Scott Farmer, knocked to the canvas twice before managing a technical knockout in the fourth round of his lightweight bout, had his fans cheering Saturday night. It was a grand ending to what probably was his last fight in Falls Church.
"If Scott had any dog in him tonight it would have showed," Jim Ed Jones, Farmer's manager, said after the fight. "But this showed me I've got the fighter I want. The fighter Northern Virginia wants.
In a gym in a shopping center that seats 700 but doesn't generate enough revenue to pay eight-round fighters, Farmer, a 23-year-old from Manasas, ruined Washingtonian Tim Ward's pro debut and earned his sixth victory in eight professional fights.
The promotion, which attracted 500 fans who paid as much as $10 for ringside seats and featured well-matched four-round undercard bouts between club fighters from Virginia, the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania, was a step toward bringing boxing back to Falls Church. The city last supported a Golden Gloves amateur team in 1955.
But despite the enthusiastic reception, Farmer no longer will fight out of Falls Church. The city council recently invoked a Virginia Boxing and Wrestling Commission ruling from 1937 that gives local jurisdictions the right to grant or deny promoters permission for fights.
Because of crowd noise and parking-lot congestion that had characterized Farmer's two fights last spring at the Olympia Boxing Center in the West Falls Church Shopping Center, the city council asked Eugene Hughes, Farmer's promoter, to stage his fights elsewhere.
"I don't think it's right, because Northern Virginia is ready for a fighter like me," said Farmer, a Zapatamustachioed crowd pleaser whose Falls Church fights have each brought in more than $1,000. "Look at how the people turn out."
Although the fights have the trappings of a small promotion -- Farmer's older brother works his corner as a second and his nephew works the door -- they also have attracted the interest of Washington's old-time boxing community.
One judge at the fight Saturday might, 81-year-old Charlie Reynolds, kept the knockdown time for a 1942 Joe Louis fight. Joe Bunsa, who refereed the undercard, recently returned from judging a fight in Korea. The timekeeper, Joe Gannon, is a former sparring partner of Rocky Marciano.
"Farmer is going to be well known," Jones said. "I guarantee that if a promoter had a title fight at Capital Centre, he'd want Scott on his card. Scott's a draw. He's got charisma.
"Scott can be the lightweight champion of the world."
Such is the dream and talk of all boxers and trainers. Should Farmer approach that goal, it would culminate an extraordinary string of events.
Farmer, youngest of eight children whose father died 12 years ago, dropped out of school after ninth grade to earn money for his family. "I got in a lot of trouble in school," he said. "We used to put on the boxing gloves. . ."
Farmer, a carpenter by trade, took to punching upright rolls of carpet. He built a practice ring in his Manasas backyard, and constructed a second one in the gym in Falls Church.
He met Jones less than two years ago, fought three amateur fights with him, and decided to turn professional.
"I knew that fighting without amamteur experience would be rough," Farmer said. "It's been a mental and financial strain, but I'm in good hands with Mr. Jones."
The boxer, who earned $250 for his last fight, has taken home about $1,500 in eight fights.
"That will all change," Jones insisted. "In September we want to take our fights to the Manasas National Guard Armory, which seats 6,000. Scott's going to get a percentage of the gate. Manasas is home for him."
Farmer's billing as the "Manasas Mauler" is so new that his white robe still says "Fist Farmer," his last nickname. When he doffs the robe in the ring, his stomach shows scars from 10 hours of life-saving surgery after an automobile accident six years ago that then kept him in hospital beds for three months.
Outside the ring, Farmer likes to drag race at Manasas Speedway. His speeds of 130 mph on a quarter-mile track don't impress Jones.
"It's like you don't want to drop a gold watch," Jones said.