Hays Promotion


The boxing match July 27 in Hays, Montana will rank with the Jack Dempsey -Tommy Gibbons bout in Shelby as one of the more interesting fights in Montana history. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong: No cell phone reception in this corner of Montana; few fighters knew where the weigh-in was or at what time; the nearest hotel and restaurant was 30 miles distant and down 7 miles of dirt road; no contact information; no one knew where they were staying; thunder, lightning, and cloudbursts erupted all afternoon and drenched the field where the event was held; the fights were scheduled to start at 5:30 but did not get underway until after 9:pm; because it became too dark to see several shop lights were scrounged us and duct-taped to the ring posts; fighters for 3 of the pro fights were no-shows; of the 3 remaining pro fights one opponent changed his mind and scurried back to Canada and main event fighter refused to fight because his opponent, Patrick Ferguson, who got lost, did not show up for the weigh-in. On the plus side, everyone in Hayes, including the promoter, was delightful and did their best to hold the event. For any successful event several things must be put in place before a fight:


  1. Every fighter must have at least two contact numbers. (few people had any contact numbers)
  2. There must be cell phone service. (there is no cell phone service in this part of Montana)
  3. Every fighter needs the address and time of the weigh-in. (few fighters knew the time or the address of the weigh-in)
  4. Every fighter must know where he is staying. (No one knew where he was staying – the nearest lodging was 30 miles away down a dirt road)
  5. There must be a nearby restaurant open at least until midnight. (The nearest restaurant was 30 miles away with limited service and hours)


These are the “minimum” requirements.

Patrick Ferguson     VS    Zoltan Peternyi

The reason a young  fighter on the rise faces an older pro on the downward slide is to gain experience.   Ferguson, a rising star in the cruiserweight division, is undefeated with 7 victories. Peternyi has 77 bouts under his belt. He has 4 wins in his last outings after being beaten by Shannon Briggs, and 15 straight wins prior to that. Some boxers, like Peternyi, do not surrender the experience easily. It must taken, drawn out and beaten from them. That, at least, was the plan. Few things go according to plan in boxing.

The fight fell through due more to Ferguson’s circumstances, not of Ferguson’s making. Ferguson was anxious to put up his 7 professional fights and take his first step up in class against the 77 fight veteran, Peternui. In the efficient way of all the great world-class Hungarian champions, Peternyi hit the scale on time and on weight. He attempted to give Ferguson a chance and stayed at the weigh-in until midnight but, because the nearest room was 30 miles distant down a gravel road, he finally had a bowl of soup and finally left. Because Ferguson got lost, he did not make the weigh-in and arrived the following morning. He also had eaten. Peternui wanted Ferguson to weigh and did not understand that Ferguson had to eat even as he had to eat. Ferguson weighed 7 pounds overweight. Peternyi refused to fight unless Ferguson took off the pounds, an impossible task just hours before the fight.

Peternyi failed to realize that the only reason he made the weigh-in was because he had a resourceful and experienced guide, someone who, it was rumored, first traveled across Montana with Lewis and Clark. He seemed to think that anyone born in America can find their wayanyplace. Hungary is the size of downtown Medford. 

Ray “Wolverine” Frye was called in. Because of the language barrier, negations did not go well. Frye had the perfect and logical solution, one any American fighter would have taken. Let them both weigh in now. If Ferguson weighed more, he would take off the weight so they would both step into the ring at equal weights. Peternui refused. He felt disrespected. How was it possible that he could fly all the way from Hungary and arrive at the weigh-in on time and on weight and an American could not drive across a state and do the same? Refusing a fight in America because of a weight discrepancy is almost unheard of, especially when a logical solution is at hand.

One thing about American fighters, especially Native American fighters; they don’t lack for guts. Ruben Roundstone, a local kid with a record of 0-1, would have fought Mike Tyson in his prime. He accepted the fight at the last minute without complaint. He stepped into the ring and, for 32 seconds, gave Ferguson his best shot. Ferguson knocked him to the canvas, where he should have stayed. Pride returned him to his feet. He was no Hungarian. Ferguson pummeled him with a body shot so vicious his breath was last seen somewhere over Wyoming.

The fight was a letdown for Ferguson. He trains hard, is always in excellent shape, and has always made weight. He is anxious to take the next step and he wants to return to the ring as soon as possible and start to make his name in the boxing world. He knows he is ready and, although usually a quiet gentleman, heis angry. Plans for his next fight, possibly in Nevada in August, are presently under way. He will not accept a fight from any European in the near future. Peteruni decided to travel to Puerto Rico for a rest. Everyone wondered why?


