Spadafora wins NABF super lightweight belt
By Kevin Gorman
Published: Saturday, April 6, 2013, 11:12 p.m.
CHESTER, W.Va. — For the first time in almost a decade, Paul Spadafora can call himself a champion.
Spadafora sliced up Rob Frankel to score a unanimous 10-round decision and win the NABF super lightweight championship Saturday night at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort.
Judges Rex Agin (99-91), Vince Gurrera (97-93) and James Tiu (98-92) scored the fight in favor of Spadafora, the former International Boxing Federation lightweight champion from McKees Rocks.
Spadafora improved to 48-0-1, thanks to his slip-and-dip style and his ability to open cuts on the face of Frankel (32-13-1, 6 KOs) of Denver.
“He's a very tough guy,” Spadafora said. “I knew it from the start. He brought out the best in me. I wanted to use my jab a little bit more. I couldn't get it off, but that's a lot to do what he was doing.”
Wearing black trunks with gold trim, Spadafora entered the ring to Johnny Cash's “Walk the Line.”
It marked Spadafora's first title fight since his lightweight unification bout with Leonard Dorin in May 2003 ended in a draw. Soon after, Spadafora relinquished his belt and saw his life spiral out of control, serving time in prison for shooting his then-girlfriend and in rehabilitation centers for drug and alcohol addiction.
“I'm going to stay clean,” Spadafora said. “My past is my past. Everybody deserves a second chance.”
In the first, Frankel landed a jab flush to Spadafora's nose, but the southpaw countered with a shot to the body. It was in the second round that Spadafora gained an edge, landing a straight left to draw blood under Frankel's right eye.
The cut didn't prove to be a detriment, although Frankel kept a distance in the third to protect his eye and force Spadafora to lunge. Frankel was the aggressor, although Spadafora landed a short right jab followed by a hard left and blocked many of Frankel's shots with his gloves.
It was in the fourth that Spadafora showcased his superior ring experience over Frankel, who didn't start boxing until he was 22. After they traded body blows, Spadafora dictated the pace by landing a right hook and then a left to the face to back Frankel into the ropes. Spadafora cornered his opponent, taking turns working the body and the head and landed a hard left followed by a right combo to the body and head.
Spadafora started landing right hooks in the fifth and by the next round opened a cut in the center of Frankel's left eyebrow. When Frankel kept his guard up to protect the eye, Spadafora started working the body.
Frankel's corner shouted for him to use his right hook in the seventh, but what he found was a moving target. Spadafora absorbed little punishment, blocking body shots with his arms and avoiding shots aimed at his head. By mid-round, he took advantage of the blood dripping into Frankel's eye and scored a right uppercut and a straight left.
By the eighth, Frankel's face was covered in blood as Spadafora relied almost exclusively on his right hand to attack the cut. That set up a short right/straight left combo that was the biggest blow of the round.
When the ninth round started, Frankel was bleeding from the mouth, too.
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.
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