Atlantic City — December 6, 1997 — On this day in 1997, Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. along with Caesars Atlantic City, brought a huge boxing event to Boardwalk Hall. The show was dubbed as “Title Wave” and produced three world title match-ups.
In the main event, four division world champion, “Goldenboy” Oscar Dela Hoya, made the third defense of his WBC Welterweight championship against the determined Wilfredo Rivera of Puerto Rico.
Rivera and De La Hoya Face Off
Rivera sported a 27-2-1 (18kos) record, with his only losses coming from his two earlier bouts with Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker.
On this night the speed of Dela Hoya was too much for Rivera, who was tenacious but over matched. A swift Dela Hoya left hook opened a cut over the right eye of Rivera in the second round which started the challenger’s downward spiral.
Rivera Tries to Keep Up
A DeLa Hoya barrage of punches, capped off with a strong right hand, dropped Rivera to the canvas in the fourth round, but Rivera rose from the canvas after the referee’s count of six.
The right eye injury of Rivera became increasingly worse, and with blood flowing, the referee chose to stop the fight upon the recommendation of the ringside physician at the 2:48 mark in the eighth round.
It was Dela Hoya’s first appearance as a fighter in Atlantic City, but unfortunately, it turned out to be the only time he had fought in an AC ring.
“Terrible” Terry Defends Against Keith Mullings
Also on the card, long time 154lb champion, “Terrible” Terry Norris, defended his WBC World Super welterweight championship against Brooklyn, New York’s own Keith Mullings.
Coming into the fight, Norris was coming off of six consecutive knockout victories. A victory over Mullings would have placed Norris in the position of landing a lucrative match-up with Oscar Dela Hoya in the very near future.
Not many people looked at Mullings as the fighter to derail Norris’ drive to Dela Hoya, with a record coming into the ring as having only won one bout in his last six outings.
But fortunately for Mullings, he gave himself a chance.
Mullings Pulls off the Unexpected
After taking Norris’ best through most of eight rounds, Mullings landed a blistering right hand at the :48 mark that dropped Norris and totally changed the tide of the fight.
Norris lasted the round, but never fully recovered, with Mullings picking up where he left off at the start of the ninth. The punishment mounted causing the referee to call a halt to the bout at the 0:51 mark of the ninth round and making Keith Mullings the new champion.
More Titles on the Line
Raul Marquez also put his IBF World Jr. Middleweight title on the line for the third time taking on the always tough Luis Ramon Campas.
In a heated battle, Campas broke down Marquez, swelling the defending champion’s right eye and left cheek, inhibiting his vision and making him susceptible to punishment.
After closely watching the action, the referee stepped in stopping the bout at the official mark of 2:29 of the eighth round, saving Marquez from further punishment.
The TKO victory made Yori Boy Campas the new IBF 154lb champion.
Rounding out the pay-per-view event
Future world champions, Vassiliy Jirov and Daniel Santos, came away winners in seperate bouts. Zahir Raheem and Eric “Butterbean” Esch also brought their brands of excitement with their wins on this evening.
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