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A NIGHT AT THE FIGHTS


By: Kenneth Hall

If you get a chance to see a championship fight in Las Vegas, you are in for a night of excitement. I have attended several in the past couple of months, and I would like to share three of the best of them with you.

To see Oscar De La Hoya in person is any boxing fan's dream. A good crowd was on hand to see three world title fights at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The MGM Grand is called The City of Entertainment, and the staff makes you feel right at home.

The fight between De La Hoya and WBC Super Welterweight Champion Javier Castillejo started off fast as De La Hoya almost knocked Castillejo down less than one minute into the fight with a hard right. Castillejo battled hard, but Oscar won with a unanimous decision, losing only the 10th round and knocking down Castillejo in the final seconds of the 12th round.

The win gave De La Hoya the belt in a fifth weight class, making him the third fighter in history with that distinction. Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns were the only other fighters to achieve this feat.

At Caesars Palace Pavilion, Sugar Shane Mosley put his WBC Welterweight belt on the line against Adrian Stone.

Caesars is filled with as much fight history as any arena in the world. This fight was the 160th world championship bout to take place at Caesars Palace. A new theater, the Coliseum, is under construction and is slated to open in 2003.




Stone appeared to be difficult for Sugar Shane to figure out, but Mosley won the first two rounds on all judges' cards. One could see Mosley was figuring Stone out in the third round, and the end was near when Shane hit Stone with six unanswered punches. Stone went down hard and Mosley had a dominant victory at 2:01 minutes into the third round. Sugar Shane Mosley had retained his belt.

The third fight took place in the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandalay Bay was built only two years ago and is one of the most luxurious hotel/casinos in all of Las Vegas.

"Ferocious" Fernando Vargas met Josť "Shibata" Flores for the vacant IBA and WBA Junior Middleweight belts. The fight started off in Flores' favor, who won the first round and was doing pretty well in the second round until Vargas slipped in a quick left and knocked Flores down.

Vargas dominated the rest of the fight from that point forward against his old sparring partner. By the sixth round, it was clear that Flores had gotten too much punishment, and at the end of round seven, Vargas landed eight unanswered punches. At 2:59 into round seven, Vargas had won by KO.


After witnessing the excitement of these three championship fights, I can definitely say this is the kind of action that brings boxing fans from all over the world to the city of entertainment, Las Vegas!