Saul Montana Defends Title With Third-Round TKO Over China Smith

05.10 - Saul "La Cobra" Montana successfully defended his National Boxing Association (NBA) Heavyweight title with a third- round TKO over China Smith in a rematch Saturday on "ShoBox: The New Generation." In the eight-round co-feature, Undefeated 2000 Dominican Olympian Jerson Ravelo won a unanimous decision over George Walton in a crowd- pleasing fight. "ShoBox" completed its second year on SHOWTIME Saturday, October 5th.

SHOWTIME aired the HCG Five Star Promotions fight card, the 27th in a series of "ShoBox" telecasts, at 5 p.m. ET/PT from USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida.

Montana (37-11, 33 KOs), of Los Cabos, Mexico, defended his National Boxing Association (NBA) title in a rematch by gaining a third-round technical knockout over China Smith. Montana knocked Smith to the canvas three times in the third-round before referee Max Parker Jr. stopped the fight. He captured the fringe (NBA) heavyweight crown in his last bout by stopping Smith in the seventh round on April 19, 2002, in Tampa. The two-time world title challenger, who has held his own against Virgil Hill and Vassiliy Jirov, has won seven pro crowns since turning pro at age 17 in May 1988. After earning five titles as a light heavyweight, Montana moved up to heavyweight and scored a third-round knockout over Carlos Sandoval on Oct. 27, 2001, in La Paz, Mexico, to add the ABMH championship to his resume.

Smith (23-2, 22 KOs), of Sarasota, Fla., lost his second consecutive fight to Saul Montana. He was not aggressive enough and paid the price in the third round. He registered a 12-round unanimous decision over Derrell Dixon on April 7, 2001, to win the NBA International heavyweight title. Less than four months later on Aug. 3, 2001, "The Dragon" stopped Tony La Rosa in the third round for the NBA championship. The Florida native, who made his 20th Tampa appearance in 25 bouts on Oct. 5, has tallied 12 first-round, four second- round and five third-round knockouts. Smith opened the 2002 campaign with consecutive non-title bout victories over Mark Bradley (first-round KO) on Jan. 18 and Dan Ward (third-round KO) on Feb. 15, prior to watching his 23- bout winning streak come to an end at the hands of Montana.

Ravelo (12-0, 8 KOs), of Newark, N.J., by way of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, dominated Walton in every round and knocked his opponent to the canvas in the fourth-round with a barrage of punches. Ravelo won the eight- round unanimous decision with the scores of 78-73 by judge Jay Kassees, 77-74 by judge Alex Levin and 79-72 by judge Frank Skilbred. He culminated a stellar amateur career by representing the Dominican Republic at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. In addition to the Olympic honor, Ravelo defeated Jeff Lacy en route to capturing a gold medal at the 1999 United States Challenge Cup, and was named the 1998 and '99 New Jersey Hall of Fame Amateur Boxer of the Year. The Newark resident, who turned pro at age 23 on Jan. 27, 2001, has knocked out eight opponents within three rounds, including five in the opening stanza. In his last bout, the 25-year-old Ravelo stopped Aaron Norwood in the third round on April 27, 2002, in New York.

Walton (11-2, 7 KOs), of New York, N.Y., lost his second consecutive eight round unanimous decision after facing Ravelo tonight in Tampa. He saw his undefeated record come to an abrupt end in his last bout when he dropped a unanimous eight-round decision to Derrick Whitley on March 21, 2002, in Glen Burnie, Md. He defeated two opponents per year through the first five years of his career (1997-2001). The New Yorker, who will celebrate his 30th birthday the day following the SHOWTIME telecast, opened 2002 by scoring a third-round TKO over Elvis Alexander on Jan. 17 in Glen Burnie.

"ShoBox: The New Generation" features up-and-coming prospects determined to make a mark and eventually fight for a chance at a world title. The best of the new generation of hungry, young boxers will have an opportunity to showcase their talent and heart as they battle each other in competitive fights in front of a national television audience. "ShoBox: The New Generation" is pure, basic boxing, reminiscent of the golden days of the sport.

SHOWTIME televises "ShoBox: The New Generation" at 5 p.m. ET/PT on Saturdays approximately every other week. The telecast will repeat the next day, Sunday, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME and the following Saturday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME TOO.

Nick Charles called the action from ringside, with Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producers of the telecast were Jay Larkin and Gordon Hall, with Richard Gaughan producing


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