LOS ANGELES — Antonio DeMarco turned defeat into a stunning victory, stopping a bloody Jorge Linares at 2:32 of the 11th round to win the vacant WBC lightweight title on the Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson undercard Saturday at Staples Center.
Linares, the quicker and more skilled of the two, outboxed DeMarco from beginning to end. He was leading on the scorecards after 10 rounds 99-91, 98-92, 98-92.
However, DeMarco, the stronger of the two, never stopping coming and ultimately caught up to Linares.
The Mexican landed a few dozen hard power shots in a thrilling final round as the Venezuelan, bleeding profusely from an apparent broken nose and cuts on his face, fought back gamely.
Referee Raul Caiz stopped the fight after a flurry of hard punches by DeMarco went unanswered.
“It was a head butt that broke my nose,” said Linares (31-2, 20 knockouts). “The blood really bothered me. And I couldn’t see. It was a big factor in the fight. I did the best I could. I think I dominated the fight with my speed and technique but I couldn’t see. I want the rematch.”
DeMarco (26-2-1, 19 KOs) was fighting for a major title for a second time. He was stopped in nine rounds by then-WBC titleholder Edwin Valero in February of last year.
“This is a dream come true,” he said.
photo by Naoki Fukuda