Rabbinical student Yuri Foreman became the first Israeli fighter to win a world boxing championship when he scored a shocking and one-sided decision over Puerto Rican Daniel Santos in a WBA super-welterweight title fight Saturday night on the Miguel Cotto-Manny Pacquiao undercard at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Foreman (28-0, 8 knockouts) knocked Santos (32-4-1, 23 KOs) down in the second round, had him pinned against the ropes in the third then appeared to hurt the champion with a flurry of punches near the end of the fourth round.
Santos made a final desperate charge in the 12th and final round, knowing he needed a knockout to win. But he was far too weary by then, stumbling to the canvas again with less than a minute left in the fight.
Foreman was one of five fighters who took unblemished records into the undercard and came out with victories.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., son of the legendary Mexican champion extended his record to 41-0-1 with a unanimous decision over Troy Rowland (25-3) of Grand Rapids, Mich., in a 10-round middleweight contest
Rowland was fighting with a heavy heart -- his brother Shane, in a Michigan hospital, was placed in a medically induced coma this month with the H1N1 virus.
In the first televised bout on the undercard, Tustin’s Alfonso Gomez won something called the WBC Continental Americas welterweight title in an abbreviated bout against Mexican Jesus Soto-Karass.
An accidental butt to the right eye in the third round left Gomez bleeding heavily, leading ringside doctors to stop the fight at two minutes 41 seconds of the sixth round of what was scheduled to be a 10-round bout. Because the fight had gone more than half its scheduled distance, the bout went to the scorecards and the judges gave Gomez (21-4-2, 10 KOs) a unanimous decision. Soto-Karass fell to 24-4-3 with 16 KOs.
Earlier in the night, hard-punching Russian middleweight Matt Korobov added to his already impressive resume with a dominant six-round win over James Winchester of Reidsville, N.C.
Although Korobov (8-0, 6 KOs) couldn’t knock Winchester out, going the distance for just the second time as a pro, the stylish left-hander was able to knock Winchester’s mouthpiece into the first row with a sweeping punch midway through the third round.
Winchester is 10-3 with 3 KOs.
Santa Ana’s Rodrigo Garcia also remained unbeaten at 5-0 with a one-sided decision over Martin Vierra of Phoenix in a six-round super-welterweight fight. Vierra fell to 5-3-1.
Richie Mepranum of the Philippines won an unpopular split decision over Ernie Marquez of Fort Morgan, Colo., in an entertaining six-round matchup of junior-lightweights.
Mepranum (15-2-1, 3 KOs) scored the only knockdown of the fight, dropping Marquez in the second round. But that punch only served to wake up Marquez, who was the aggressor for most of the final four rounds. Marquez (9-6-2) finished the fight bleeding heavily from a cut above his right eye and when the decision was announced, it was greeted by a chorus of boos from the crowd.
The only other Filipino on the undercard, Eden Sonsona, left no doubt in his bout, overwhelming Israeli Navy veteran Eilon Kedem from the opening bell en route to a second-round TKO win.
Sonsona (14-3, 4 KOs) knocked Kedem (9-2-4, 6 KOs) to the canvas with a left hook less than a minute into the first round and never let up, forcing referee Joe Cortez to step between the boxers and halt the fight 17 seconds into the second of what was scheduled to be a six-round bout.
In the first bout of the day, Abner Cotto, a second cousin to Puerto Rican champion Miguel Cotto, remained unbeaten with a unanimous decision over Lupe Guzman of Lubbock, Texas, in a six-round battle of lightweights.
Cotto is 5-0 with 3 KOs while Guzman fell to 3-5 with 2 KOs.