WILMINGTON, Mass. Shawn Thornton was named after the John Wayne character that bare-knuckle boxes in The Quiet Man and makes no bones about his love for the sport of boxing. He did everything he could to help support local boy Danny Bhoy OConnor during his big fight against New England title holder Derek Silveira at TD Garden last night, and that included agreeing to be the spit bucket guy in his corner during the fight.
Thornton engages in boxing and jujitsu training during the summer and offseason to train for his role as an NHL enforcer, so he was excited to get an up-close-and-personal look at a big-time boxing match.
O'Connor, a IBF and WBC-ranked welterweight, scored the 10-round decision over Silveira. He was awarded scores of 100-89 and 97-93 while the third judge scored the bout a draw at 95-95. O'Connor improved his record to 20-1 with seven KOs after Saturday nights victory.
So the good guy ended up winning the fight, but unfortunately Thornton had to watch from a ringside seat after the second round. OConnors camp was told by the refs that they had one too many people in his corner, and the Bruins fourth liner was the guy told to vamoose.
I paid my 50 to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I filled out all the necessary paperwork and I got permission from the commission along with the wrist band that I needed, said Thornton. But the officials came over to our corner in the second round and told us we had too many corner people there.
So I was the one to go, but they still took my 50. Im expletive rattled. Maybe I can get a refund from Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick?
Thornton said the Fight Night at the Garden was a huge success with close to 5,000 people attending in the lower bowl as they set tables up around the ring while utilizing half of the hockey rink.
It was pretty loud, said Thornton. There were a lot of people there. The walking out with the OConnor entourage and hanging out with him while he got ready for the fight, Ive done all of that a few times before. But its still a really cool experience.
Its amazing how relaxed, but focused he is before a fight. Hes just watching all of the fights and really chilling out. I was probably more nervous than he was. I wish I could have gone the whole 10 rounds, but they took my money and ran.
The good thing: Theres always next time when Thornton can perform the role as spit bucket guy for OConnor.