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Nunn Rises in the East as He Defeats Tinley on Points

September 20, 1986|STEVE SPRINGER | Times Staff Writer

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — According to his record, North Hollywood middleweight Michael Nunn had beaten everybody he had faced.

According to some of his critics, he hadn't really beaten anybody.

Beat a good fighter, they said. Beat a tough East Coast fighter. Beat a Mike Tinley, said some of the non-believers.

Friday night, Nunn made a believer out of at least one of his critics: Mike Tinley.

Nunn dominated Tinley (19-4-1, seven knockouts) to win a unanimous 10-round decision Friday night at the Resorts International Hotel-Casino, lifting his record to 18-0 with 11 knockouts. There were no knockdowns.

And when it was over, Tinley, a two-time conquerer of top middleweight contender Robbie Sims, could only shake his head at his futile efforts to stop Nunn.

"He fought a damn good fight," Tinley said. "I wasn't sharp enough to cut off the ring against him. I can't take nothing away from Nunn. I was coming off a long layoff and going in against a good fighter and I just couldn't catch up to him. He was in damn great shape."

Tinley, 26, hadn't fought since losing a close decision to Iran Barkley last December in New York. The rust showed as Tinley missed one punch after another, some by an embarrassing distance.

But Nunn will do that to you. His backpedaling style, dodging head movements and consistently dancing feet have left most of his opponents gasping for air while they tried to figure out where the heck he went. Some of them have looked like they were trying to swat a fly with a hammer.

The question was, were they that bad or was Nunn, ranked No. 10 by the World Boxing Assn., that good?

Tinley, who had been rated as high as 10th by the World Boxing Council and sixth in the International Boxing Federation rankings before losing to Barkley, was to be the perfect test.

Nunn passed easily on two of the three judges' cards. Lynn Carter scored it 8-1-1. Ron Burns had it 9-1.

The third judge, Rich Murray, scored it 6-4 for Nunn. He either had to be subtracting points for lack of aggressiveness by Nunn in the closing rounds when he did more dancing than punching, or Murray had to be watching another fight.

The 6-2 Nunn, who weighed 161 pounds, enjoyed a three-inch height advantage over Tinley, who weighed 160 3/4. And Nunn's 76-inch reach gave him a four-inch advantage over Tinley. He used both from the start.

Part of the criticism of Nunn in the past has been due to his lack of aggressiveness and punching power. That was another reason Tinley, who lives in nearby Camden, was supposed to provide a good yardstick. He is a smart, effective boxer who planned to pursue Nunn and attack his body.

He never got to the body.

Starting in the second round, Nunn became the aggressor, daring Tinley at one point to stand in front of him. Nunn hit him repeatedly with effective jabs, overhand lefts and left hooks.

It was only in the closing rounds, when a cramp in his right leg started bothering him, that Nunn got back on his bicycle and pedaled away, leaving a frustrated Tinley swinging at the smokey air.

If a question remains now about the 23-year-old Nunn, it would be his knockout power. He has knocked out only one of his last 10 opponents and never appeared to hurt Tinley.

"My punching power is going to fall into place along with everything else," Nunn said. "I would have liked to have done more the last few rounds. I'm going to get better with time.

"Tinley was a good fighter. He did what he wanted to do, but so did I. The East Coast fighters are supposed to be better. I proved that Michael Nunn can come to the East Coast and win."

Said Nunn's manager, Dan Goossen, of his fighter: "He's getting better. Tinley was tough, but Michael controlled him.

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