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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | DIGEST

Garcia Mounts Rally, Keeps Boxing Title

October 25, 1998| From Staff Reports

Robert Garcia of Oxnard was bloodied but remained unbeaten Saturday, rallying to stop Ramon Ledon in the fifth round at Atlantic City, N.J., to retain his International Boxing Federation junior-lightweight championship.

Garcia (31-0) was knocked down in the second round and was cut on the forehead by an accidental head butt. Ledon, ranked No. 1 by the IBF, later opened a cut above Garcia's right eye.

But midway through the third round, Garcia connected on a solid right hand to Ledon's face, staggering Ledon momentarily. From there, Garcia seemed to take over. He backed up Ledon and began tagging him with right hands.

In the fourth, Garcia landed another hard right to the head just after a low blow by Ledon, prompting referee Eddie Cotton to step in and warn Ledon. Garcia knocked Ledon's mouthpiece to the canvas, then Ledon himself moments later with a right and a left.

Garcia, 23, stormed out of his corner for the fifth and put Ledon away quickly. A left uppercut to the chin momentarily froze Ledon where he stood, and Garcia delivered at least six uncontested punches to put him down.

Ledon got up, but not for long. Garcia unleashed a flurry of punches after they resumed, finally knocking Ledon backward and onto the canvas 58 seconds into the fifth round of the scheduled 12-rounder.

"I've been down, but it doesn't scare me," Garcia said. "I knew I was in good shape."

It was the first loss for Ledon (12-1-1).

BASEBALL

Traviss Hodge, an All-Valley outfielder last season at Highland High, has left Loyola Marymount and transferred to Pierce College.

"He's really going to help us," said Pierce Coach Bob Lofrano.

Hodge batted .570 with seven home runs as a senior at Highland.

Hodge said he wanted the opportunity to hit and will also serve as Pierce's closer.

FYI

Milken Community High is seeking a lower-level boys' basketball coach. Information: (310) 476-8561.

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