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Majority-Decision Draw for Whitaker and Chavez : Boxing: American wins on U.S. judge's card, but British and Swiss officials score the fight 115-115.


SAN ANTONIO — In the end Friday night, all the vibrant sound and focused fury in the ring at the Alamodome ended up signifying nothing but a draw.

Pernell Whitaker, who controlled the fight with lashing jabs and subtle movement that kept Julio Cesar Chavez reaching and frustrated, looked stunned and bitterly confused as the announcement was made.

Chavez, whose hunt for the quicker fighter was mostly fruitless, only seemed to sigh and shake his head after the first non-victory of his long career.

The end result is that Whitaker keeps his World Boxing Council welterweight title and Chavez remains unbeaten.

"You've got a lot of courage," Chavez said via a translator to Whitaker as the two men met each other in an embrace in Whitaker's corner after the decision was announced. "We'll make a lot of money in the rematch."

A fight. A draw. Then silence.

"I don't think there's any question, there were 70,000 people tonight who were eyewitnesses to a robbery," said Whitaker's promoter, Dan Duva.

"The great macho Julio Cesar Chavez was backing up and running from Pernell Whitaker. Everybody knows who the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world is, it's Pernell Whitaker."

According to CompuPunch, Inc., statistics, Whitaker landed about 100 more punches than Chavez.

Whitaker did not seem eager for a rematch, saying he felt he proved all he had to and that everybody who saw the fight knows it.

"This is something that could be the most frustrating night of an athlete's career," Whitaker said. "But I'm going to take it like a victory. It happened, it's done."

The American judge, Jack Woodruff of Dallas, scored the fight 115-113 for Whitaker. But the other two judges, from Switzerland and England, saw the fight 115-115, making the fight a draw.

The Alamodome stood silent in the aftermath, close to 60,000 fans of Chavez standing quietly. That was a vast difference from the way the fight started, with Chavez storming into the ring to the roars of the crowd, with Mexican music on the public address system and Mexican flags everywhere. During the Mexican national anthem, Chavez stood side-by-side with the performance and sung along. Whitaker entered the ring to a rap beat.

Whitaker opened with a slash-and-jab tactic that allowed him to score almost at will. As the night wore on, it was with increasing ease that Whitaker landed hard hooks with both hands to Chavez's face.

Chavez was the instigator, but landed few of the body shots that have impeded most of his foes.

In the seventh, several hard combinations from Whitaker seemed to hurt Chavez and he dangled on the ropes for several seconds before regaining his feet.

"Everybody said I might run or something, but I can fight," Whitaker said. "I knew I could hit him in the body, and when I got him there, it was all mine."

Chavez rallied in the ninth and 10th, landing a few hard punches to the body, but Whitaker (32-1-1) never got caught with the shots that Meldrick Taylor succumbed to three years ago in the final round while he was ahead of Chavez.

In the last two rounds, Chavez's corner seemed desperate, and sent his three-year-old son, Omar, to the top step to shout his father forward. "I thought I won the fight," Chavez said. "I was not happy with the referee (Joe Cortez), I thought he allowed too much. I want a rematch."

There was a lot of grabbing and pulling by Whitaker, apparently in a maneuver to keep the bullrush of Chavez slowed. And as the Alamodome urged Chavez on, Whitaker found continuous ways to sidestep or swallow up Chavez's offerings with his arms and hands.

Jack Woodruff, the Dallas judge Chavez had raised strident objects about, scored the fight 115-113, Whitaker. But the other two judges, from Switzerland and England, saw the fight 115-115, making the fight a draw.

All the build-up, all the brawling in 12 rounds of circling, clenching and chin-jarring shots mostly perpetuated by Whitaker in a brilliant defense of his World Boxing Council welterweight title turned out to be just a prelude for another show.

The end result is that Whitaker keeps his belt, and Chavez remains unbeaten.

"Just one thing," Dan Duva said to Chavez at the post-fight press conference, "admit Pernell has (guts)."

"Yes," Chavez said softly, in English.

In an earlier fight, Terry Norris did nothing to diminish his claim as heir to the pound-for-pound throne by demolishing Joe Gatti in the main undercard fight.

In his last fight, Norris was surprisingly knocked down by Troy Waters, but Friday night Norris suffered no such embarrassment in retaining his WBC super-welterweight title.

Norris (36-3, 28 knockouts) floored Gatti (20-3) with a left uppercut 52 seconds into the main undercard fight, then smashed the Canadian through the ropes for a technical knockout 36 seconds later.

Norris (36-3, 28 knockouts), who retained his WBC super-welterweight title and thirsts for a fight with Chavez, also jumped over and screamed at Gatti's corner in the aftermath.

Gatti (20-3), was thrown through the ropes with a deadly straight right hand flush on his nose, the last of seven unanswered Norris punches.

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