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BOXING

Magana Wins a WBO Title

May 13, 1997|STEVE SPRINGER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

When the decision was announced, Alfred Kotey collapsed against the ring post in his corner, sobbing. He had lost a majority decision to Jesse Magana Monday night at the Forum in a 12-round battle for the vacant World Boxing Organization Intercontinental junior-featherweight title.

But if Kotey had showed that much emotion and intensity when Magana backed him into the corner or against the ropes time and again, the decision might have gone the other way.

Instead, Magana, a southpaw with an effective right jab, a strong left hand and a quick, smooth style, kept Kotey bottled up against the ropes and on the defensive for much of the night to improve to 19-5-2 with eight knockouts.

It wasn't easy, as Magana was the first to admit. He was trying to come back after an eight-month layoff and a crushing loss to Marco Antonio Barrera.

"I felt out of place in the ring," Magana conceded. "It wasn't until the seventh round that I started to feel comfortable. The guy had a lot of experience."

Kotey (21-3, 13 knockouts) is a former WBO bantamweight champion and, at 28, is five years older than Magana.

Judge Dick Young scored the fight a draw, 114-114. Judge Raul Caiz gave it to Magana, 115-113, and judge Hank Elespuru had Magana winning, 118-11. The Times scored it for Magana, 114-110.

In the night's other title fight, Demetrio Ceballos (19-1, 12 knockouts) won the vacant North American Boxing Organization lightweight title on a ninth-round TKO victory over Oscar Natalio Lopez (27-7-1, 13 knockouts).

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