Dale Lolley

Column Dale Lolley

Dale Lolley has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1993 after previously working at WJAC-TV and the Tribune-Democrat in Johnstown, and The Derrick in Oil City. A native of Fryburg, Pa., he is a graduate of North Clarion High School and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where he earned a degree in journalism. He has covered the Pittsburgh Steelers since joining the Observer-Reporter in 1993, and also serves as the outdoors editor. He also is a radio host for Pittsburgh’s ESPN 970-AM, and serves as administrative adviser for the Red & Black, Washington & Jefferson College’s student newspaper.

Bergman undaunted by loss

July 28, 2014

Jason Bergman was so upset over his loss Saturday night to Ahror Muralimov at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino that he spent all day Sunday at a wedding.

In other words, life goes on.

It’s not that Bergman wasn’t upset about losing his WBA/NABA U.S. Heavyweight championship belt. That certainly was not the case.

But Bergman views the setback as temporary in the grand scheme of things.

“That’s boxing, especially at heavyweight,” the Washington resident said. “One punch can change your life.”

Bergman should know. He has knocked out numerous foes with his one-punch power, including previously unbeaten John L. Smith last October to win the NABA title.

And it was one punch from Muralimov that ended Bergman’s reign as champion and stalled his rise up the WBA rankings – at least for now.

“After that shot to the temple, I don’t remember much until I got to the locker room,” said Bergman, who must now wait a mandatory 30 days before fighting again due to the knockout.

An inch or so another way and it could have been Bergman moving on once again with the title belt. He rocked Muralimov, a last-minute replacement for Justin Jones, in the opening round.

“I hurt him with a straight left in the first,” Bergman said. “But I didn’t think he was completely hurt, so I didn’t go after him. He was breathing heavily after the first round, so I figured I’d wear him down.”

Muralimov seemed very prepared for somebody who had taken the fight on two day’s notice. Bergman spent weeks training to face Jones, only to have him pull out two days before the fight and have the spot taken by another fighter who resides in Houston.

“I should have pulled out of the fight when (Jones) did,” Bergman said in retrospect. “I had spent all my time training to fight him. But I had fans coming and I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I figured I could handle it.

“Both guys are from Houston. It is possible that both guys were training and they figured the one who was in better shape would fight me. It could have been planned. (Muralimov) took the fight two hours after the other guy backed out.”

That’s all speculation at this point. The fact remains that Muralimov now has the NABA U.S. title and will move past Bergman in the WBA rankings when they are next updated.

“I asked his trainers for a rematch and they seemed pretty positive about it,” Bergman said. “Hopefully, we can get that. I don’t care if I have to go to Houston or we can do it here again at The Meadows.

“We did really well with the (night’s fights), unfortunately, things didn’t happen the way I expected.”

The result of Bergman’s fight aside, The Meadows had to be pleased with its first foray into boxing since adding the casino. With the exception of a rainstorm that delayed the boxing for an hour, the event went off seamlessly.

The event was a sellout and the casino likely could have sold more than the 1,500 allotted seats. The fans seemed to enjoy the show. And the boxing was action-packed.

“I thought the crowd was really good,” said Bergman. “The venue was top-notch. I thought it was a very good show.

“I just wish the result had been different for me.”

F. Dale Lolley can be reached at dlolley@observer-reporter.com.



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