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boxing

Real Deal was real lucky

Determined Bean falls to Holyfield in 12-round decision

Click here for more on this story

Posted: Sunday September 20, 1998 01:46 AM

  Fight to the finish: Holyfield struggled with the lesser-known Bean, but took control after a 10th-round knockdown AP

ATLANTA (AP) -- Evander Holyfield gave his hometown fans what they wanted. Vaughn Bean gave a lot of people what they didn't expect.

Holyfield, looking at times like an old fighter, knocked Bean down in the 10th round and won a unanimous decision over the scrappy challenger before 41,357 in the Georgia Dome on Saturday night.

While Bean was fighting only his eighth opponent with a winning record, Holyfield showed the guile that comes from long years of experience in top-flight competition.

Bean was pushing Holyfield into the ropes late in the 10th round when the champion suddenly sidestepped Bean and flung him into the ropes with his left arm. Bean was hung up in the ropes when Holyfield landed a right to the side of the head that dropped him for a seven-count.

"He hit me when I was down," Bean said, although he was still on his feet when the punch landed. "The ref didn't do his job. I know I was on his home turf. He hit me right on the temple. The ref could have stepped in."

"I've got to take advantage of every opportunity I get, because he's a good fighter," said Holyfield, who will be 36 on Oct. 19. "I just turned and hit him. That's part of the boxing game."

The disappointed Bean, who was ranked No. 1 by the IBF and was Holyfield's mandatory challenger, said: "I thought I won the fight -- same song."

Last March 29, Bean lost an IBF title bid against then-champion Michael Moorer on a 12-round majority decision. This time the decision wasn't close.

Judge Duane Ford of Nevada scored it 116-111, while Al DeVito and Leroy Brown, both of New Jersey, each had it 117-111 for Holyfield.

The Associated Press scored it 116-111 for Holyfield.

Though an easy winner, Holyfield found the awkward Bean much tougher than most observers thought he would be.

"I did not come in overconfident," Holyfield said. "I hit him with good shots. He also hit me with good shots. You have to give the man credit. The man came to fight. He's much better than people gave him credit for. He's a competitor. This was his day to shine."

Shining, but not winning.
Bean on Holyfield's 10th-round knockdown: "He hit me when I was down. The ref didn't do his job." AP 

While Bean fought well, the loss was a costly one. It's not known when or if he might get another title shot.

Bean did not come out fighting in the early rounds, but in rounds 5, 6 and 7 his awkward style bothered Holyfield as the challenger landed short, chopping rights to the head and several shots to the body.

Bean, however, lacked Holyfield's power, and that hurt his chances.

The 25-year-old Bean, who looked flabby at 231 pounds, actually came back to have the best of the final round and Holyfield appeared a weary champion at the bell.

"He loves his job," Bean had said, referring to Holyfield.

This fight, however, looked to be a lot more like work than fun for the 217-pound champion.

Holyfield showed none of the fire he had in two fights against Mike Tyson, but he was cagey and tough enough to handle Bean and clever enough to score the big knockdown in the 10th.

Holyfield's next fight is expected to be a mandatory WBA defense against Henry Akinwande of Britain. King said he would like to put that fight in Las Vegas. Holyfield was supposed to fight Akinwande in June, but that fight was postponed when Akinwande tested positive for hepatitis-B.

The turnout for Holyfield's third title defense in his hometown was the biggest since 70,000 watched Muhammad Ali regain the undisputed heavyweight title from Leon Spinks in the New Orleans Superdome in September 1978.

Holyfield earned at least $5 million for his 36th victory against three defeats. He has 25 knockouts.

Bean, of Chicago, lost for only the second time against 32 victories. He has 25 knockouts.

His purse was $1.8 million for his second IBF title bid.

In the undercard bouts, Robert Allen won the interim WBC middleweight championship by stopping former sparring partner Abdul Ramadan in the first round.
  Bean, who entered the fight with a 32-1 record, started to turn some of the pro-Holyfield crowd with a gutty performance AP

The left-handed Allen hurt Ramadan with two right hands to the head and followed with a flurry. Ramadan turned his back and grabbed hold of the ropes, and referee Jim Korb gave him a mandatory eight-count.

When action resumed, Allen landed another barrage and once again Ramadan turned his back in a neutral corner. Allen looked at the referee and then threw another flurry before Korb stepped in and stopped it at 2:46.

Allen, 23-2 with 18 knockouts, becomes interim champion until champion Bernard Hopkins recovers from a sprained ankle he suffered when referee Mills Lane accidentally pushed him out of the ring in a fight against Allen on August 28. That fight was declared a no-contest.

If Hopkins elects to defend the title again, he must fight Allen. If he moves up to super middleweight, Allen becomes champion.

In two other fights, John Ruiz of Chelsea, Massachusetts, stopped Jerry Ballard of Washington in the fouth round of a 12-round heavyweight match.

And, Jorge Eliecer Julio of Colombia retained the WBO bantamweight title on a unanimous decision over Adonis Cruz of Nicaragua.

"Everything I threw I caught him with," Ruiz said in an understatement.

In the fourth round, Ruiz, 228, drove Ballard back with a six-punch barrage to the head, then staggered him with a seven-punch flurry and finally put him down with an eight-punch barrage capped by two overhand rights, two right uppercuts and an overhand right.

Ballard, 224, staggered up but fell into the ropes and the fight was stopped.

"It's the biggest win of my career," Ruiz said. "Hopefully it will give me a chance with the big man -- Holyfield."

Eliecer Julio took charge in the second half of the fight, wearing down Cruz with body shots and doing damage in close, especially with right uppercuts.

Eliecer Julio, 117 1-2, won by eight points on each of two cards and by nine on the third as he boosted his record to 40-1 with 30 knockouts. Cruz, 117 1-2, now is 29-4-1 with 16 knockouts.

After the fight, Eliecer Julio called for a match against Johnny Tapia, the WBO and IBF junior bantamweight champion.

In a women's bout scheduled for 10 rounds, Christy Martin, 141 1-2, of Orlando, Florida, stopped Christine Robinson, 144, of Sylva, North Carolina, in the fifth with a barrage of punches to the head.  

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