tampabay.com

Woods puts on a two-round show

Who would have guessed longtime St. Petersburg fighter Darrell Woods would turn in one of the most exciting performances of the night, as he stopped the younger and supposedly stronger Levan Easley in the second round?

By IZZY GOULD and BRANDON WRIGHT
Published December 3, 2006


TAMPA - Who would have guessed longtime St. Petersburg fighter Darrell Woods would turn in one of the most exciting performances of the night, as he stopped the younger and supposedly stronger Levan Easley in the second round?

Well, just about everybody who knows him, really.

"Darrell, we know he's going to put on a good fight," said Winky Wright, who kept a promise he made a long time ago that when he returned to do a fight in Tampa, he'd make sure Woods got his chance.

"I'm going on," said a happy Woods, who had said at Friday's weigh-in that he would retire if he lost.

Now 39 and at the end of a career that had its moments of brilliance and a split second of hope, Woods was just happy to get a piece of Saturday's action.

Once a promising amateur at the St. Pete Boxing Club, he shared long trips with Wright and David Santos to state and national tournaments. He shared pro cards with Wright.

But while Wright took off, Woods only flirted with championships as a fringe contender.

You can say this about Woods - he always put on a good show.

Judging by the fans' reaction, they wouldn't mind seeing if he can do it one more time.

REMATCH, SAME RESULT: Carlos Rivera emerged from his dressing room with a bruised cheek and red eyes. He had fury in his step and redemption on his lips.

The biggest rematch of his career slipped by in a loss to Jose Hernandez ruled a majority decision. One judge scored it 56-56, the other two had it 58-54 and 57-55 for Hernandez.

"Back to the drawing board," Rivera, 28, said. "Hopefully I get him again, but I'm not going to be desperate and turn around and want to fight him again."

The Port Richey resident had never fought in a shell as large as the St. Pete Times Forum, and never in front of more than a few hundred fans. This was a great chance to clobber Hernandez after falling to him last year by TKO in St. Petersburg.

Rivera 9-4-1 was dropped by Hernandez (8-6) in the third round and thought he lost the fight because he fought off the ropes in the later rounds of the six-round event.

"I think that's what got me in trouble, even though nothing was really hurting me," Rivera said. "The thing about fighting against the ropes (is) the judge behind you doesn't see what's going on. I'm not disappointed about the way I fought."

He said he hopes to fight again soon.

BOOM BOOM: Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista has been touted as one of the up-and-coming bantamweights. Promoter Oscar De La Hoya called Bautista "the best 118-pound prospect" during Wednesday's news conference.

Saturday he showed what all the fuss is about.

Bautista ran his record to 21-0 with a fourth-round technical knockout of Giovanni Andrade.

The 36-year-old Brazilian was unable to come out of his corner just as the bell for the fourth round tolled.

"I thought I fought a good fight and did what I had to do to win this fight," Bautista said. "(Andrade) was a very experienced fighter and I knew what to do to beat him."

Bautista hit Andrade (52-10, 43 KOs) with several body shots in the third and Andrade looked to be in considerable pain as he sat in his corner between rounds. Andrade's camp said he injured his ribs two weeks ago. Bautista said he was not aware of any injury to his opponent.

"My tactics are always to go to the body," Bautista said. "I could see, though, when I hit him in the body that he was starting to run away."

Bautista was ahead on all three judges' cards when referee Jorge Alonso stopped the fight.

Izzy Gould can be reached at igould@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4612 and Brandon Wright can be reached at bwright@sptimes.com or (727) 892-2216.