Steven Villalobos  VS Daniel Gonzales

If the fight between Villalobos and Gonzales was not attempted murder, it came very close. According to witnesses, Villalobos' original opponent, appeared briefly, then, for reasons known only to him, scurried quickly back across the border. Good natured Daniel Gonzales was called in from Billings. The fact that Gonzales, already so severely damaged that he is presently on permanent suspension and cannot legally fight anywhere in the world except on a Native American Reservation where they make their own rules, made no difference. He drove directly from work to the fight and was returning home after the fight. He was all grins when arrived and wandered about thanking the crowd for coming. He was also concerned about his money and wanted to know where to collect his purse after the fight. The Villalobos team had agreed to pay him.

He stepped into the ring on unsteady legs and tilted to one side, clearly not in full control of his motor skills. At the bell the attempted execution began as Villalobos tore into him like a pit bull on a dog biscuit. Within 15 seconds anyone could see the criminal mismatch. Some men are too tough for their own good. Gonzales refused to go down.

Villalobos, a decent young man with great potential, saw the futility of the fight. He encouraged Gonzales to throw punches and looked to the referee as if to ask him to stop the fight. The referee essentially told the fighters that he never stops a fight for any reason except a knockout. Such Neanderthal type thinking is more than stupid. The main job of any referee is the safety of the fighters. The ability to have enough fingers to count to 10 come in second. Gonzales probably never threw more than a half dozen meaningless punches the entire fight. If the referee, the commission, or the doctor, did not have enough humanity to stop the fight, his corner should have thrown in the towel. Why didn't the doctor, a decent young man stop the fight? The commission did not stop the fight because they are a commission in name only. They know nothing about boxing although states like Washington and Nevada have decent commissions and are more than happy to help any state erect a legitimate organization. Anyone who thinks a fight like this one will return boxing to Montana, must be a sadist. The last time I checked, involuntary manslaughter is illegal in all 50 states. Nothing could be worse for the “sport.”

After the fight, Gonzales, almost blind from the beating he took, stumbled about thanking everyone for coming. After hitting a solid rock for 4 rounds, Villalobos possibly broke his hand and left quickly with it wrapped in ice. The beating he gave was not his fault. His job is to fight. The blame goes to otherwise nice and decent people who had made a series of very bad decisions.


Melvin Weaselboy VS Billy Martin 

The best fight of the night, and the only fight with the original participants, was between Melvin Weaselboy and Billy Martin. This is what happens when matchmaking is done properly. If the other fights had retained their original opponents, they might have been just as good.


Weaselboy is downright tough. He does not know how to step backwards and, like a dreadnought, forged full ahead with both guns firing. That is not to say that Billy Martin is not a tough nut. His problem seemed to be balance. He dropped Weaselboy to his knees but quickly rose to his feet to continue his attack. Weaselboy dropped Martin to the canvas on several occasions until the doctor stopped the fight on superficial cuts.


Martin was confused and outraged. He asked the crowd how could a fight where a man was almost beaten to death continue, while his fight, where he was not visibly shaken, was in full control of his faculties, was not tired, and was ready to fight, was stopped.


There was no doubt that Weaselboy would have won the fight, barring an unexpected knockout. Congrates to two tough warriors.

The night, however, was magical, if not surreal. After the rain cleared the sky opened to a display of stars and a quarter moon that cut a slice of night above the the mountains. The smells of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs floated on the still air leaving the feeling of a backyard party with great friends and good people. It was a once in a lifetime experience and will be remembered as one of the most unique experiences in boxing. After all, every boxing fan knows of the fight in Shelby. No one remembers the Dempsey/Gunboat Smith bout in Buffalo.

To say Hay’s Montana is a small town would be to give it attributes it does not possess: no stores, no restaurants, no gas station, no cell phone service, other than a battered, nondescript pump protruding from the dirt outside a small grocery store where the ladies inside are extremely helpful. What this reservation town does have is a high school with a championship basketball team and an occasional professional boxing match staged on a lovely field of grass where the local cows, content on eating, pay no mind to the activities.

The nearest facilities are at Zortman, 30 miles distant. Once considered a ghost town, several residents, looking for solitude, have moved back in. Cabins ready to succumb to the elements on the outside, are quite comfortable inside. There is a combination garage/hotel at the end of the street, and a combination restaurant/bar nearby.

Silence is Zortman’s main commodity. Rabbits flourish in the fields and deer stroll through the area with impunity. There are plenty of trails to hike and the surrounding rocks of the Little Rockies are stunning.


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