The new moves Pernell Whitaker promised to display against Gary Jacobs fizzled. Fortunately for “Sweet Pea” though, the old ones still sizzled.
Whitaker retained his WBC welterweight title Saturday night with a 12-round unanimous decision over the Scottish southpaw. But Whitaker failed to get the knockout he seemed to be looking for.
Success came late when he went back to his signature showboating: dancing, ducking and throwing crafty combinations.
“I’m a technique fighter, not a mass murderer,” said Whitaker of Virginia Beach, Va.
Whitaker (36-1-1, 15 KOs) dazed the top-ranked contender with overhand lefts and hard right jabs. He knocked Jacobs down twice in the 12th, the second time at 2:55. The first knockdown was on a hard overhand left, the second a left-right combination.
“It was just a matter of time,” Whitaker said. “I was trying to set myself up for that all night. I don’t know why he got up.”
Whitaker, 31, considered by many to be the world’s finest fighter, was on the canvas twice but was never hurt.
Jacobs (41-6, 23 KOs) tackled him in the second round. In the 11th, Whitaker swung a wild left, missed and seemed to slip forward. But referee Ron Lipton gave him a standing eight-count.
“No I wasn’t [knocked down]. I didn’t know what was going on when I saw the referee on his knees counting,” Whitaker said. “I don’t recall being hit by anything.”
Judges Gus Mercurio scored the fight 118-109; Takeaki Kanaya scored it 117-109; and Tamotosu Tomihara had it 118-107.
On the undercard, welterweight Larry Barnes (39-1), the IBF’s No. 1 contender, won a unanimous 10-round decision over Benji Singleton (12-16-1) of Charlotte, N.C.
New Zealand’s David Tua (21-0) stopped Mexican heavyweight Mauricio Villegas (22-11-1) in the sixth round of a a scheduled 10-rounder and Andrew Golota (25-0) of Chicago knocked out West Turner (17-9) at 39 seconds of the opening round of their scheduled 10-round heavyweight fight.