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Monday, December 18, 2006
Guzman scores unanimous decision in the Dominican

By Doug Fischer
MaxBoxing.com

Junior lightweight standout Joan Guzman defended a 130-pound world title in front of more than 11,000 fans at the Palacio Virgilio Travieso Soto in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Monday night by scoring a one-sided unanimous decision over game-but-outgunned challenger Antonio Davis in the main event of what was that country's biggest boxing card in 30 years.

Joan Guzman
Guzman

Guzman, a native of the Dominican Republic and that country's most accomplished active fighter, improved to 27-0 by scores of 116-112, 118-109 and 119-108. Davis, who was unable to seriously hurt the title holder but refused to succumb to Guzman's heavier firepower, dropped to 22-3.

Guzman, who made the first defense of the WBO belt he won by split decision over Jorge Barrios in September, started Monday night's bout strong, wobbling Davis in the first round with a series of power shots that were punctuated by flamboyant bolo-style uppercuts. Guzman, however, failed to put away his determined challenger from Atlanta, who at times in the later rounds forced the action and bulled Guzman along the ropes.

But it was Davis who was repeatedly hurt by Guzman's looping power punches to the body and head.

Guzman's superior speed and power were more than enough to get the job done against Davis, who was rated No. 5 by the WBO coming into Monday's fight but had never scored a significant victory in his 24 professional bouts. However, in merely outpointing Davis, Guzman did not look like an elite fighter, a distinction some boxing writers and insiders believe the talented Dominican can achieve.

Guzman neglected his jab throughout the contest, more than content to wing single counterpunches over Davis' jab, and Guzman failed to put his power punches together. Perhaps if Guzman punched in combination in more of the early rounds, Davis would not have held on (which he literally did many times in the late rounds) to hear the final bell.

Still, Guzman showed flashes of his considerable talent in spots during the fight, committing to a brutal body attack in the eighth round, using his legs to set up big left hooks in Round 9, and making Davis miss with every punch while showboating in a neutral corner in the 10th.

Whether Guzman looked spectacular enough -- or vulnerable enough -- to warrant showdowns with the 130-pound division's two superstars, Manny Pacquiao and Marco Antonio Barrera, remains to be seen.

For now, Guzman is happy being the superstar in his own country.