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Layla McCarter Survives Cut to Win GBU title over Laracuente
By Bill Ortega
November 18, 2006


Layla McCarter captured a unanimous decision over Puerto Rico’s Belinda Laracuente to win the GBU lightweight world title while fighting three-minute rounds on Friday.

“It didn’t feel much different than fighting two minutes,” McCarter (21-12-5) said.

Before more than 2,000 people at the Orleans Casino, McCarter, 133.5, used her combinations and turning tactics to take the 10-round decision over Laracuente, 132, (22-15-3). It was supposed to be a 12-round contest but Nevada State Athletic Commission did not like that the Puerto Rican had sustained so many consecutive losses. But most of her defeats came against world champions or highly rated opponents.

Inside the ring, though Laracuente suffered yet another loss, she proved to be an extremely capable if not victorious boxer.
“She has all the moves,” said former world champion Cornelius Boza-Edwards, “But she doesn’t know what to do with them. She fought like a fighter who has sparring partner syndrome.”z

During the first three rounds McCarter used her left jab and left hooks to establish a pattern that Laracuente took time to figure out. At the end of the third round Laracuente began to finally time some of McCarter’s combinations and a furious exchange took place along the ropes.

McCarter seemed to have the quicker hands at this juncture. After every combination the Las Vegas resident would tie up Laracuente. This tactic seemed to infuriate the Puerto Rican prizefighter who continually motioned with her hands to fight.

“I didn’t know she was going to fight like that,” said Laracuente, who now lives in New York. “I had never seen any of her fights before. It was a surprise that she holds.”

In the sixth round, during an exchange, McCarter and Laracuente’s heads collided and the Las Vegas fighter emerged with a cut below her right eye on her cheekbone. Blood flowed freely. It was ruled accidental. (a similar accidental head butt caused a large cut against Jessica Rakoczy in September in Los Angeles).

McCarter seemed worried and when the fight resumed she attacked Laracuente with more vigor and abandon. But Laracuente timed most of her charges and was able to land a solid one-two combination.

“It felt weird to have a cut,” McCarter said. “I had never been cut before in a fight.”

From the seventh round on Laracuente seemed to be more involved in the fight and stepped up the attack. Though McCarter continued to be the quicker and more accurate with her combinations, Laracuente’s was finding more room to land some of her own, but a five-punch combination found its mark and won the round for McCarter.

McCarter seemed to be the more accurate and quicker of the two. The left hand of McCarter continually found its mark especially when she began using her right hand. For most of the fight, it was the left that was finding its mark. Now the right hand came into play and it was causing Laracuente some problems. Both fighters increased their punch output and fists began to fly more than any other round.

The 10th round saw both engage toe-to-toe with McCarter using her left jab and Laracuente countering with left hooks. A right hand by McCarter landed flush but was immediately answered with a left hook counter. Both fighters unloaded freely until the final bell.

McCarter had built up a lead on many ringsider’s estimations, but Laracuente rallied during the final five rounds. The judges saw it 100-90, 99-91, 97-93 for McCarter.
“She was a good fighter,” Laracuente said. “I didn’t know she liked to hold.”

McCarter, though she won big according to the judge’s cards, was not pleased with her own performance.
“I could have done more in the fight,” she said. “The cut affected me.”

Laracuente says she wants another fight with McCarter.
“I would love a rematch,” Laracuente said.

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