matches presented by the Santa Barbara Martial Arts Academy.
“I think they put a stiff in there with a good fighter in the last fight so everyone would leave happy,” UC Santa Cruz student Aaron Marvi said. “He got knocked smooth out.”
Haskins, who weighed in at 206 pounds, was still seated on the canvas as the crowd filed out of the building.
The victory for 201-pound McInerney was redemption for his Sigma Chi brethren, who endured taunts from fighter Chris Cope after Cope beat Sigma Chi’s Andy Hansen in a decision in the fifth fight. Many people in Sigma Chi’s five-row group traded middle finger gestures with Cope, all to the delight of the Pi Kappa Alpha contingent seated directly across the ring.
The crowd also got rowdy before the first main event, which pitted Pike’s Kevin Barger against Sigma Nu’s Zack “Attack” Calig in a matchup of 153-pounders. The black-shirted mass of Pikes rose to boo and make thumbs-down gestures while Calig was introduced. Barger won in a unanimous decision.
The ring, gloves, headgear and judges for the event were provided by Primo Boxing gym, an affiliate of the Say Yes to Kids program. The Primo judges’ decisions proved there was no bias in favor of the Primo fighters, London said, as all three lost their bouts in decisions.
Other crowd-pleasers included a second-round knockout in the sixth fight by Henry Calles of State Street Boxing, who sent Richie Robnett into the ropes and onto the canvas with a flurry of punches, and 189-pound Jose “The Mexican Assasin” Maganda, who launched uppercuts from a low crouch to knock down Tony “Tetelastai” Muna in the first round of the seventh fight and win an eventual decision.
The heavyweight bout between 222-pound Jeremy “The Bear” Webber and 219-pound Ricky Lee was a disappointment as both fighters appeared exhausted by the end of the first round.
For the most part, however, the crowd remained entertained from start to finish.
“Starting the night with Ultimate Fighting really jumpstarted everything and got people excited,” London said. “And it was good that it ended with a big knockout.”
Some students still offered suggestions for improvement.
“It may have dragged on a little long,” junior political science major Blake Stok said. “They should have fewer fights and more ring girls.”