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
“It didn’t feel much different than fighting two minutes,” McCarter
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
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
Laracuente says she wants another fight with McCarter.
“I would love a rematch,” Laracuente said.