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Campas Ends Ayala’s Record

July 29, 2000

SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ Maybe 16 years in prison took something out of Tony Ayala Jr. after all.

Ayala, undefeated in 22 bouts before his 1983 rape conviction and in five more since being released last year, was hurt too badly to come out for the ninth round of his middleweight bout Friday night against Yory Boy Campas.

Campas, whose left eye began swelling after the fourth round, leaped from his corner to the middle of the ring when he realized the fight was over. The 9,112 fans at Freeman Coliseum in Ayala’s hometown began booing and throwing cups of beer into the ring.

Ayala saw none of it. Resting on his bench, he leaned back against the corner with his eyes shut. Cornermen tended to his left hand _ which was broken _ and face, while his father-trainer spoke gently with a hand on his son’s shoulder.

Campas, who as a child watched Ayala’s once-promising career take off then crash, went over to console the Ayalas.

Tony Ayala Sr. then leaned over and cradled his son’s head into his thick arms. The son was crying as the father said, ``It’s OK.″

Fans booed again when the ring announcer officially awarded the fight to Campas, saying only that Ayala suffered a hand injury.

Campas (75-4) was coming off a loss in his last fight and in two of his last four. A former International Boxing Federation junior middleweight champion, this may have been a last chance to retain drawing power.

He came out like someone fighting for a meal, dominating action for the first three rounds. Campas consistently kept Ayala pinned to the ropes and in the corners, working the body hard.

In the third, Campas knocked out Ayala’s mouthpiece and bloodied his nose, likely when Ayala stoop up into a combination after having ducked several of them.

The next two rounds were the only part Ayala will want to remember.

Once among the most powerful punchers in his class, the 37-year-old Ayala showed he still has something left by opening the round with a flurry and keeping it up for most of the fourth round. Fans sensed the momentum building and cheered ``To-nee! To-nee!″

Ayala cut Campas high on the left cheek in the final 10 seconds of the fourth. Campas turned to the referee expecting a foul to be called and continued arguing after the bell.

Campas’ left eye was real puffy by the start of the fifth and Ayala immediately went after it. Ayala swatted away Campas’ punches and was squarely focused on working the battered area.

But with the crowd chanting his name again, Ayala couldn’t add to his 24 knockouts. The round ended with him being battered into the ropes, just as he had in the early rounds.

Ayala spent much of the final three rounds hunched over, covering his face and taking blows. He seemed frozen in the crouched cover-up when the eighth ended, apparently feeling the effects of the broken bone on top of his left hand.

Although Campas threw 165 more punches, Ayala _ nicknamed ``El Torito,″ little bull _ landed four more. Still, Campas did enough to tarnish a former star trying to rebuild his career.

Ayala was scheduled to fight Davey Moore for the WBA junior middleweight title in 1983 when he got loaded up on heroin, cocaine and alcohol, broke into a neighbor’s residence and brutally raped her.

He was sentenced to 35 years in New Jersey prisons and served 16 before being released in April 1999.

Campas was vastly more qualified than Ayala’s first five post-prison foes, the most notable of whom had once been a No. 6 contender.

On the undercard, Tito Mendoza beat James Coker in a 10-round middleweight bout for the second time in nine weeks, this time needing a majority decision.

Mendoza (21-3) outslugged Coker (22-3) in the early rounds and held on for the victory. He won with a seventh-round TKO on May 19 that left Coker’s eyes so swollen that state officials later examined Mendoza’s gloves.

The state sent extra supervisors to observe both corners this time, but there was nothing suspicious.