Results from the Showtime Halloween Card
In a “Halloween Thrilla” main event that lived up to its billing, undefeated Yonnhy Perez registered an upset 12-round unanimous decision over defending champion Joseph King Kong Agbeko to capture the International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight title Saturday on SHOWTIME®.
In the first half of a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING doubleheader, Antonio DeMarco won the World Boxing Council (WBC) interim lightweight crown with a one-sided 10th-round TKO over former World Boxing Association (WBA) 135-pound titlist Jose Alfaro.
Between the fights at Treasure Island Hotel & Casino, legendary, former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson was reunited with announcer Jim Gray, who won an Emmy for his interview with Tyson following the infamous ear-bite fight with Evander Holyfield on June 28, 1997.
“I’ve been working on myself,’’ Tyson told Gray on SHOWTIME. “I’m in the mood of being truly grateful of my life. I realize I have nothing to be mad at. I never dreamed I’d be living at this time (but) I’ve gotten as much as I gave. I’ve been blessed in my life. I just want to contribute to humanity now.”
In response to Gray asking about George Foreman winning a title at age 45 and if Tyson, at 43, would contemplate a comeback, Tyson said: “If this guy (referring to Don King) is going to pay for my training — my training team costs a lot of money — anything is possible. I don’t see it happening but anything is possible.’’
The non-stop action fight between Perez (20-0, 14 KOs) of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., by way of Colombia, and Agbeko (27-2, 22 KOs) of Bronx, N.Y., via Accra, Ghana, was a spirited slugfest that featured numerous exchanges from start to finish.
During the telecast, SHOWTIME blow-by-blow announcer Steve Albert said, “In 22 years of calling boxing, I don’t think I have ever called a fight with this many punches thrown.’’ Added color commentator Al Bernstein: “And many big shots. Both of these men are good punchers landing big.”
Perez, the WBC No. 1 contender going in, scored a disputed knockdown in the 10th round en route to winning by the scores of 117-110 twice and 116-111.
“The fight went almost exactly how I planned,’’ said an ecstatic Perez afterward. “I knew I was winning the rounds and I deserved to get the victory. I trained to throw a lot of punches. I know Agbeko likes to throw a lot of punches, so I knew I had to be better conditioned.
“All the hard work and preparation paid off. This is a dream come true. (On the knockdown) I don’t think he was in good shape. I think he went down to catch his breath. I felt I was more consistent, more active and I pressed the fight throughout.”
A clearly disappointed Agbeko said, “He head butted me in round 10. I don’t think that was fair. The (television) replay clearly shows what happened. I was fighting well to that point. I thought I was winning the fight.
“Perez seemed energized after being awarded the knockdown and I was never the same after his head hit mine. We will never know what would have happened had there not been a head butt.’’
DeMarco (23-1-1, 17 KOs), of Tijuana, the son-in-law of former WBC 122-pound champion Raul “Jibaro’’ Perez, dominated Alfaro (23-5, 20 KOs). Afterward, he made no effort to mask his emotions. He fell to the mat and cried.
“It’s impossible to describe the feeling I have inside me right now,’’ said DeMarco, who dropped Alfaro three times in the 10th before the referee stepped in at 2:07. “My lifelong dream was to become the WBC world champion.
“This is the second happiest day of my life. Only the birth of my daughter comes first. I was a little surprised the referee let the fight go. At one point he (Alfaro) turned around and I knew (at that point) it was only a matter of time.
“For everyone who supported me and helped me when I had nothing, I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”
Said Alfaro, “He used his jab and distance better than I did tonight. That was the difference that I could not overcome. I couldn’t land my punches. I wanted to press him with my right hand. I got a couple of them in, but obviously not enough.”