LAS VEGAS (Oct. 31, 2009) – 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.”
Steve Albert called the action with Al Bernstein serving as color commentator and Jim Gray as ringside reporter. The producer of Saturday’s telecast was Ray Smaltz with Bob Dunphy directing. The executive producer of SHOWTIME Sports is David Dinkins, Jr.
Saturday’s bouts will re-air as follows:
Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 11 p.m. ET/PT SHOWTIME 2
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast also will be available On Demand beginning Tuesday, Nov. 3, and running through Nov. 30.
SHOWTIME Boxing Schedule: On Saturday, Nov. 21, at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., the Super Six World Boxing Classic will resume when WBA super middleweight champion Mikkel “Viking Warrior’’ Kessler (41-1, 31 KOs) of Denmark defends against unbeaten local favorite and 2004 Olympic Games gold medalist Andre “S.O.G.’’ Ward (19-0, 12 KOs) of Oakland.
Promising undefeated lightweight John Molina (18-0, 14 KOs) will face Martin Honorio (25-4, 13 KOs) in the 10-round main event on a special Saturday edition of ShoBox: The New Generation on Nov. 28 (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast). In the co-feature at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif., Rico Ramos (13-2, 8 KOs) will be opposed by Alejandro Perez (14-1, 9 KOs) in an eight-round super bantamweight bout.
In a terrific battle of unbeatens in the Saturday, Dec. 12 main event at Aqua Caliente Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast), World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm’’ Bradley (24-0, 11 KOs) of Palm Springs, Calif., will defend against Lamont “Havoc’’ Peterson (27-0, 13 KOs) of Washington, D.C. In the co-feature, Vic Darchinyan (32-2-1, 26 KOs) will risk his WBC and WBA 115-pound belts against Tomas Rojas (31-11-1, 22 KOs).
For more information on “ShoBox: The New Generation” and all SHOWTIME Sports telecasts, including complete INSIDE THE NFL, Strikeforce and boxing video, photos and more, please go to http://sports.sho.com/