Canizales Beats Up Foe, Highsmith Goes Down


Orlando Canizales needed no introduction Thursday night at the Reseda Country Club.

Alonzo Highsmith needed a football helmet.

Canizales, the longest-reigning bantamweight champion in history and among the sport's finest technicians, rewarded a partisan crowd in his first Southern California appearance by scoring a third-round knockout against overmatched Tomas Valdez in a lightweight bout before about 750.

Canizales, 49-3 with 37 knockouts, was razor sharp, slipping punches and scoring almost at will against the taller Valdez. He floored Valdez in every round, twice with body shots, including the decisive blow 2:50 into the round.

"These taller guys, you never know what they're going to bring," said Canizales, a native of Laredo, Texas.

"I was working him upstairs, but sometimes it's easier to go down below. I was picking off his shots. He didn't hit me."

Highsmith, Canizales' stablemate, could not say the same after being knocked out, losing for the first time in his professional career.

Highsmith, former running back for the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers, fumbled away his 27-0 record, suffering a third-round defeat against unimpressive Terry Verners in a sloppy heavyweight bout.

Verners, 33, had only seven victories in 29 previous fights and was the third choice to fight Highsmith, 32, who began prizefighting in 1995 after a six-year pro football career.

Verners was bloodied and penalized one point for rabbit-punching in the first round. But in the third round, he landed a combination that dropped Highsmith in his corner, then finished him off moments later with a flurry against the ropes.

Highsmith was on his back for several minutes while attendants cut the gloves from his hands. He still appeared dazed several minutes after the bout.

"He whooped me today, that's all," Highsmith said. "It's my own fault. I just did nothing."

Verners, of Fresno, celebrated the fifth knockout of his career.

"His record didn't bother me," Verners said. "It made me fight harder. I haven't won many fights. But I haven't lost too many in a row."

In other bouts, light-heavyweight Victor Ortiz of Simi Valley improved to 4-0 with a second-round knockout of John Parker of Canoga Park.

Ortiz rocked Parker with a left-hook 58 seconds into the round.

Ricky Quiles of San Juan, Puerto Rico, recorded a third-round knockout against Margarito Navarro of Tucson in a scheduled eight-round junior-welterweight bout.

Eddie Gutierrez of Palmdale twice floored Tommy Hindes of Los Angeles, the second knockdown bringing an end to their scheduled four-round middleweight bout 46 seconds into the third round.

In a four-round women's bout, Pam Barker of Las Vegas won her pro debut with a four-round unanimous decision over Paula Faye of Big Bear.

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