No contest, no controversy: Chavez stops Taylor to retain title

September 18, 1994|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Sun Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS -- World Boxing Council super lightweight Julio Cesar Chavez left no room for controversy in his long-anticipated rematch with Meldrick Taylor at the MGM Grand Garden last night, stopping the Philadelphian after 41 seconds of the eighth round.

The Mexican legend, supported by a partisan, sellout crowd of 15,222, did not wait until the final two seconds this time. He floored Taylor with a long left hook early in the eighth round.

Taylor beat the count, but the five-time world champion swarmed and landed telling punches, and referee Mills Lane stopped the fight.

With Taylor boxing superbly in the early rounds, he was even on two judges' cards (66-66), but trailed 69-64 on the other. The challenger had two points deducted by Lane for low blows.

But Chavez's relentless pressure took its toll. He staggered Taylor in the sixth with several straight right jands. By the seventh round, Taylor was fighting with his mouth wide open.

"For me, this is my revenge for everyone that said I was done," said Chavez, who regained his title on a controversial victory over Frankie Randall in May.

Said Taylor: "I felt strong obviously until I got hit. I thought I hurt him a couple of times, but he is a great champion and I take my hat off to him."

Randall, who captured the World Boxing Association crown by beating Juan Coggi of Argentina on Don King's six-championship card, will not get an immediate rematch with Chavez. King said he plans on first matching Randall against Pernell Whitaker.

In other fights last night:

* James Leija got much more than he bargained for in No. 1-ranked Gabriel Ruelas of Sylmar, Calif., who knocked down the champion from San Antonio in the second and 12th rounds and won a unanimous decision for the WBC super-featherweight title.

This was a spectacular, nonstop brawl in which Ruelas also was decked in the fourth round.

But Ruelas, who cut his rival over both eyes, was the far busier of the two fighters and won by a surprisingly wide margin despite being penalized a point for several low blows in the 10th round.

The judges' cards favored Ruelas by scores of 116-108, 115-109 and 115-111.

It was the first loss for Leija (28-1-2, 13 KOs), who dethroned

longtime champion Azumah Nelson last May after fighting a draw with the Ghanaian champion in 1993.

Mexican-born Ruelas (39-2, 22 KOs) had most of the fans supporting him, and he seemed to thrive on their cheers.

"It was easier than I thought," Ruelas said. "I was much stronger and faster than Leija. I've worked all my life for this moment."

Ruelas had failed in a previous title bid in February 1993, when he dropped a 12-round decision to Nelson.

This time, he would not let it get away.

"Ruelas had more power than I expected," said Leija. "I was never dropped before -- amateur or pro.

"I twisted my ankle on that first knockdown in the second round, and it bothered me the rest of the fight. I just couldn't keep the pressure on him."

* Randall gained a piece of the welterweight title by winning a lopsided 12-round verdict over WBA title-holder Coggi.

A 5-to-1 favorite, Randall, from Morristown Tenn., dropped Coggi in the first, fifth and sixth rounds.

But Randall also had to survive a scary moment in the second round when the left-handed Coggi connected with a solid hook. But from that point on, the fight belonged to Randall, 32.

* International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Felix Trinidad of Puerto Rico survived a second-round knockdown to stop previously unbeaten Luis Ramon Campas of Mexico at 2:41 of the third round.

Referee Richard Steele intervened after Trinidad trapped the stocky Campas on the ropes and unleashed a barrage of 11 damaging punches.

The slender Trinidad, making his fourth defense since winning ,, the title from Maurice Blocker in 1993, raised his record to 24-0 with 20 KOs.

Campas, who has 50 KOs among his 56 victories, tried to end it quickly, but his punches lost steam, and he showed no defense once cornered by the taller, faster Trinidad.

A post-fight examination revealed Campas had suffered a broken nose.

"I knew I could knock him out," said Trinidad. "I just didn't know how many rounds it would take."

* Unbeaten WBC strawweight champion Ricardo Lopez (37-0) of Mexico needed only 1:53 to record his 27th knockout, stopping Yodsing Saengmorokot (13-1) of Thailand, who is ranked No. 7 in the world.

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