Margarito Wins Decision Over Perez, Morel Kos Denkaosaen in 11th

Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

13.10 - World Boxing Organization (WBO) Welterweight Champion Antonio Margarito successfully defended his title for the first time when he easily outpointed No. 3 contender Danny Perez Saturday on SHOWTIME. In an exciting battle of unbeatens in the co-feature, Eric Morel impressively retained his World Boxing Association (WBA) flyweight title with an 11th-round knockout over No. 1 contender Kaowichit Denkaosaen. The bouts, the second of three consecutive Saturday telecasts during SHOWTIME's "Socktoberfest," aired at 10 PM ET/PT from the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim. Bob Arum's Top Rank, Inc., promoted the fight card.

Margarito (28-3, 1 NC, 18 KOs), of Tijuana, Mexico, outworked and outhustled the challenger throughout the 12-round match and won by the scores of 120-108 twice and 118-110. Margarito could not floor Perez, but he was dominant throughout his second consecutive convincing victory. In his last start, Margarito captured the vacant WBO 147-pound title with a terrific 10th-round TKO over Antonio Diaz March 16, 2002, on SHOWTIME. Unbeaten since June 1996, Margarito had won 16 consecutive bouts prior to fighting to a no-contest against then-WBO welterweight titleholder Daniel Santos on July 21, 2001, in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. One of those victories came over Perez on June 12, 1999, in Indio, Calif., in a bout in which Margarito got decked in the first round, but rallied to gain an eight-round split decision.

Perez (27-3, 17 KOs), of El Cajon, Calif., by way of Ventura, Calif., was game and never quit trying, but he could not do enough to keep the relentless champion off him. The defeat snapped an 11-fight winning streak for Perez, who had not lost since he dropped the disputed decision to Margarito by the scores of 76-75, 75-76 and 74-77. During the winning streak, which has helped him skyrocket in the world rankings, Perez earned the North American Boxing Association (NABA) and North American Boxing Federation (NABF) 147-pound titles, as well as the California State junior middleweight crown.

Morel (32-0, 18 KOs), of Madison, Wisconsin, by way of San Juan, Puerto Rico, decked the game, previously undefeated Denkaosaen twice in the 11th round. A right hand dropped him the first time. Morel finished off the challenger with a left-right combination. Referee Raul Caiz stopped the crowd-pleasing bout without a count after the second knockdown. Morel, who was ahead by the scores of 99-92 twice and 98-91, was making the fourth defense of the WBA 112-pound title he won on a lopsided 12-round decision over Thailand's Sornpichai Pisnurachank on Aug. 5, 2000, in Madison, Wisconsin.

Denkaosaen (20-1, 8 KOs) of Samui, Thailand, was strong and competitive during the first half of the fight, and hurt and staggered Morel on several occasions. But the young boxer-slugger, who was making his United States debut and first start anywhere outside of his native homeland, began to wilt in the later rounds.

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING's Steve Albert and former world champion Bobby Czyz called the action from ringside with Jim Gray serving as roving reporter. The executive producer of the SHOWTIME telecast was Jay Larkin, with Ray Smaltz producing and Bob Dunphy directing.

SHOWTIME's "Socktoberfest" will conclude on Oct. 19 when Diosbelys Hurtado and "Vicious" Vivian Harris collide in a World Boxing Association (WBA) 140-pound title fight that headlines a fight card in Houston, Tex., that includes bouts featuring unbeaten featherweight Rocky Juarez and undefeated lightweight Juan Diaz.

All Photos © TOM CASINO/SHOWTIME: Choosing to be more aggressive rather than just box, Eric Morel (left) remained unbeaten and successfully defended his WBA flyweight title a fourth time when he registered a crowd-pleasing 11th-round knockout over WBA No. 1 contender Kaowichit Denkaosaen Saturday on SHOWTIME from the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim (Calif.).


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