ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Unbeaten junior flyweight champion Michael Carbajal of Phoenix regarded Jesus Chong of Los Angeles as a risk-free tune-up for a future title bout but found Chong a surprisingly stubborn rival in gaining a unanimous 10-round decision at Convention Hall last night.
Carbajal (22-0, 13 KOs) won by comfortable margins on all three judges' cards, mainly on the strength of knockdowns in the seventh and eighth rounds. Two officials favored Carbajal by 97-92, while the third gave him a 97-93 vote.
But Chong (15-4, 12 KOs) kept constant pressure on the 1984 Olympic silver medalist, cutting Carbajal over his left eye and making the champion hold on in the furious final round.
It was not an impressive outing for the Arizonan, considered by many boxing experts to be one of the best boxers pound-for-pound competing in this era.
Carbajal, 24, America's first flyweight champion since Midget Wolgast ruled the division in the Thirties, got off to his customary fast start, shaking Chong with two solid right crosses in the opening round.
Chong, trained by Al Stankie, the Los Angeles policeman who guided flyweight Paul Gonzales to a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics, landed several light combinations in the first round and became more aggressive in the second, jarring Carbajal with an overhand right. Carbajal tried to concentrate on a body attack, but Chong was effective in tying him up.
The pace slackened in the next three rounds, with Carbajal landing the more telling punches. In the sixth, Chong suddenly slumped to the canvas. No punch was evident, but referee Frank Cappucino counted to eight before the Californian bounced up, complaining of a low blow.
But Chong came out swinging to start the seventh and stopped Carbajal short with a crisp right hand. Carbajal mounted a strong counter-attack and had Chong in trouble when the bell sounded.
Carbajal's left eye began to swell, but he still kept his punches on target, flooring Chong in the eighth with a classic right cross. Chong bounced up quickly, but took a severe beating the remainder of the round.
Chong staged a surprising rally in the 10th round, catching Carbajal with a left-right combination. Carbajal dropped to one knee, but it was ruled a slip. Chong continued to pummel Carbajal, who seemed relieved that the rugged fight had ended.
"We didn't underestimate Chong. We knew how strong he was,"said Carbajal.