Michael Nunn got another notch on his belt Monday night. But the question of whether it is a championship belt he's working on remains unanswered.
His fight with Charles Carter was stopped at 1:56 of the third round of their scheduled 10-round middleweight bout at the Forum because of a deep cut under Carter's left eye. That increased Nunn's record to 13-0, with 10 knockouts.
Just how good is this guy? Is he good enough to be a champion?
Promoter Bob Arum thinks so. He has signed Nunn, who fights out of Ten Goose Boxing in North Hollywood, to an exclusive two-year contract with plans for a title fight in about a year.
But the jury on Nunn is still out for others, and there was little Monday on which to base a verdict. Carter, the Oregon champion and a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic squad, was supposed to provide a real test for Nunn, himself an alternate on the 1984 U.S. squad.
But as fights go, they've had more action here in hockey matches.
For all intents and purposes, this fight ended at 1:11 of the first round when an accidental head butt by Nunn opened the deep cut.
After that, Carter (17-5, 10 KOs) spent as much time facing Dr. Bernhart Schwartz as he did Nunn. The fight was stopped to examine the cut in each of the three rounds.
And even when Carter was given approval to continue boxing, he chose to wrestle instead, tying Nunn in clinches and head locks time and again.
When it was over, the Forum crowd of 4,300 booed the lack of action.
"I have never in my life been in a fight like this," Nunn said. "He didn't want to perform. Michael Nunn was ready to fight. I was going to wear him down and knock him out."
Nunn shrugged off the butt. "He was the one leading with his head," Nunn said, "not me."
Carter said that Ken Davis wanted to stop the fight in the first round, but he convinced the referee to keep it going.
"I hoped once I got warmed up, I could get him with my right hand," Carter said of Nunn.
He never got a chance.
For Nunn, it's just another brief stop on his impressive fight-of-the-month tour that includes a two-round knockout over Rocky Granillo in January at Reseda's Country Club, and an upcoming battle March 9 in Las Vegas against Carl Jones (19-1).
In a preliminary fight Monday night, Kenny Mitchell (15-5-2) of New York shocked Tony Montoya of Salt Lake City at 2:25 of the first round of their scheduled 10-round bantamweight tournament bout with a left hand that knocked Montoya senseless. It was Montoya's first loss, dropping his record to 15-1-1.
In another of Monday night's fights, light heavyweight Glen Kennedy of Covina boosted his mark to 11-3 with a unanimous six-round decision over Art Jimmerson of Los Angeles. It was Jimmerson's first loss after five professional victories.
Super-bantamweights Paul Lucas (10-0-1) of Honolulu and Jorge Diaz (14-2-1) of Mexico fought to an eight-round draw; middleweight Mark Quigley (2-0) of Pasadena won a unanimous four-round decision over Adam Orozco (2-5) of Chino; junior middleweight Antonio Byrd of Pomona won a unanimous four-round decision in his pro debut over Ruben Blackwell (1-1-1) of Los Angeles; and Jesus Salud of Honolulu remained unbeaten at 19-0 with 12 knockouts when he scored a TKO over Mike Phelps (21-1-1) of Galena Park, Tex., in the 10th and final round of their bantamweight fight.