De La Hoya Doesn’t Stay Down Long : Boxing: He gets up from first knockdown to score first-round knockout against Valenzuela. Bloodied Carbajal wins in five.

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It was the wildest, weirdest round of Oscar De La Hoya’s career, full of shocks and fierce knockdown shots that had to send a wave of fear through his handlers.

And even after he had won the fight, it had everybody associated with De La Hoya muttering in a combination of surprise and relief.

De La Hoya, the East Los Angeles junior-welterweight whose young career is already stuffed to the rafters with multimillion-dollar plans, stunningly was sent to the canvas by veteran Narciso Valenzuela before 18,600 at the America West Arena Saturday night.


It came 45 seconds into De La Hoya’s 11th professional fight, and it was the first time he had ever been knocked down--in his professional or amateur boxing career. But he got up and put Valenzuela down twice to stop the fight before the round was over.

On the last fight of the card, Michael Carbajal retained his International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Council light-flyweight titles in a furious, fifth-round technical knockout of Domingo Sosa.

De La Hoya’s smile at the post-fight news conference indicated he knew he had put himself and his people through some anxious moments.

“I guess it’s sort of history,” De La Hoya said, “my first knockdown. But it’s never going to happen again, I guarantee that.”

Leaving his left hand low, De La Hoya was caught flush on the cheek by a straight Valenzuela right hand about 45 seconds into the fight and fell backward to the floor.

“It was a new experience,” he said.

He got to his feet after the count of two, looked to his corner, then lowered back to his knees before rising again at the eight count.


“Of course, it was scary,” said De La Hoya’s long-time trainer, Robert Alcazar. “But I looked over and he gave me the sign he was OK, he got up quickly, so I knew he was fine.”

Said De La Hoya: “There’s a first time for everything, I guess. But it was more of a flash knockdown than a real one. I wasn’t hurt or shaken up. I just got up and looked over, then decided to be calm, take my time and get some rest.

“I did kind of want to get him quick after that, because I was angry.”

Looking more bemused than damaged, De La Hoya surged to the attack when the fight resumed, landing a right-left combination that sent Valenzuela down about 30 seconds after De La Hoya fell.

After the eight count, De La Hoya had to be pushed back by the referee from charging back in too early, then found Valenzuela continuously through the next minute before landing a right hand that knocked him down again.

Valenzuela (35-13-2) slumped forward onto the canvas, struggled to his knees, but could not get up before the referee counted 10, giving De La Hoya his 11th victory and 10th knockout.

De La Hoya, who watched Tommy Morrison get knocked out in the first round Friday, is planning for an early February fight against World Boxing Assn. junior-lightweight champion Genaro Hernandez.


“Hernandez probably saw me go down and thought, ‘Aww, he’s going to be nothing for me,’ ” De La Hoya said. “But after he saw me put him down twice, he probably thought twice. I’m a fighter who’s determined and refuses to lose.”

Carbajal’s victory lacked the up-and-down drama of De La Hoya’s, but made up for it with fury. Carbajal was cut by an accidental head butt in the second round, opening up a large gash on his forehead above his right eye. Donning a new hairdo that revealed vast amounts of his skull, Carbajal admitted the cut might not have happened if he had his regular haircut.

But the flow of blood did not stop Carbajal (30-0, 18 KOs) from punishing Sosa (28-2) with devastating blows to the head for the whole fight, so damaging that Sosa’s corner said the referee should have stopped it earlier than he did.

“Every now and then, a bunch of blood would get in my eyes, but it didn’t really bother me,” Carbajal said.

After the impressive victory, Carbajal’s promoter, Bob Arum, announced that a rematch with Humberto (Chiquita) Gonzalez had been set for February, site and date to be determined--though Caesars Palace in Las Vegas is a leading candidate.

In an earlier fight, Verno Phillips was an upset seventh-round technical knockout winner over Lupe Aquino for the vacant World Boxing Organization super-welterweight title.


The fight was stopped at :57 of the round when Phillips (22-4-1) knocked Aquino (45-6-2) to the ropes and Aquino’s trainer, Abel Sanchez, jumped into the ring.

Also, Roberto Garcia, 18, an unbeaten 127-pounder from Oxnard, registered his seventh victory and sixth knockout by stopping Freddie Hernandez (13-15) in the third round.

Boxing Notes

Julio Cesar Chavez stopped Mike Powell in the fourth round of a nontitle fight before an estimated 14,000 in an outdoor bullring in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. It was the first fight for Chavez since Sept. 10, when he retained his World Boxing Council junior lightweight title with a controversial draw against Pernell Whitaker.