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Boxing briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 9, 2000

Rematch pays off for Ayala

LAS VEGAS -- Paulie Ayala had to take less money and fight at a heavier weight to meet Johnny Tapia again. After beating Tapia for the second time, though, Ayala said the toughest thing about the fight was "getting him to accept defeat."

That may never happen, considering the way Saturday night's rematch ended with Tapia outraged over the decision. He rushed from the ring and refused to participate in a post-fight news conference, while some fans brawled in the stands over the outcome of the 12-round bout.

"It wasn't even close. He didn't touch me," Tapia said. "I thought I won nine of the 12 rounds."

But all three judges thought Ayala won again in the rematch of the June 1999 bantamweight title fight that was nominated as the fight of the year.

Two judges had Ayala winning 115-113 and a third had it 116-112.

"I dictated the fight," Ayala said. "Johnny was busy but he wasn't landing the shots. It was a war. Hopefully, all the fans enjoyed it."

The two went toe-to-toe at times, but there were no knockdowns. To get the fight, Ayala had to agree on a contract weight of 124, above the 118-pound WBA bantamweight title he holds, and take $425,000 to $600,000 for Tapia.

Tapia, who in June was hospitalized for depression and then shot at in a roadside altercation, lost for only the second time.

Tapia (48-2-2) lost the first fight by a similar close decision, but the 33-year-old was still an 8-5 favorite in the rematch.

Tapia changed tactics for the second fight, moving more and trying to pick his spots against Ayala instead of simply slugging it out with the 118-pound champion. He was effective much of the fight, but Ayala seemed to land the harder shots.

"This was just as tough as the first fight," said Ayala, who is 31-1.

A 4th-round KO

MONTVILLE, Conn. -- Heavyweight Kirk Johnson knocked out Oleg Maskaev 59 seconds into the fourth round Saturday.

It was the fourth time that Johnson floored Maskaev. The third knockdown sent Maskaev through the ropes and onto a judge.

Johnson, 30-0-1 with 22 knockouts, was ranked fifth by the WBC, ninth by the WBA and 10th by the IBF. Maskaev, 20-3-0 with 15 KOs, was ranked fourth, sixth and eighth by the WBA, WBC and IBF, respectively.

On the undercard, Lance Whitaker (22-1, 18 knockouts) stopped Robert Davis (22-1, 14 knockouts) with 2:39 left in the second round of their heavyweight bout.

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