ALSO ON SLAM!
Saturday, November 11, 12:20 AM
*Pacheco retains IBF title with controversial decision* ------------------------------------------------------- LAS VEGAS (Ticker) -- Masibulele Makepula took a 27-hour plane trip from South Africa only to be robbed. After clearly outboxing and outpunching undefeated IBF flyweight champion Irene (e-RAY-nay) Pacheco for 12 rounds, Makepula was stunned when Pacheco retained his title with a majority decision. Makepula (18-1) suffered his first loss after the judges' scorecards came back 114-114, 118-110, 117-111 in favor of Pacheco (25-0, 19 KOs). Although there were no knockdowns, Makepula was the busier and more effective fighter throughout, darting in and out of Pacheco's defense with quick combinations and staggering the champion in both the ninth and final round. Pacheco had knocked out his previous 13 opponents and had not gone the distance since a six-round decision against Daniel Batista on April 27, 1996. The 29-year-old Colombian did go 11 tough rounds with Pedro Pena in January before scoring a TKO but did not have the strength to put away Makepula down the stretch tonight. Relying heavily on his ability to counterpunch, Pacheco often absorbed several punches before having his return blows blocked or ducked by the challenger. Makepula used a left hook and overhand right to back Pacheco into the ropes in the ninth round and rallied to disorient the champion with a quick combination in the center of the ring late in the 12th. Coming off a tough 12-round decision over ring veteran "Baby" Jake Matala in February, the South African gave all he had in his first major title fight but could not sway the judges' decisions. st 11-11-00 00:07 et