STATELINE, Nev. (Nov. 5, 2005) Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy made what may have been his last fight at 168 pounds a memorable one.
Photo © Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
In yet another impressive, devastating performance, Lacy demolished Scott “The Sandman’’ Pemberton, flooring the No. 5 contender two times en route to retaining his International Boxing Federation (IBF) super middleweight crown with a second-round knockout Saturday on SHOWTIME. In a second title match on the world championship doubleheader, IBF bantamweight titleholder Rafael Marquez had a surprisingly easy time as he successfully defended his belt with a thrilling fourth-round TKO over previously unbeaten IBF No. 1 contender Silence Mabuza.
The bouts at Caesars Tahoe were promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, and aired at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
Lacy (21-0, 17 KOs), of St. Petersburg, Fla., showed once again why many consider him not only the most talented 168-pounder in the world, but one of the most exciting boxer-punchers in any weight division. He decked the game but outclassed Pemberton with a right hand to the head early in the second. The challenger made it to his feet and attempted to fight back but went down again, this time from a vicious overhand right in the closing seconds of the round. The referee stopped the contest without a count at 2:59.
The defense was the fourth for the well-conditioned Lacy, who became the first 2000 Olympian to capture a world title when he won the IBF crown with an eighth-round TKO over Syd Vanderpool Oct. 2, 2004, on SHOWTIME. After his 14th appearance on SHOWTIME, Lacy called out fellow unbeaten Joe Calzaghe, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight kingpin, and 175-world champion Antonio Tarver.
Pemberton (29-4-1, 24 KOs), of Fair Haven, Mass., entered his first world title fight of his 12-year career on a five-bout winning streak. Making his first appearance before a paying audience in a little more than 12 months, Pemberton came to win. But Lacy simply was too strong and powerful. The defeat was Pemberton’s first since August 2002.
Marquez (35-3, 31 KOs), of Mexico City, Mexico, was magnificent as he landed countless hard right and left hands to the head and body. He scored a knockdown in the first from a picturesque left hook, and had won every round when an excellent slugfest was halted because of cuts 2:08 into the fourth round. The successful title defense was the sixth for Marquez, whose 14th consecutive triumph also earned him the International Boxing Organization (IBO) bantamweight title. The brother of Juan Manuel Marquez, Rafael won the IBF 118-pound belt with an eighth-round knockout over previously undefeated champion Tim Austin on Feb. 23, 2002.
Mabuza (18-1, 15 KOs), of Johannesburg, South Africa, performed gallantly throughout and got in his fair share of solid shots, but he was done in by several cuts around the eyes. Mabuza seemed to recover in the second after going down for the first time in his career, but he was cut above the right eye and below the left eye in the third. The bout was stopped due to the cut over the right eye. Mabuza’s cornermen claimed the cut was caused by a headbutt, but the referee ruled it was the result of a punch. Mabuza had captured the IBO bantamweight title in only his 11th professional bout by knocking out Jose Sanjuanelo in the sixth round on March 2, 2002, in Brakpan, South Africa.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING’s Steve Albert and Al Bernstein called the action from ringside with Jim Gray serving as roving reporter. The executive producer of the SHOWTIME telecast was Jay Larkin, with David Dinkins producing and Bob Dunphy directing.
In addition to Monday night, Saturday’s fights also will be replayed in their entirety on SHOWTIME TOO at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
For information on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and “ShoBox: The New Generation” telecasts, including complete fighter bios and records, related stories and more, please go the SHOWTIME website at http://www.sho.com/boxing.