BAUTISTA WINS, EARNS CRACK AT WORLD TITLE
By Ronnie Nathanielsz
06 May 2007
Undefeated Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista kept his unblemished record in tact with a hard-fought unanimous twelve round decision over hitherto undefeated Argentinean Sergio “Rocky” Medina in a WBO world title eliminator on the undercard of “The World Awaits” mega fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
All three judges scored the fight by a wide margin for Bautista who was the aggressor most of the way but the scorecards hardly reflected the closeness of an exciting bout which served as the toughest test for the 20 year old emerging ring sensation from the famed ALA Gym of respected boxing patron Tony Aldeguer.
Dave Moretti had Bautista the winner 116-108, CJ Ross 115-109 while Paul Smith also scored it 115-109 for the kid from Candijay, Bohol who improved his record to 23-0 with 17 knockouts while Medina who proved tough as well as smart, dropped to 28-1 with 22 KO’s.
Earlier at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, super flyweight AJ “Bazooka” Banal made an impressive US debut with a unanimous eight round decision over Mexico’s Juan Alberto Rosas. Two of the three judges had the 18 year old southpaw Banal winning comfortably 78-73 but a third judge had the Filipino winning by a slim 76-75 margin. Banal was deducted one point for a low blow.
The Bautista-Medina showdown was an action-packed bout from the opening bell and with the win Bautista earned a crack at the world title currently held by Daniel Ponce De Leon who in his last fight struggled to overcome former WBC super flyweight champion Gerry Penalosa and won a controversial twelve round decision to retain his title.
Bautista who was cautioned for low blows overcame a one point deduction by referee Robert Byrd in round five where the low blow appeared to be marginal and a standing eight count in the eighth when Medina clearly staggered Bautista with a solid combination and the Filipino held on to the ropes to apparently keep from going down. But Bautista quickly recovered, grit his teeth and continued to fight back. It was also in round five that Bautista suffered a cut below his left eyebrow which Byrd claimed was from a legitimate blow but which television replays clearly indicated was caused by an accidental head-butt. Medina was cautioned on more than one occasion for a clash of heads which seemed to fire up Bautista although at times he appeared to be bothered by the cut which Medina targeted with quick combinations.
Bautista began with a series of energy-sapping body shots in the opening round and then rocked Medina with a left hook but the Argentinean fought back with some effective counter-punches even as Byrd warned Bautista for his first low blow. After Bautista connected with a vicious left hook at the start of round two Medina hurt Bautista with another flurry of counter-punches using his quickness to advantage.
When Bautista nailed Medina with a perfectly-timed cracking right hand that landed flush on the mouth of the Argentinean and distorted his face sending him crashing to the canvas in the eleventh round, it accentuated the courage of Bautista who doesn’t know how to back off and as celebrated trainer Freddie Roach has often said, wants to kill people in the ring especially if he gets hurt.
Bautista scored the first knockdown of the fight in the sixth round when he caught Medina with a left hook as the Argentinean was moving back and slightly off balance.
In the end it was the unabated aggression of Bautista which accounted for the big margins on the scorecards of the judges as he connected with several solid combinations to win most of the close rounds.
If the plans of Oscar De La Hoya to visit the Philippines next month pushes through then it is almost certain that Bautista will headline the Philippines-Mexico World Cup showdown in Manila sometime in September.
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