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THE INSIDE TRACK | NOTES ON A SCORECARD / ALLAN MALAMUD

In the Eighth Round, the Winner Is . . .

June 06, 1996|ALLAN MALAMUD

LAS VEGAS — At about 8:30 Friday night at Caesars Palace, ring announcer Michael Buffer will bellow, "Let's get ready to rumble!" . . .

That is certain. . . .

But then what? . . .

Round 1--It is a feeling-out round between World Boxing Council super-lightweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez and unbeaten Oscar De La Hoya. In the last 30 seconds, Chavez throws a right hand that grazes De La Hoya's chin and brings a roar from the capacity crowd of 15,600. . . .

Round 2--Chavez, the aggressor, steps up the pace. He tries to slow down his quicker opponent by firing body shots and tying him up inside. . . .

Round 3--De La Hoya is boxing beautifully, just the way his professor, Jesus Rivero, wants him to. He utilizes his reach advantage, sticks and moves, and frustrates Chavez. . . .

Round 4--A crackling right hand in the opening minute floors Chavez. He gets up at the count of four, takes the mandatory eight count and gamely fights back. . . .

Round 5--Chavez rocks De La Hoya early with a short left hook to the nose. But Julio has trouble following up as Oscar gets on his horse to the dismay of the majority of the fans, many of them waving Mexican flags. . . .

Round 6--De La Hoya is back in control. He connects with several flurries and has Chavez backpedaling. . . .

Round 7--It is more of the same as De La Hoya senses that a knockout win is near. A cut is opened beneath Chavez's left eye. . . .

Round 8--A left-right combination knocks Chavez down for a second time. He barely beats the count. De La Hoya is pummeling him against the ropes when referee Joe Cortez stops the fight at 1:26 of the round and raises De La Hoya's hand. . . .

Well, that is the way I see it. . . .

A guest expert, Sugar Ray Leonard, speaks from considerably more experience when he says De La Hoya will win a decision if he follows an intelligent game plan. . . .

Leonard didn't the night he lost his first fight to Roberto Duran by decision in Montreal in 1980. . . .

"I was a knucklehead," Leonard said. "I didn't listen to my corner." . . .

Like De La Hoya over Chavez on Friday, Leonard had advantages in quickness, size and youth over Duran. . . .

"It was the macho thing," said Leonard, who beat Duran the last two of their three meetings. "I played into Duran's hands. I tried to slug it out with him instead of outbox him." . . .

The temperature at 8:30 on Friday is expected to be 90 degrees, and it will be even warmer under the ring lights in the outdoor stadium. . . .

However, Chavez and De La Hoya say they are in the best physical condition of their careers and that stamina will not be a factor. . . .

*

There is no rematch clause in the contracts. . . .

When De La Hoya won his Olympic gold medal in 1992 at 132 pounds, Chavez was 82-0 as a pro and preparing to defend his 140-pound title against Hector Camacho. . . .

Nick Charles will host the closed-circuit telecast. Tim Ryan will be the blow-by-blow announcer and Gil Clancy and Sean O'Grady the analysts. Reporters will include Rick Lozano and Fernando Paramo. . . .

Some 24,000 closed-circuit seats were put on sale in the Las Vegas area, 12,000 of them at the Thomas & Mack Center. . . .

Several Southland TV locations are sold out, but the Rose Bowl isn't among them. . . .

The first world title fight at Caesars Palace was then-lightweight champion Duran's victory over Esteban de Jesus on Jan. 21, 1978 in the Pavilion. . . .

A fighter to watch on the undercard is Tijuana's Erik Morales, who is 22-0 with 18 knockouts and will defend his North American Boxing Federation super-bantamweight championship against Hector Acero-Sanchez. . . .

The main eventers will wear eight-ounce gloves, standard in Nevada for bouts with weight limits of less than 160 pounds. . . .

What was refreshing about the three-month promotion was the lack of trash talk between Chavez and De La Hoya, who promised they would not get mean until Friday.

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