Boxing: Mayorga's maverick approach cuts down Forrest

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The Independent Online

Ricardo Mayorga achieved his second successive win over the American Vernon Forrest, retaining his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association welterweight titles at the Orleans Hotel here on Saturday night.

This time the colourful fighter from Nicaragua had to go the distance. Pursuing his back-pedalling opponent around the ring, Mayorga was rewarded by a 12-round split decision.

Mayorga had shocked the previously unbeaten Forrest when he stopped him in the third round of their bout on 25 January in California. The re-match was much closer - two judges favoured Mayorga, a third scored it a draw - although Mayorga landed far more telling punches. There were no knock-downs, but Mayorga rocked his opponent in the second round and had him looking wobbly again in the 10th.

"I proved that I could take a punch and go 12 rounds," Mayorga said through an interpreter. "I would have looked better if he had traded punches with me. It's hard to look good when you're doing so much chasing."

Ove Oveson scored it 116-112 for Mayorga, and Larry O'Connell had Mayorga winning 115-114. Judge Jerry Roth scored it 114-114.

Mayorga, who talks constantly and likes to smoke and drink, landed almost twice as many power punches - 105-66 - as Forrest, who tried to throw jabs and circle his more aggressive opponent. By the 11th round, Mayorga was already holding up his arms in triumph.

The Nicaraguan had roused the crowd in the fourth round after Forrest landed a hard jab. Mayorga dropped his gloves and dared Forrest to hit him - which Forrest did with a quick combination. But Mayorga hardly flinched, then went after his opponent, landing blows as Forrest slipped away on the ropes.

"Forrest is a sissy and doesn't punch that hard," Mayorga said. The 32-year-old, however, kept the fight close with his skill against an opponent with more speed and power - but far less discipline. "He fought a lot better this time," Mayorga said. "He could have beaten most welterweights."

The 29-year-old Mayorga now has 25 victories, three draws and one defeat on his record. Forrest has 35 wins and two losses, with 26 knock-outs.

PROFESSIONAL PROMOTION (Orleans Hotel, Las Vegas): WBC and WBA welterweight title: R Mayorga (Nic) bt V Forrest (US) pts. WBA super lightweight title: V Harris (Guy) bt S M'Baye (Fr) pts. WBO junior welterweight title: Z Judah (US) bt D Corley (US) pts.