Lacy knocks out Pemberton |

Lacy knocks out Pemberton

Steve Yingling

STATELINE – Scott Pemberton would have been safer in a cage with a lion that hadn’t eaten in 30 days.

But the veteran middleweight from Massachusetts was trapped inside an 18-by-20 foot ring with one of the most feared men in boxing Saturday night at Caesars Tahoe.

Demonstrating a ferocious style reminiscent of a young Mike Tyson, a hungry Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy scored a quick knockout to retain his International Boxing Federation super middleweight title in front of a sellout crowd.

Lacy knocked down Pemberton twice, leading to a stoppage of the 12-round title fight with one second remaining in the second round.

Referee Vic Drakulich of Reno may have saved Pemberton, who was making his first title appearance, from a worse beating when he prevented Pemberton from trying to get back on his feet after the final knockdown in round two.

“Of course I would have gotten up,” said Pemberton, who earned $150,000. “They stopped it the second I went down. He didn’t ask me if I was OK or see if my eyes were glassy, he just stopped it. I was OK.

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“I guess after what happened to (the late) Levander Johnson they were trying to be cautious. It wasn’t like I was getting beat up for eight or nine rounds. It was only the second round for crying out loud.”

It was the 14th time in 22 career fights that Lacy has won a bout inside of three rounds.

“I’m all about giving fans the fight they want to see,” said Lacy, who earned $200,000 for his short night’s work. “If you work hard, it shows in the ring.”

Pemberton, the No. 5 IBF contender, tried to keep Lacy at a distance with his left jab, but Lacy was too strong and aggressive as he showed the killer instinct comparable to Tyson from early in his checkered career.

Lacy set the tone in the first round by landing a pair of left-right combinations. But the punch that Lacy is best known for didn’t bring a quick end to the fight. After Pemberton picked up the pace with his left jab in round two, Lacy dropped Pemberton to one knee with a vicious right. Pemberton used most of the count before quickly rising to his feet.

Sensing that Pemberton was hurt, Lacy kept up the pressure, loading up with hooks and uppercuts. A right hand caught Pemberton behind the head, crumpling him to the canvas.

“It wasn’t a left hook,” said a smiling Lacy. “He was looking for a left hook, and I caught him was an overhand right.”

While Lacy made it look easy in his fourth IBF title defense, he wants nothing more than to be challenged in the ring. He was scheduled to meet undefeated World Boxing Organization champ Jeff Calzaghe of Wales at the end of this year, but Calzaghe (40-0) injured his left hand in a Sept. 10 fight against Evans Ashira.

However, it’s looking more and more like Lacy will have to fight someone else.

“It’s hard to get Calzaghi over here, so I’m gonna have to go with Antonio Tarver,” Lacy said.

As for Pemberton, he was asked if retirement could be forthcoming following his disappointing first title shot.

“I’ll continue to keep fighting as long as I can make money,” Pemberton said.