LAS VEGAS-At times Layla McCarter can look invincible and out of this world, and against Spain’s Lolly Munoz she seemed the better boxer, but not her usual dominating self in capturing the vacant GBU lightweight world title on Friday.
“I wasn’t myself,” said McCarter.
Munoz (8-5-1) ventured to the gambling Mecca from her native Barcelona because she couldn’t find opponents. Now McCarter realizes what keeps the European boxers away, it’s Munoz’ awkward style and physicality that she displayed at Orlean’s Casino. The fight card was promoted by Crown Boxing.
“She seems like she is easy to hit but she just moves back a little and she’s out of range,” said McCarter (31-13-5), who used every trick in her massive bag of sorcery to pull it out.
“A few times she hit me with one-twos and I couldn’t understand why I just took them.”
After a slow start that saw McCarter lunging at punches and getting countered, the clever new champion adjusted firmly in the third round and seemed on the verge of a knockout victory. It just didn’t happen.
A left hook-right hand combination had the Spaniard reeling backward but Munoz would not go down despite the continuous battering in the mid rounds of the fight. After discovering the range for her counters, McCarter took over the fight but never could put on the finishing touches.
“The plan was to knock her out in the first three rounds,” said McCarter who had viewed many tapes of Munoz. “The tapes didn’t really tell you how hard she is to fight. She was not very easy.”
Munoz, a former kickboxing champion, seemed more like a welterweight than lightweight and used her size very well. The first punch of the fight was landed by Munoz right on the left eye of McCarter. That seemed to bother McCarter.
“I never could get untracked,” McCarter said. “That was not the real me.”
Despite not being 100 percent, even 50 percent McCarter is way too much for most anyone, including Munoz.
The judges scored it 100-90, 97-93, 98-82 for McCarter.
“All I can say is Layla is a very, very good boxer in the ring,” said Munoz, who smiled but was disappointed by the judges. “I don’t agree with the judges but Layla is an excellent fight. I would definitely like a rematch.”
McCarter said it was her worst fight in years.
“It was a close fight and it could have been a draw,” said McCarter. “I thought I did enough to win.”
Luis Tapia, who trains McCarter, said it was a poor performance and that he could see it coming.
“She wasn’t doing good in the gym,” said Tapia.
McCarter’s ability to land punches from odd angles and beat Munoz to the punch proved the difference in the fight. Though Munoz landed many blows, they weren’t the same caliber that the Las Vegas boxer was landing.
Munoz’s trainer claimed throughout the fight that his Spanish team was set up.
“They never said we were fighting three-minute rounds,” said the trainer.
McCarter said she can’t wait to get back in the ring after her performance, but despite a let down, she still managed to pull it out with crisper punching.
In the semi main event, undefeated Patrick Liles (7-0-1, 7 KOs) and New Mexico’s Mike Alderete fought a blistering six-round cruiserweight bout that started with Liles dropped from the right hand-left hook combination in the first round. Liles survived. The two battered each other savagely and it ended in a draw 58-56 for Liles, 57-56 for Alderete and 57-57.
Las Vegas veteran Rodrigo Aranda (8-7-2) upset Alaska’s Johnny Taunton (6-1-1) by unanimous decision in a very entertaining six round featherweight bout. Repeated right hands by Aranda scored big for him in gaining the judge’s bid 60-54, 59-55, 58-56.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV