Even with his experience in show business, Jeremy Bates couldn’t have scripted Saturday’s heavyweight bout better.
In his first action in four years, the 41-year-old floored his opponent in 41 seconds. Bates triumphed over Levi Bowling at the “Bone Yard” in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
As extraordinarily well as the fight went, the day’s events leading up to the face-off in the ring couldn’t have been dicier.
Bates said Bowling, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound former mixed martial arts fighter, attempted to back out of the event on Saturday morning.
“It turns out he actually had some family problems going on and I felt bad about that, but at the same time, everybody’s got problems, ya know?” Bates said on Monday.
Bates had to threaten to sue Bowling, from Union, and his team if they failed to show up.
“There was a lot of stress, so I had to pull a court card to get somebody in the ring,” Bates said with a laugh. “I had 50-plus people coming from two hours away. I had a couple people from Maine and even had a TV producer from Utah coming. … It was too late for (Bowling) to pull out. He was financially liable at that point.”
Once Bowling agreed to fight, logistics weren’t going to be feasible for him until Corky Salyer, owner of Fitness World in Raceland, stepped in. Bates works out at Salyer’s gym.
“He’s a machine,” Bates said of Salyer, who drove from Parkersburg to London, where he picked up Bowling, and transported Bates’ opponent back to Parkersburg.
“Corky drove that whole way, came and worked my corner, then drove that guy home,” Bates said. “He drove like 20 hours. He’s an animal.”
Bates, known in some boxing circles as “The Beast,” improved his record to 24-17 with the knockout.
“My trainer kinda said, he’s big, so feel him out,” Bates recalled. “I said, ‘I’m not feeling anything out, I’m jumping on this guy.’
“Remember, this guy asked for me,” he added. “I wasn’t wasting any time. This guy kinda disrespected me.”
Bates landed three clean hits to the head, the last of which sounded like a “gunshot,” Bates said, before Bowling hopped up and retreated to a corner. He was only in for more punishment, as Bates connected on the final blow seconds later.
“I’m 41 years old, but I’m not your average 41-year-old,” Bates said.
Bates isn’t going to exaggerate the magnitude of Saturday’s victory over a boxing rookie, but he also acknowledges that his days in the ring aren’t over just yet.
“I got a call about a fight in August in Huntington,” he said.
An entertainer at heart, Bates felt comfortable on camera when he was one of four co-stars on a six-episode series called “Monsters Underground” last year.
Bill Brock, Richard McGhee and Casey Onik joined him on the show that highlighted the foursome’s adventures on which they navigated rarely trekked areas of the United States in search of creepy creatures.
Brock, the leader of Team Rogue and an avid boxing fan, is constantly on quests to find Bigfoot. He filmed and photographed Bates’ fight on Saturday
Bates would love a return to Hollywood.
“I wanna get back on camera,” he said. “… I’ve already got a couple calls instantly. (Boxing) just opens doors. I’m gonna keep training, step it up a little bit.”
Reach AARON SNYDER at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664. Follow @DindependentQB on Twitter.