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Boxing: Boxing: Spadafora Held to Draw by Dorin

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posted on May, 18 2003 @ 05:55 PM
Associated Press - May 17, 2003

PITTSBURGH - Paul Spadafora, outpunched most of the fight and never able to get any momentum going despite a vocal hometown crowd, and Leonard Dorin fought to a draw Saturday night in a lightweight title unification fight.

Both fighters hoped the bout would be a springboard to a bout with WBC champion Floyd Mayweather that would unite all three titles, but the draw only further muddles the division.

Dorin (20-0-1), the WBA champion, was 5 inches shorter but came out the aggressor and stayed that way much of the fight, landing far more punches - and more damaging ones - in the early rounds.

Spadafora (36-0-1), the IBF champion who usually gets off to slow starts only to finish with a flurry, never seemed in danger of going down despite being on the defensive most of the bout and came back in the later rounds with combinations and counter punches that scored.

Dorin, a two-time Olympic bronze medalist for Romania, opened a cut over Spadafora's right eye that bled most of the fight. Spadafora finally opened a cut above Dorin's right eye in the 11th.

After the eighth, it appeared Spadafora might need to win the final four rounds to get even a draw, and those were his best rounds. He repeatedly shook his head whenever Dorin landed a punch to indicate no damage was done.

By the 10th, Dorin was unable to do the damage along the ropes he did in the early rounds, when he was so effective that Spadafora's own corner was yelling for him to keep moving.

When the bout ended, the crowd of about 7,000 in Pitt's basketball arena clearly seemed to think Spadafora - who calls himself the "Pittsburgh Kid," the same tag once given Billy Conn - would get the decision.

But judge Pat Russell of California scored it 115-113 Dorin, judge Gueremo Perez of Panama had it 115-114 Spadafora, and judge Gary Merritt of Indiana had a 114-114 draw, the first time either fighter hasn't come out a winner in his pro career.

Dorin, 33, and Spadafora, 27, got $500,000 for the title unification fight, the largest payday for each fighter. Of Spadafora's nine fights since becoming the IBF champion in August 1999, it was the eighth in Pittsburgh or the surrounding area.

Spadafora, who has admitted to having a less-than-dedicated approach at times, trained harder for this fight than any in his career. He sold his house in McKees Rocks, only about two miles from downtown Pittsburgh, to reduce the temptations to party while in training. He worked out for 11 weeks in two different Californias - six weeks in Los Angeles and five at a rural California, Pa., boxing camp.

Spadafora hoped a victory would elevate him into the upper echelon of lighter-weight boxers and push him closer to the seven-figure paydays that the top champions make.

In the main preliminary bout, former U.S. Olympian Jermain Taylor won by technical knockout at 2:37 of the fourth round over Nicolas Cervera of Colombia. Taylor dominated the fight, knocking Cervera down four times, three in the fourth round.

posted on May, 18 2003 @ 05:57 PM
This was a great fight. I dont know if you guys saw it but it was awesome. Can't wait for the rematch when it happens.

posted on May, 18 2003 @ 05:58 PM
Associated Press - May 18, 2003

PITTSBURGH (AP) - There was only one unanimous opinion after the Paul Spadafora-Leonard Dorin lightweight title unification fight ended with a most unanticipated outcome: a draw.

Their next fight will be a rematch, not the expected bout against WBC champion Floyd Mayweather that would have united all three major titles.

Spadafora (36-1-0), the IBF champion, rallied with counter punches to the body and point-scoring combinations in the later rounds Saturday night to overcome Dorin's early domination and avoid his first career loss.

On a night when no two scorecards, unofficial or not, resembled each other, judge Pat Russell of La Mesa, California, scored it 115-113 for Dorin. Judge Gueremo Perez of Panama had it 115-114 for Spadafora. Judge Gary Merritt of Muncie, Indiana, had it 114-114.

Spadafora was fighting before his hometown fans in a bout he was expected to win, yet was fortunate to get the draw. Dorin had a 344-259 advantage in punches landed, according to the CompuBox computerized scoring system.

That's why the boxer who calls himself the Pittsburgh Kid is willing to travel to Romania, Dorin's homeland, for the rematch. That's a change for Spadafora, who has left the Pittsburgh area only once in eight fights since winning the IBF title in 1999.

``We're going to do a rematch, without a doubt,'' promoter Mike Acri said. ``It was a great fight.''

If a TV deal can be landed - each boxer got $500,000 for the fight Saturday - a September rematch is likely.

``I'm prepared to fight anywhere in the world,'' Spadafora said. ``But he came to my hometown to fight, and I'll go to his hometown to fight.''

Spadafora couldn't exploit his height advantage until the final three rounds. He had cuts above and below his right eye that bled most of the bout.

Dorin (20-1-0), the WBA champion and two-time Olympic bronze medalist, came out the aggressor and stayed that way until the last few rounds, landing more punches and more damaging ones. Spadafora wanted to prove he could trade punches and work from the inside out, but, in doing so, allowed Dorin to pile up an edge in points.

``I cannot say if I won or lost,'' Dorin said. ``It was between two champions. ... It was a good fight, but I didn't lose that fight.''

Until this fight, Spadafora preferred a defensive style, jabbing, moving and staying out of trouble until his opponent got tired. Only then would he become more aggressive, trying to land punches rather than duck them.

``If I had to do it over, I probably would do the fight the same way,'' Spadafora said. ``But I'd throw more punches and mix it up more. ... I felt like I was doing what I needed to do to win the fight, but I should have done more.''

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