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Two Arms Not Enough for McGirt : Boxing: After saying he lost to Whitaker in their first fight because of a shoulder injury, he loses again with no excuses.


NORFOLK, VA. — Pernell Whitaker silenced James (Buddy) McGirt Saturday night.

Eighteen months ago, McGirt lost the 147-pound World Boxing Council welterweight crown to Whitaker by 12-round unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden, a loss the New Yorker contended was due to an injury to his left shoulder that turned him into a one-armed fighter through the final six rounds.

This time, before a hometown crowd of 9,158 at the Scope, the champion turned up the volume of his punching against a two-fisted McGirt for a runaway 12-round decision despite being knocked down in the second round.

"He was the better man, he did what he had to do," McGirt said. "My arm was OK, he was definitely the better man."

Whitaker (34-1-1) had gone in as a 6-1 favorite and he proved the oddsmakers right with his third title defense. He connected on 40% of the 816 punches he threw according to HBO statistics; McGirt connected on 31% of the 504 he threw.

"This was one of his best performances," trainer George Benton said of Whitaker. "He followed the game plan to a 'T.' "

Judge Chuck Giampa scored it 117-113, Rudy Ortega had it 118-112 and Steve Weisfeld scored it 117-110.

"I'm sure he was in his best shape and that's why they call me the best pound for pound," Whitaker said.

Said McGirt, sporting a nasty bruise under his left eye after only his fourth loss in 69 fights: "I had no problem with the decision."

McGirt's manager/trainer, Al Certo, praised the 30-year-old champion.

"Whitaker fought a better fight than I thought he would and you have to give him his due," he said. "He's a great fighter. He's tough to beat."

McGirt had offered a promise of a real fight in the early going, pressing his attack with left jabs and strong rights. It was a right hand to the side of the head midway in the second period that put Whitaker on the canvas.

Whitaker quickly got up, flashing a faint smile.

"It was just a flash knockdown," Whitaker said. "He caught me off-balance and it didn't bother me at all. It made me more aware of what I had to do."

What Whitaker chose to do was stand and hit McGirt, and he did so repeatedly from there until the final bell.

McGirt wobbled to his corner at the end of the eighth after Whitaker had landed a left hook flush on the chin.

Whitaker had snapped back McGirt's head with a stiff straight right late in the sixth round. Earlier in the round, the left-hander had landed a couple of crisp uppercuts.

Boxing Notes

Pernell Whitaker's purse was $2.5 million, James McGirt's $600,000. . . . Will there be a Whitaker-Julio Cesar Chavez rematch soon? Whitaker's promoter, Dan Duva, doesn't think so. "Zero chance," he said. "(Chavez isn't) man enough." . . . Fight officials confirmed that a threat that a bomb would go off at 10:30 p.m. in the arena had been phoned in to the Norfolk police earlier.

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