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De La Hoya rewards anxious bettors at 11th hour

Sep 17, 2002 9:31 AM

   Better late than never for bettors.

   The 11th round TKO registered by Oscar De La Hoya against Fernando Vargas was well received at the Suncoast Casino.

   “We did okay on the rounds proposition up until the time Vargas went down in the 11th,” race and sports director Eddie Ricca said. “The consensus around here was that the fight would not go the distance and we wound up paying out.”

   Las Vegas Sports Consultants had odds of 10-1 for an 11th round win by De La Hoya, who now owns the WBA and WBC super welterweight title.

   The early money on the fight was on Vargas, who at +215 at New York, New York was certainly worth a wager. Through 10 rounds, the fight was basically even.

   “It was a good fight to watch, the kind of fight Las Vegas needed,” veteran boxing columnist Bert Sugar said on a local radio show Sunday morning.

   The books would rather have seen the fight to the distance, where the odds were just 5-1.

   “The bettors did a good job,” Ricca said. “It was a good action fight.”

   The bout drew a sellout crowd of 11,425 to Mandalay Bay, with the crowd reaction evenly split between the two fighters.

   “We had De La Hoya at minus $2.55 after being as high as $2.70,” New York-New York race and sports manager Mike Piranio said. “We expected late money on De La Hoya, but there was a lot of early support for Vargas.”

   Las Vegas would love to book De La Hoya in possible future rematches with Sugar Shane Mosley and Felix Trinidad, but the latter maintained after the fight that he would stay in retirement.

   The next major fight at Mandalay Bay is Oct. 5 when Jose Luis Castillo meets Floyd Mayweather in a rematch of their controversial April fight for the WBC lightweight title won by Mayweather.

   MGM Grand gets back in the boxing spotlight in November with Marco Antonio Barrera facing Johnny Tapia.

Pac 10 rules!

   Saturday was a sensational day for the Pac 10, going 9-1 both SU and ATS. The only setback came at Columbus when Ohio State beat preseason conference pick Washington State 25-7.

   USC and UCLA posted impressive road wins, but the big shocker was California defeating nationally-ranked Michigan State in East Lansing as a 13½-point underdog, 46-22.

   What may have slipped through under the radar was Arizona State’s dramatic comeback win over San Diego State after trailing 22-0 in the second quarter.

   Andrew Walter, entering the game in that second period, tossed four touchdown passes in a 39-28 victory for the Sun Devils.

   We’re betting Walter starts in two weeks against Stanford.