Sunday, January 19, 2003

Camacho stops Villareal in return to ring

The Associated Press

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - Hector "Macho" Camacho returned from an 18-month absence to stop Ecuador's Otilio Villareal after the eighth round of a super middleweight bout Saturday night.

Camacho, a 40-year-old former three-time world champion from Puerto Rico, outpunched and wore down Villareal, who did not come out for the ninth round of the scheduled 10-round fight.

Camacho improved to 76-4-2 with his 37th knockout. The former junior lightweight and junior welterweight champion had not fought since outpointing Roberto Duran in July 2001.

Camacho set the pace in the first round, scoring with a lead right and follow-up left to Villareal's head. In the second, Camacho used his left as the lead shot and repeatedly landed punches to his opponent's head.

A plodding Villareal (15-16-1) tried to frustrate Camacho with a lead right, but Camacho outpointed him with his combinations. Camacho pinned Villareal on the ropes in the third and connected with combinations to the body.

Villareal continued to absorb shots in the middle rounds as Camacho led with straight lefts or right jabs to the head. Camacho's punches had Villareal bleeding from the nose.

Villareal was on the retreat for most of the seventh round and seemed unwilling to counter Camacho's shots. Villareal was busier in the eighth and scored a short combination early in the round. But Camacho pressed the action for most of the eighth by landing repeated lefts to the head.

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