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Cooper Wins IBA World Title
January 15, 2005
©Photo by Mary Ann Owen






RANCHO MIRAGE-Melinda Cooper captured the IBA flyweight title by technical knockout with a withering nonstop attack against veteran Anissa Zamarron. It was Cooper's first world title attempt and she immediately showed the sold out crowd at the Agua Caliente Casino that she was in charge. The fight was promoted by Guilty Boxing and MFL Productions.

With a stinging left jab Cooper (14-0, 9 KOs) controlled Zamarron who never quit despite taking some murderous punches. After eight rounds referee David Mendoza had seen enough and stopped the bout 39 seconds into the ninth round.

"She was really tough," said Cooper, 19, who landed numerous combinations that stunned Zamarron, but were never able to drop the Texan. "After the first few rounds I thought the referee was going to stop it. But he let it go."  From the beginning Cooper jumped ahead with her snapping left jab. Zamarron tried to keep pace but was unable to match the Las Vegas fighter's speed.

In the second round Zamarron came out swinging as both fighters exchanged punches furiously. A left hook by the Texan connected but for every punch she landed Cooper responded with two more. Every second of the round they fired winging blows.

The pace was too fast to continue. So when they slowed a bit in the third, Zamarron seemed to gain an advantage with her head movement, but toward the end of the two minutes, Cooper unloaded once again with combinations that seemed like a whirlwind of punches that backed Zamarron into a corner.

Zamarron's best round was the fifth. Right hands from the Austin, Texas slugger found their mark as Cooper slowed a bit from the hundreds of blows she had fired. After Cooper adjusted to the right hand, Zamarron landed some wicked left hooks, but nothing seemed to hurt Cooper.  "I was never hurt with any of her punches," said Cooper, who had dropped to 110 and a half pounds for the fight. Zamarron weighed in at the same weight.

It was Cooper's first experience past six rounds and she took some punishment against Zamarron (16-12-2) who has fought numerous world title fights.

"Melinda was getting hit with right hands because she was dropping her hands," said James Pena her trainer and manager. Otherwise, Cooper dominated the fight with her speed and accuracy.

Cooper returned to firing lethal jabs and keeping the fight at her own range. When she found openings, a barrage of blistering combinations would force Zamarron into a corner. Referee David Mendoza kept careful watch of the Texan. Though Zamarron kept firing back, and never looked in danger of going down, she was sustaining heavy blows.  Finally, in the eighth round, Zamarron was pinned in Cooper's corner and tried to fight her way out. But her return blows weren't finding their mark and the Las Vegas fighter's punches were deadly accurate.

Mendoza stopped the fight 39 seconds into the round.
It was the first time Zamarron had been stopped by technical knockout. And after seven years including amateurs, Cooper is a world champion. Only the second native Las Vegas fighter to win a world title. Hannah Fox was the first.

"It feels great," Cooper said.




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