Leija rallies from second-round knockdown

Updated: July 24, 2004, 11:04 PM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Outfighting an opponent 17 years his junior, Jesse James Leija won a split decision over Francisco Bojado in a 10-round junior welterweight bout Saturday night.

The 38-year-old Leija, of San Antonio, rallied from a second-round knockdown on the strength of crisp punching and smart defense to win the fight, which was the co-feature on the Arturo Gatti-Leonard Dorin WBC title card.

Judges John Stewart and George Hill had Leija, 96-93 and 95-94, respectively. Judge Luis Rivera had it 99-94 for Bojado. The AP had Leija by 96-93.

The 21-year-old Bojado, of Los Angeles, looked to have the upper hand early, staggering Leija (47-6-2) with a left hook to the head midway through the second, and then dropping him with the same punch later in the round.

Leija, who took a five-count, seemed no worse for the wear after that.

He attacked Bojado (16-2) with hard combinations and enjoyed his best round in the seventh, landing five hard rights to the head in the round, all of them snapping Bojado's head backward as he leaned against the ropes.

"Whenever you get dropped, you have to get right back up and act like you're not hurt, whether you are or not," Leija said.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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