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Eddie Hopson called it an off day. Tracy Harris Patterson ma

July 10, 1995

RENO, Nev. (AP) _ Eddie Hopson called it an off day. Tracy Harris Patterson made it a day off midway through the second round, dropping the champion four times to end his first defense of the IBF junior lightweight title.

``I saw that he winced a little bit when I caught him with a good stiff jab,″ Patterson said after Sunday’s victory. ``I came in with a good right hand and that took him out. I usually like to take my time a little more.″

Patterson, 53-3-1 with 38 knockouts, beat Hopson to the punch and had the champion backpedaling in the first round. He had him on the canvas less than a minute into the second and after dropping him or leaving him hanging on the ropes three more times, referee Mills Lane stopped the fight at the 1:37 mark.

``I wasn’t reacting quick enough. I was letting him throw the punches,″ Hopson said of his first loss in 27 fights. ``I had an off day. This isn’t the end. I’ll be back.″

While Hopson, 26, had a half-inch more reach than the 30-year-old challenger, it was Patterson’s jabs that found their marks in the first round, then his rights in the second. Twice, Hopson launched furious combinations of lefts and rights that whiffed harmlessly in front of Patterson’s face.

It was a bitter loss for Hopson. The St. Louis fighter was making his first defense of the title he won April 22 with a seventh-round knockout of Moises Pedroza.

``I’m embarrassed. I’ll get over that,″ he said. He made $70,000 from the fight.

For Patterson, of New Paltz, N.Y., the victory meant not only his second world title, but some vindication for his decision to split with his adoptive father, former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, and manage his own career.

``All I can say at this time is that I love my dad and I hope when I get home we can put this behind us and get together,″ he said. ``I didn’t mean anything in any malicious way or anything. I just had to do what I had to do.″

Patterson, who earned $30,000 on Sunday, held the WBC super bantamweight title for two years and four successful defenses before losing it last Aug. 26 on a 12-round decision to Hector Acero and moving up from the 122-pound class to fight at 130.

Both fighters weighed 129 pounds on Sunday.

``Moving back up gave me my strength back,″ he said.

Patterson said he planned to defend his title as long as he can before possibly moving up to the lightweight division. He said a rematch with Hopson wasn’t part of his plans.

Lou Duva, Hopson’s co-manager, didn’t see it that way.

``Someplace along the road, he’s going to have to fight Eddie again,″ he said. ``He’ll be a good champion until he fights Hopson again.″

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