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Jeff Lacy Survives Epifanio, Barely

BY David A. Avila ON July 22, 2008
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CABAZON-Colombia’s Epifanio Mendoza proved when given enough time to prepare, even a former world champion like Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy will find himself in a life and death-like struggle.

Mendoza (28-6-1, 24 KOs) nearly kayoed Lacy and dominated the second half of the fight and proved if given enough time to train properly and plan strategy he belongs among the elite super middleweights in the world on Wednesday.

Ask Lacy.

“I survived the storm cause I’m a warrior,” said Lacy (24-1, 17 KOs) who was hurt numerous times during the 10-round fight. “I took on someone who is a puncher.”

Lacy and Mendoza traded numbing blows throughout their encounter, but it was the Colombian boxer who won over the crowd by overcoming a strong start by the former world champion.

A left hook to the body by the Colombian opened up a lot of holes in Lacy’s defense. After the sixth round it was Mendoza doing most of the damage.

The judges scored it a majority decision for Lacy 95-95, 97-93 and 96-94 for the former champion.

Boos cascaded when the decision was announced.

“I won the fight,” said Mendoza. “This is embarrassing for the public. I commanded the fight from the sixth round on.”

Moreno Valley’s Kaliesha West (10-0, 2 KOs) met Elizabeth Cervantes (2-9) for the second time in her career and proved she had learned her weaknesses. A double left hook to the body and head followed by a right cross dropped the Mexican fighter for a technical knockout victory in 55 seconds. Cervantes had only been stopped before by Las Vegas Melinda Cooper.

Cervantes was a late replacement. The original opponent, Cynthia Talmadge, was not allowed to fight after failing an eye examination. The California State Athletic Commission canceled her as West’s opposition. Cervantes accepted the fight on Tuesday night. She had fought West a year ago and lost a four round decision.

In Wednesday’s fight, West saw an opening and unloaded a crisp and powerful three-punch combination for a quick knockout.

“I wasn’t even looking for the knockout,” said West, who gained her second knockout. “I’m more relaxed now so I’m punching harder and sitting down on my punches.”

Other bouts

Lightweight contender Jose Armando Santa Cruz started slowly against Mexico City’s Miguel Munguia (16-13-1, 13 KO)s), but after the first round he simply took over the fight and dominated. An added incentive was knowing former foe and lightweight champion Joel Casamayor was in the audience. A left hook to Munguia’s stomach ended the fight at 42 seconds of round five.

“I knew Casamayor was watching me,” said Santa Cruz (26-3, 15 KOs) who lost a highly controversial split decision to the Cuban fighter last year. “I did a good job but the judges didn’t see it that way.”

Santa Cruz seeks a rematch with Casamayor for the title.

Brooklyn prospect Daniel Jacobs (8-0, 8 KOs) did what former world champion Vernon Forrest and current WBO welterweight titleholder Paul Williams were unable to do... knock out Oxnard’s Sergio Rios (18-9, 16 KOs)  in one round. A right hand over Rios guard caught him on the jaw for a knockout at 2:46 of the first round.

Las Vegas heavyweight Henry Namauu (2-2) accepted a fight on 24-hour notice, jumped on a plane to take medicals at 6 a.m. the next morning in San Pedro, and with little sleep stepped in the ring to face hard-hitting Seth Mitchell (4-0, 4 KOs) of Maryland. He was knocked down twice and knocked out with a final right cross on the chin at 1:30, but proved his mettle in landing more than a few blows of his own. It was a gutsy effort by Namauu.

Puerto Rico’s Carlos Velasquez (8-0, 7 KOs) fired a right hand through David Vazquez’s (17-13-3, 10 KOs) guard for a second round knockout at 1:12 of the second round of a featherweight bout.

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