Sarasota native China “The Dragon” Smith sought revenge against Mexico City’s Saul Montana in their rematch Saturday night.
What he got was another dose of what Montana gave him in April.
Montana (36-11, 32KOs) scored a third-round technical knockout Saturday against Smith (23-2, 22 KOs) at the USF Sun Dome in what was tabbed “the revenge” match.
Montana, who goes by the nickname “The Cobra,” retained his National Boxing Association heavyweight title and handed Smith his second consecutive loss in a match broadcast nationally on Showtime.
Montana scored a seventh-round TKO in their first fight in April at the Sun Dome.
Smith, who said Montana didn’t defeat him at his best in their first fight, had no excuses after this loss.
“I lost the fight,” Smith said. “I have no excuses. I went out there and gave it all I had. I just lost.”
Smith opened up the fight on a good note. He had the hometown crowd behind him and seemed very eager to get off to a good start.
When Round 1 began, Smith charged to the center of the ring and immediately started trying to work the jab on Montana. He landed a few power punches and danced around the ring, keeping in constant movement.
However, that was the best round Smith offered in a short fight dominated by Montana.
Late in the second round, Montana stunned Smith with an overhand right that put Smith into the ropes. Montana held him against the ropes until the end of the round with a series of punches. When the bell rang, Smith, still shaken by the overhand right, stumbled into Montana on his way back to his corner.
Smith came out fighting in the third round, trying to get on the offensive against Montana, but it proved to be a costly mistake.
Montana once again stunned Smith with an overhand right, sending him into the corner. After a series of punches, Montana finally sent Smith to the ground with a right uppercut.
Smith got back to his feet, but moments later, he was dropped again, this time by another straight right hand. Smith refused to give up and once again got to his feet.
Knowing his time was running out, Smith charged to the center of the ring, where the two heavyweights began exchanging power punches. Smith then ended up back in the corner, where Montana put him down for the third and final time with a straight left.
Although Smith once again got to his feet, his shaky legs and dazed expression prompted referee Max Parker Jr. to stop the fight at 2:45 in the third.
Montana said he knew he would defeat Smith early in the fight, claiming he predicted a third-round knockout to his corner before the fight.
“I told them before the fight I would knock him out in three, I just didn’t tell (the media),” Montana said.
After the fight, manager/trainer Henry Grooms said he and Smith would take a lengthy evaluation period to see if Smith should still continue as a heavyweight prizefighter.
Smith, who considers Grooms somewhat of a father figure, said if Grooms tells him it is time to walk away, he would listen.
“If he feels I need to walk away, then I’m walking away,” Smith said.
However, Smith said he’s got what it takes to be a legitimate heavyweight fighter and said he wants to continue fighting.