Sunday, May 4, 2003

De La Hoya stops Campas

Retains 154-pound title

By Tim Dahlberg
The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS - Oscar De La Hoya gave Yory Boy Campas a beating, then made a promise to Shane Mosley.

Good enough to dominate a faded Campas, De La Hoya knows he'll have to be even better when he meets Mosley in a Sept. 13 rematch.

"That's the fight I want. That's the fight when I'll be my best," De La Hoya said. "Don't worry, Shane."

Mosley was among those at ringside Saturday night watching De La Hoya give a systematic pounding to a game but outclassed Campas. He was never able to knock Campas down, but the challenger's corner finally stopped the fight at 2:54 of the seventh round.

"It was a nice sparring session, I would say," Mosley said. "He got some good work in."

De La Hoya (36-2, 29 knockouts) successfully defended his WBC 154-pound title, winning in a fight that proved as lopsided once it started as it looked before the two fighters even entered the ring.

Against an opponent hand-picked to give him a good tuneup before he seeks to avenge Mosley's win over him three years ago, De La Hoya got just what he was looking for in a fight that also earned him some $11 million.

"I got what I wanted," De La Hoya said. "I got a win, got good work, and my right hand was better."

Campas was a 25-1 underdog who kept coming forward, but took a beating doing it. He never went down, but his face was red and swollen and he was getting hit by almost everything De La Hoya threw when his cornermen came on the ring apron and asked referee Vic Drakulich to stop the fight.

De La Hoya's dominance was reflected in ringside punching stats that had him landing 264 punches to 75 for Campas.

"He was just too fast, I could not get inside on him," Campas said. "I could not get any rhythm with this guy."

De La Hoya said he hurt his left hand early in the fight and fought slower than he would have liked. Still, he was happy with the results.

"I was a seven on a 10 scale," De La Hoya said.

Though Campas never went down, he had trouble keeping his mouthpiece in his mouth. He lost it six times, prompting Drakulich to take a point from him in the sixth round.

It didn't really matter, though, because Campas wasn't in the fight anyway.

"Campas is a really game fighter, can take a punch," De La Hoya said. "Sometimes you slow down to the level of your opponent."

Campas was a former 154-pound champion with an impressive record of 80-5. But he quit when he began taking a beating in his last four significant fights and his reflexes weren't what they used to be.

That made him the perfect opponent for a tuneup that was little more than a tough sparring session for De La Hoya, who boxed masterfully from the opening bell.

De La Hoya gave the sold-out crowd at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino what they wanted to see, working Campas with shots to the body and then peppering him with combinations to the head.

De La Hoya seemed particularly eager to try out an improved right hand he has been working on, and he used it often.

Campas kept coming forward, trying to put pressure on the champion. But his punches were slow and had little effect, and De La Hoya made him pay a price with some sharp counter-punching.

Things were going so well for De La Hoya that, after battering Campas with a series of shots to the head in the fifth round, he went back to his corner and was smiling as trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. gave him instructions.

De La Hoya weighed the 154-pound class limit. Campas, 153-1/2, was paid $100,000 in his official contract, but made more from Mexican television rights.

In another title fight, WBC featherweight champion Erik Morales stopped Fernando "Bobby Boy" Velardez in the fifth round to retain his 126-pound title.

Morales, in his 16th title fight, had too much experience, and too much punching power for Velardez, who was fighting for a title for the first time.

Velardez was a game challenger and kept coming forward, but took a beating at the hands of a confident champion. He was knocked down late in the first round, twice more in the fourth and a final time in the fifth.

Referee Kenny Bayless stopped the fight without giving Velardez a count after the final knockdown at 1:02 of the fifth round.

Morales (44-1, 33 knockouts) said he had trouble making the 126-pound limit and would either move up to 130 pounds or fight a third bout with Marco Antonio Barrera at 128 pounds. Barrera handed Morales his only loss last June in a disputed 12-round decision.

EX-OLYMPIAN WINS: Former Olympian Rocky Juarez stopped Frank Archuleta in the sixth round in a featherweight bout in Las Vegas that marked boxing's return to network television.

Juarez, who has stopped seven of his last eight opponents, overwhelmed Archuleta, knocking him down in the fourth and sixth.

Juarez (16-0, 12 KOs) won 68 straight amateur fights before losing the gold-medal bout in the Sydney Olympics. The fight was the first to be televised live by NBC since 1992.

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