Sergeant fights hard, can't win war

Posted: April 07, 2007

He had just endured his toughest night as a professional boxer, but Army Sgt. Sam Brown figured it could be worse - a lot worse.

Three rounds at the Blue Horizon is not nearly as dangerous as three tours of duty in Iraq.

"I took a step up [in class]," Brown (3-2), who is stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., said after he was stopped in the third round of his scheduled four-round heavyweight bout by Mark "Oak Tree" Brown (9-1, 4 KOs), of Salem, N.J. "The guy was 8-1, but, I figured, what the hell. Just go in there and give it my best shot."

Brown, 33, is a 14-year Army veteran and father of two, with a third child on the way. He has been to Iraq twice and his unit, the 101st Sustainment Brigade, is awaiting deployment for a third tour, something he admits he isn't looking forward to. But he has 5 1/2 years to go before he gets his 20 years in and can retire and, besides, he's a soldier. He goes where he's ordered to go.

Taking your opponent's best shot in the ring is not the same as taking it in combat. Even though Brown said U.S. troops are much better equipped now than they were on his first tour of duty, he said the enemy also has stepped up.

"The first time we rode around in regular Humvees, with soft tops - no armor," he said. "We have armored vehicles now, but the other side got smarter, not dumber. They know we have armored vehicles now, so they got armor-piercing rounds. We're losing as many people as we did before.

"There's only so much you can do over there. Morale is lower, I think. You go into the mess hall and the guy you ate with yesterday isn't around anymore."

Mark Brown (no relation) - his nickname derives from a huge oak tree under which the British and Native Americans signed a pre-Revolutionary war - was simply stronger than the sarge with the same surname, bulling his way inside and pounding away to the body. Sam Brown went down in the third round prior to referee Steve Smoger stepped in and stopped it, but he said that was just tactics.

"I took a knee to take a breather," he said. "I wasn't hurt, but my conditioning wasn't right."

Oddly enough, Mark Brown's victory was his second straight over another Brown. He scored a unanimous, four-round decision over Charles Brown on Jan. 26 at the National Guard Armory in Northeast Philadelphia.

In the main event, rising heavyweight prospect Chazz Witherspoon (17-0, 11 KOs) floored Charles Davis (17-13-1, 4 KOs), of Tucson, Ariz., three times before Smoger waved it off 18 seconds into the seventh round of the scheduled eigtht-rounder.

The co-featured bout was something of a snoozer, light-heavyweight Max Alexander (14-0-1, 2 KOs), of Camden, playing matador to the bull played by charging, clumsy Demetrius Jenkins (21-15-1, 16 KOs). Alexander, a southpaw who won a unanimous, six-round decision, claimed he broke his left hand in an early round, which might have accounted for his cautious approach.

In other bouts, light-heavyweight Chucky Cavallo (14-0, 4 KOs), of Trenton, was credited with a fourth-round technical knockout when Mike Word (4-8-3, 4 KOs), of Milwaukee, did not come out for the fifth round. Junior welterweight Elad "The Kosher Pit Bull" Shmouel (17-1, 8 KOs), of Israel, won a unanimous, six-round decision over Jason Jordan (3-7-2), of Akron, Ohio, and middleweight Simon O'Donnell (4-0, 2 KOs), Ireland, registered a unanimous, four-round decision over Joe Christy (7-11-1, 2 KOs), of South Philly. *

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