By Doug Fischer
LAS VEGAS -- Former lightweight titleholder Nate Campbell may have fought his last bout as a world-class fighter after struggling through an eight-round split-decision loss to well-traveled journeyman Walter Estrada in the final bout of the non-televised undercard of the Juan Manuel Marquez-Michael Katsidis lightweight championship at the MGM Grand.
Estrada (38-13-1, 25 KOs), of Miami, Fla., by way of Colombia, won by scores of 77-74, 77-74, and 75-76, despite being penalized one point by referee Jay Nady for holding and hitting in the third round.
Campbell (33-7-1, 25 KOs), of Jacksonville, Fla., was troubled with Estrada's looping left to the body, his ocassional movement and holding tactics. The 38-year-old veteran was able to land his vaunted right hand in spots throughout the contest but he was often countered and had a difficult cuttin gthe ring on Estrada with the 35-year-old Colombian utilized lateral movement.
The loss was Campbell's second in a row. He hasn't won a fight since he scored a majority decision over Ali Funeka last February. Campbell, who had abdicate his three lightweight belts prior the Funeka fight because he couldn't make weight, fought three-round No-Contest with 140-pound titleholder Timothy Bradley last August and then dropped a 10-round decision to junuior welterweight standout Victor Ortiz in May.
Estrada has snapped a five-bout losing streak by going 3-0-1 in his last four fights against solid opposition.
Cuban amateur standout Erislandy Lara scored a ridiculously easy stoppage of woefully outclassed Tim Connors in the first round of a scheudled 10-round junior middleweight bout.
Lara (14-0, 9 KOs), now based in Miami, Fla., dropped and hurt Connors (10-2, 7 KOs), of St. Louis, with a jab one minute into the round. The skilled southpaw almost nonchalantly finished Connors with a few follow-up left hands that once again dropped his over-matched opponent.
Referee Robert Byrd did the right thing by waving the fight off at 1:38 of the round without issuing a count.
Lara is scheduled to fight in February (on an ESPN2-televised card). His management is targeting a shot at
Junior middlewieght prospect Keith Thurman scored an impressive one-punch knockout of tough Flavio Medina in the fourth round of their scheduled eight-round bout.
Thurman (15-0, 14 KOs), of Largo, Fla., laid Medina (23-3-3, 8 KOs), of Guadalajara, Mexico, out with a right uppercut-left hook combination near the end of the fourth round.
Medina, a battle-tested veteran based in Idaho, was competitive throughout the fight but was clearly bothered by badly bloodied nose, which may have been broken at the end of the first round.
Thurman stuck-and-moved from the outside, targeting the nose of Medina, who countered well to the body whenever he was in range. However, the power of the 22-year-old propspect proved to much for the 30 year old.
Super middleweight prospect Bastie Samir (7-0, 7 KOs), of Las Vegas by way of Ghana, stopped Billy Cunningham (4-8, 4 KOs), of Jackson, Miss., in the second rond of thier scheduled four rounder.
Welterweight prospect Michael Finney (6-0, 6 KOs), of Las Vegas, stopped Clayvonne Howard (2-5-1, 1 KO), of Brooklyn, in the second round of their scheduled four rounder.