Bojorquez sends Whitaker into retirement
Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker’s comeback bout against Carlos Bojorquez (15-2-5, 11 knockouts) was cut painfully short in the fourth round as the six- time champion and 1984 Olympic gold medalist suffered a separated shoulder.
After the humiliating defeat Friday at Caesars Tahoe, Whitaker made a decision about his boxing future.
”I am done,” Whitaker said from Barton Memorial Hospital’s emergency room. ”I gave it the best I can. I can’t keep suffering these injuries. I’m not even going to think about it.”
Whitaker (40-4-1, 17 KOs), fighting for the first time in 26 months, initially injured his left shoulder in the second round when he threw a left hook that missed the mark and landed awkwardly on Bojorquez’s shoulder.
“I’m not going to say that I hurt him, but he hurt his shoulder right after I hit him in the chest,” Bojorquez said.
The southpaw hopped around the ring for a few seconds, but finished out the round protecting his injured arm.
In the third round, Whitaker answered the bell, but was visibly a much different fighter, only throwing three lefts in the entire round, and was unable to get his arm up to protect the left portion of his face as Bojorquez sensed his opportunity and attacked the vulnerable side.
“Carlos did the right thing when he saw that Pernell was hurt,” said Lou Duva, Whitaker’s manager.
As the third round proceeded, Whitaker continued to protect his injured left side, but twice Bojorquez was able to land shots that caused Whitaker to dance around in pain. Then at one point, the former champion fell to the canvas, but quickly rose before referee Joe Cortez stepped in to check the injured fighter.
“After his left hook (in the second round), I thought his shoulder might have popped back in,” Cortez said. “I wanted to let the corner to have every opportunity to massage it back into place so he could continue.”
Whitaker urged Duva and Cortez to let him continue, but Bojorquez hit him with a sharp right at the start of the fourth and Cortez stopped the match 27 seconds into the round.
“I called the doctor over and we determined together that he wasn’t able to continue,” Cortez said.
The ringside physician, Dr. Margaret Goodman determined that Whitaker was unable to safely fight and called it off.
“The final determination is if a fighter can defend himself in the ring,” Goodman said. “Sometimes guys break the hands and are able to continue and others hurt their shoulders and still fight.
“But the way Pernell was holding his left arm, he wasn’t able to continue.”
As Cortez and Goodman called the fight, Whitaker was angered and bounding around as if he wanted the fight to continue.
“He thinks he won. He didn’t win, I hurt my shoulder,” Whitaker said.
“I wasn’t able to tell if he was saying his shoulder hurt and he couldn’t continue or if he wanted to continue,” Cortez said.
Whitaker’s injury aside, all three judges had Bojorquez winning the fight by taking both the second and third rounds as he continued to pound away at Whitaker, who wasn’t able to slip Bojorquez’s jabs.
“I couldn’t tell if he was really hurt,” Bojorquez said. “So I just stuck to my plan of putting more pressure on each round.”
Whitaker was rushed to Barton Memorial Hospital directly after the fight and was treated and released that night.
He told The (Norfolk, Va.) Virginian-Pilot, ”I’m just going to have a nice retirement party. When they’re ready to put me in, I’ll go to the Hall of Fame.”
The shoulder also reportedly cause him some trouble during training in Las Vegas, but seemed to be healed before the bout.
“Tommy (Brooks) told me he hurt it one day in Las Vegas,” Duva said. “Pernell told him to give him a couple of days and he was hitting the speed bag a few days later.”
The win vaults Bojorquez into the title hunt, giving him a legitimate shot at fighting either Oscar De La Hoya, Fernando Vargas or Felix Trinidad in the future.
Dino Duva, president of Duva boxing, said they would try to give Bojorquez his shot in the near future.
“Obviously, we want him to have his chance,” he said. “But it wouldn’t be prudent for him to sit around and wait for that fight.
“We have to keep him in the picture and fighting, but he is definitely a contender.”
Eric “Stone Kold” Kirkland upped his record to 11-0 with six KOs when he scored a TKO in the seventh round of his eight-round bout with Willie Chapman (10-11-1).
The fight was stopped after Kirkland landed a combination of big overhand rights and lefts that left Chapman stumbling around the ring.
In a six-round middleweight bout, R.J Karsten (9-0) decisioned Karim Hassine 58-56.
Karsten, from Antioch, Calif., knocked Hassine to the mat in the fourth round, but was unable to notch his first career knockout.
– The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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