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Spadafora not pleased with performance

| Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, 5:52 p.m.

Paul Spadafora was in the ring against the highest-ranked fighter he's seen since his final defense of the IBF world lightweight title belt, which was almost a decade ago.

Solomon Egberime proved to be a game opponent, one whose style and tactics took Spadafora out of his rhythm. Spadafora said an Egberime headbutt in the ninth round opened a cut at the corner of his right eye.

Yet when the bout ended and the judges' scorecards were read at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort's The Harv, Spadafora won by unanimous decision. Judge Vince Gurrera scored all 10 rounds in Spadafora's favor. Rex Agin awarded him eight rounds and Jim Frio seven.

“I saw the fight as real close,” said Egberime's trainer, Luis Tapia. “It could have been a draw or a split decision. What were those judges watching?”

Spadafora wasn't pleased with his performance, his first since beating Humberto Toledo in August after a 22-month layoff that included a long stay at a Florida rehabilitation center to deal with drug and alcohol addiction.

Still, he was surprised by Tapia's remarks.

“I won every round almost,” Spadafora said. “You can't say I'm not ready to fight when I shut you out. That's hard to do. This was my second fight back. I felt I could have done a lot better. I'm anxious to get back in there.”

Tapia didn't stop with calling it a hometown decision for the 37-year-old Spadafora (47-0-1) of McKees Rocks over Egberime (22-4-1), a Nigerian who lives in Australia and was fighting in the United States for the first time in his career.

Egberime, ranked 14th by WBO, represented Spadafora's top opponent since a unification bout with Leonard Dorin in May 2003 ended in a controversial draw.

“I think if we could've fought him in a neutral place, we could've beat him,” Tapia said of Spadafora.

“He's picking up his career way too late. He's been working hard and has been through a lot. I'm hoping he gets a fight where he gets paid and can take care of his family, but I don't see him being a champion again.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kgorman@tribweb.com or 412-320-7812.

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