Lacy defends his title |

Lacy defends his title

Nevada Appeal Boxing Columnist

STATELINE – IBF super middleweight king Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy turned in perhaps his most impressive victory as a professional, knocking down Scott “The Sandman” Pemberton with a vicious right hand at 2 minutes, 59 seconds of the second round.

It was the fourth title defense for Lacy, 168, St. Petersburg, Fla., who headlined an eight-round card at Caesars Palace. The 28-year-old Lacy, now 21-0 (17) with 1 no-contest, also scored floored Pemberton, 168, New Bedford, Mass., 29-4-1 (24), with a three-punch combination earlier in the round.

The 38-year-old Pemberton tried to keep off the charging Lacy, but to no avail as the champion relentlessly walked through everything Pemberton had to offer.

Lacy said he looked forward to fighting WBO titlist Joe Calzaghe next, but if he’s unsuccessful in getting the Welshman – who has defended his belt 17 times – into the ring, he hopes to step up and challenge world light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver.

In the co-main event Rafael Marquez, 118, 35-3 (31), also turned in perhaps his best performance to date, stopping rugged contender Silence Mabuza, 118, 18-1 (15), Johannesburg, South Africa, at 2:08 of round four.

Referee Norm Budden stopped the contest on the advice of ringside physician Steven Brown, because of a huge gash over Mabuza’s right eye. The 30-year-old Marquez also floored Mabuza with a left hook in the first round and cut him under the left eye as well.

It was Marquez’s sixth title defense.

Marquez said he’d be willing to give a rematch to Mabuza, who claimed the gash was caused by a headbutt. Officials from Showtime said replays showed the fight-ending cut came from a clash of heads. If the fight was stopped because of the alleged butt instead of the punch Budden said caused it, the fight would’ve been declared a no-contest.

Reno’s Joey Gilbert and James North, of Weston, W. Va., supplied the most exciting fight of the night, with Gilbert, 166, 10-1 (7), scoring a unanimous six-round decision over the game North, 164, 7-8-1 (2).

In other action:

– Shane Cameron, 225, 14-0 with 12 knockouts, Auckland, New Zealand, took a 10-round majority decision over veteran James Walton, 218, 21-7-2 (11), Cleveland.

– Nonito Donaire, 116, 13-1 (8), San Leandro, Calif., adjusted to the southpaw style of cagey veteran Ilido Manuel Julio, 35-7-1 (31), Turbo, Columbia, to take an eight-round unanimous decision. Julio lost a point for a low blow in the fourth round and was knocked down twice in the eighth.

– Glenn Donaire, 111, 15-2 (9), San Leandro, stopped Benito Abraham, 113, Tijuana, in the sixth and final round.

– Chazz Witherspoon, 226, 9-0 (6), Philadelphia, took a unanimous six-round decision over Demetrice King, 252, 9-11 (7), Flint, Mich.

– Antonio de Marco, 132, 5-0 (4), Tijuana, stopped Ricky Alexander, 129, 4-2 (3), Oklahoma City, with a combination in the second round of a scheduled four. De Marco also dropped Alexander with a right hand in the first.

Note: A combination of a computer snafu at Caesars and deadline issues contributed to the absence of more detailed information and quotes from the fighters, but please read Tuesday’s boxing column for a complete recap.