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Margarito Stands Up, Holds Off Perez

October 13, 2002|Paul Gutierrez | Times Staff Writer

Choosing to fight a guy who knocked you down once before might be a dicey proposition, especially if it's for your first title defense.

But World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Antonio Margarito had a plan and executed it to near perfection against Danny Perez Saturday night.

Margarito (27-3) dominated Perez (27-3) with a relentless performance that earned him a unanimous decision, winning every round on two of the three judges' scorecards in front of 3,141 at the Arrowhead Pond.

"We knew from the first fight that he had a strong right hand and we wanted to stay away from it," said Margarito, who survived a first-round knockdown in their June 12, 1999, fight at Indio and rallied to win a split decision.

"He had that strong right hand and a decent left hook, but that was it."

Margarito, of Tijuana, won the vacant WBO belt with a 10th-round stoppage of Antonio Diaz in March and wants to unify the title by meeting either World Boxing Assn. 147-pound champion Ricardo Mayorga or World Boxing Council titlist Vernon Forrest.

In the semi-main event, WBA flyweight champ Eric Morel remained undefeated by successfully defending his title in stopping No. 1-ranked Dankaosaen Kaowichit in the 11th round.

Morel (32-0, 18 knockouts) was dominating the later rounds and knocked Kaowichit (20-1) down twice in the round, the second time with two left hooks and a right cross, which sent Kaowichit sprawling and prompting referee Raul Caiz to call it off at 1:40 of the round.

"Speed was the key for the victory," said Morel, who was born in Puerto Rico but now lives in Madison, Wis., and was making his fifth title defense.

Also on the card: Huntington Beach light heavyweight Julio Gonzalez stopped Thomas Reid in the third round, referee David Mendoza stopping the bout at the 2:15 mark as Gonzalez (31-1, 21 KO's) pounded away on Reid (29-10-1) against the ropes.

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