LAS VEGAS Ricardo Mayorga, relentlessly throwing punches from every angle, took a majority decision over Vernon Forrest on Saturday night to retain his WBC and WBA welterweight titles.
The win was Mayorga's second over the previously unbeaten Forrest in less than six months.
The brawling Nicaraguan had scored a major upset by handing Forrest his first defeat in 36 fights when he stopped him in the third round of their Jan. 25 bout in California to take the WBC title.
There were no knockdowns in the rematch, but Mayorga rocked Forrest several times, including in the 10th round when he landed a hard combination in the corner before the reeling Forrest was able to clinch.
Two judges favored Mayorga and the third called it a draw.
Ove Oveson scored it 116-112 for Mayorga, and Larry O'Connell had Mayorga winning 115-114. Judge Jerry Roth scored it 114-114.
The colorful Mayorga, who likes his cigarettes and beer, landed almost twice as many power punches 105-66 as Forrest, who tried to box and circle his more aggressive foe. By the 11th round, Mayorga already was holding up his arms in triumph.
Mayorga roused the crowd in the fourth round after Forrest landed a hard jab. Mayorga dropped his gloves and dared Forrest to hit him which Forrest did with a quick combination.
But Mayorga went after him, landing blows as Forrest slipped away on the ropes.
The 29-year-old Mayorga, from Managua, Nicaragua, is 25-3-1, with 23 knockouts. Forrest is 35-2, with 26 knockouts.
Mayorga weighed 146 pounds, and Forrest weighed the limit of 147.
In their January bout in Temecula, Calif., Forrest was coming off consecutive wins over previously undefeated Shane Mosley, two impressive victories that not only gave him the WBC 147-pound title, but also recognition as the 2002 fighter of the year.
But Mayorga, a 6-1 underdog, knocked Forrest down in the first round, then had him helpless against the ropes when referee Marty Denkin waved the fight to a close.
Before the rematch at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas, the outgoing Mayorga was extremely talkative, but Forrest avoided reporters. He apologized late in the week, saying he did not want any distractions.
In another 12-rounder, Vivian Harris unanimously outpointed previously unbeaten Souleymane M'Baye to retain his WBA super lightweight title.
Harris, a native of Guyana who lives in Brooklyn, improved to 23-1-1, and he has 16 knockouts. M'Baye, from France, is 27-1, with 13 knockouts. Harris weighed 139 1/2, and M'Baye weighed 140.
Zab Judah got a split decision to take DeMarcus Corley's WBO junior welterweight title. Judah (29-1, 21 knockouts) said he broke his left hand early in the fight and was limited to using his jab the rest of the way.
Judah (29-1, 21 knockouts) weighed 140 and Corley (29-1-1, 16 knockouts) weighed 139 1/2 for their 12-round bout.
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