- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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LAS VEGAS -- When Steven Luevano won his featherweight world title on July 14 in England, he did it with power, dropping Nicky Cook five times en route to an impressive 11th-round knockout.
In his first defense on Saturday night, Luevano was more methodical as he dominated Antonio Davis with a hard, steady jab and strong body punching to win a unanimous decision at Mandalay Bay in the co-featured fight on the Manny Pacquiao-Marco Antonio Barrera II undercard.
Luevano (34-1, 15 KOs), who just missed making the 2000 U.S. Olympic team, opened a cut over Davis' left eye as he landed several flush jabs in the eighth. By the 11th, Davis was just trying to survive when Luevano, a southpaw, dropped Davis with a left hand in his own corner right at the bell ending the round.
Davis (24-4, 12 KOs) appeared almost out on his feet in the 12th, eating hard shot after hard shot, but he made it to the final bell.
The scores came as no surprise: 119-108 (twice) and 118-109 for Luevano. ESPN.com had it 117-110 for Luevano, 26, of La Puente, Calif.
"I controlled the fight with my jab," Luevano said. "The first four rounds were a little difficult because of his awkward style. But once I started going to the body he started to slow down and I began to catch him a lot better."
For Davis, 35, of Atlanta, it was his second unsuccessful bid for a world title. He lost a lopsided decision to junior lightweight titlist Joan Guzman in December 2006. After the loss, Davis rebounded with a win and then moved down to featherweight and knocked out prospect Leon Bobo to set up the title shot against Luevano.
Forbes edges Bojado
Junior welterweight Steve Forbes (33-5, 9 KOs) eked out a split decision against Francisco Bojado (18-3, 12 KOs) in a close, entertaining fight that was difficult to score.
Judges Duane Ford (96-94) and Herb Santos (97-93) had it for Forbes while judge Chuck Giampa had it 96-94 for Bojado. ESPN.com also had it 96-94 for Bojado, who landed the heavier blows but was not as active as Forbes.
For Forbes, the runner-up in the second season of "The Contender" reality series, it was vindication after being on the wrong side of a decision loss to Demetrius Hopkins on March 17 in a fight virtually everyone at ringside had Forbes winning easily.
"I definitely felt like I won the fight," said Forbes, 30, who held a junior lightweight world title from 2000 to 2003. "His speed was tricky and he was able to evade my shots even when he got tired, but it was great that I was able to land my uppercut all night. I was landing it at will."
The sixth round was the best of the fight and the one during which Forbes was most effective with his uppercut. They traded for much of the round to the delight of the crowd. Bojado seemed to hurt Forbes early in the round and Forbes rallied late.
Bojado, 24, who was once the top prospect in boxing, thought he did enough to win.
"I thought I won the fight," said Bojado, who said that he hurt his right hand. "I'm really disappointed. I disagree with the judges."
Bojado, his dedication under fire again, failed to make the contract weight of 142 pounds, coming in at 145 at Friday's weigh in. He took off one pound and agreed to pay Forbes $5,000 from his $50,000 purse. With the extra money, Forbes earned $40,000.
The fight was originally scheduled for Sept. 15 but was postponed when the main event, Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Rocky Juarez, was called off because of a hand injury to Marquez.
• Super middleweight Librado Andrade (26-1, 20 KOs), who went down from a left hook in the first round, dropped Yusaf Mack (23-2-2, 14 KOs) three times in the seventh round for a comeback TKO victory in an action-packed fight.
Andrade, 29, usually has an iron chin. Witness his March 24 challenge against super middleweight titleholder Mikkel Kessler in Denmark. Kessler hit him with everything all night, but Andrade never he budged. But Mack cracked him in the opening round and surprisingly sent him to the canvas.
"I thought the world came on top of me when he hit me with that shot in the first round," Andrade said. "I looked up on the [arena] screen and thought to myself, 'What a great shot.' I came here with the flu but I came I away with the [regional USBA] championship. What a sweet feeling."
Mack led 58-55 on all three scorecards, but then came the seventh round. That's when Andrade knocked Mack down three times with body shots before referee Jay Nady called it off at 2:34. According to CompuBox statistics, Andrade landed 36 of 66 power shots in the round.
"I'm OK," said Mack, 27, who led 48-55 on all three scorecards. "I hit him with everything I had and I got a little discouraged because I couldn't hit him with enough."
Mack's only other loss also came via knockout in May 2006, when Alejandro Berrio, who went on to win a world title, stopped him in the sixth round.
• Junior lightweight Vicente Escobedo (15-1, 11 KOs) pounded out a methodical eight-round decision against Miguel Angel Munguia (15-9-1, 13 KOs), who dropped his seventh in a row. Escobedo, a 2004 U.S. Olympian, didn't look sharp but won on scores of 80-72 and 78-74 (twice).
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.
Luevano looked impressive in pounding out a victory over tough Antonio Davis.