Soto scores dominant KO over Pacquiao in 7th round

Updated: June 10, 2007, 1:27 AM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- One Pacquiao down, one to go.

Junior lightweight contender Humberto Soto set up a possible fall fight with star 130-pounder Manny Pacquiao by systematically destroying his brother, Bobby Pacquiao, in a dominant seventh-round knockout at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.

The fight was one of the featured bouts on the Miguel Cotto-Zab Judah undercard.

Soto, of Mexico, is on the short list to fight Manny Pacquiao, who was ringside to watch his brother, on Oct. 6. Promoter Bob Arum, who handles both fighters, is scheduled to meet with Manny Pacquiao and his team to discuss the fall opponent on Sunday. They wanted to wait until after Saturday night's fight because Soto was a candidate.

He certainly made his case for the fight he wants.

"Bobby Pacquiao is a real warrior," Soto said. "But Manny is much busier, throws a lot more punches and hits harder."

Soto (42-5-2, 26 KOs) got off to a strong start and never slowed down. He hurt Pacquiao (27-13-3) early in the first round with a body shot and then dropped him with a wide left hand with a few seconds left in the round.

Soto had a huge second round, peppering Pacquiao, of the Philippines, with hard lefts and body punches and making him cover up. In the third round, Soto's assault continued as he mixed in accurate uppercuts with both hands. The best Pacquiao could do was hit Soto low as the round came to end, prompting a warning from referee Gary Rosado.

Soto, 27, continued to dominate in the fourth. He cut Pacquiao, 27, over the right eye and made his nose bleed, but just as it looked like Soto might get the stoppage, Pacquiao landed a right hand that sent Soto reeling.

Soto, who earned $150,000, got himself together quickly and jumped back into the battle as they brought to the crowd to its feet with toe-to-toe action.

Pacquiao, who made $135,000, showed heart to last into the seventh round, but then Soto finished him. He landed a right that staggered Pacquiao and followed with a body blow that dropped him to his knees in the corner, where he took the full count at 1:48.

"I felt Bobby fought very bravely," said Freddie Roach, who trains both Pacquiaos. "He caught him with a couple of good shots and hurt him. Soto was much too strong for Bobby."

Chavez Jr. avenges father's loss

Welterweight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., gained a measure of revenge for his iconic father, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.

Chavez Jr. dropped Grover Wiley three times with the trademark left hook to the body used by father and son to score a third-round knockout.

On Sept. 17, 2005, Wiley sent Chavez Sr. into retirement, making him quit on his stool after the fifth round.

Wiley has now lost all four of his bouts since that landmark victory as Chavez Jr. blew him out with his father at ringside.

Chavez Jr. (32-0-1, 25 KOs) dropped Wiley (30-10-1) with a body shot followed by a left uppercut late in the first round and he never stopped targeting Wiley's body.

After the second knockdown of the third round, Wiley grimaced while on all fours as he was counted out.

"I was done after the first liver shot [in the first round]," Wiley said. "He must have hit me there 20 more times."

Chavez Jr. will fight Aug. 5 on the undercard of the David Diaz-Erik Morales fight in Chicago and if he wins and action star Arturo Gatti beats Alfonso Gomez on July 14, they will meet in November on pay-per-view.

• New York junior middleweight Yuri Foreman (23-0), originally from Belarus, came on strong in the second half of his fight with Philadelphia's Anthony Thompson (23-2) to pull out a 10-round split decision in the televised opener.

Two judges scored for Foreman, 97-93 and 96-94, and one judge had it 96-94 for Thompson.

It wasn't an official elimination bout, but it might as well have been. Representatives for Germany-based 154-pound titlist Sergei Dzindziruk were in the house to scout the fight with the intention of offering a title shot to the winner.

Foreman looked worse for the wear when it was over with a cut over his right eye that trickled from the wound and smeared through his hair. But it didn't matter.

"I could have gone a couple of more rounds," Foreman said. "I feel like he was getting tired toward the end of the fight."

Thompson, who was favored to win, was surprised at the decision.

"He didn't want to fight. I came to fight," Thompson said, whose only previous defeat came via knockout to Grady Brewer, the winner of the second season of "The Contender" reality series. "Definitely, I thought I won. He grabbed and made it look real ugly."

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.