There was no comeback for Paul Benke this time.
Top-rated challenger Pedro Decima of Argentina stopped Banke at 2:35 of the fourth round Monday night to win the World Boxing Council super bantamweight title.Decima knocked down Banke three times in the fourth round. Referee Dr. James Jen-Kin waved off the fight even as Banke, who was making his second title defense, was heading for the canvas for the final time.
Decima dominated from the opening bell of the scheduled 12-rounder at the Forum.
Banke, of Richfield, Utah, was behind on points before mounting comebacks in winning the title in April and in his first defense. But Decima was too strong and accurate of a puncher, landing rights at will.
Midway through the fourth round, Decima used a right to put Banke on the seat of his pants in the center of the ring. He then backed Banke into his own corner and dropped him with a flurry of punches. Another right put Banke flat on his back, again in his own corner, his head under the corner ring post.
Decima hurt Banke in the first with a right to the body and stunned him twice in the second with right hands over the top. Decima used jabs to jolt Banke, then followed with rights.
Both fighters agreed that Decima's right in the first round set the tone.
"My first right cross to the body hurt Banke and I could see him start breathing heavily," Decima said.
"It wasn't a punch that could knock me out, but I could definitely feel that body shot in the first round," Banke said. "I felt strong but I just had a bad night. The stoppage was a good call by the referee. I've never been that dazed in my life. I felt as if my legs were gone."
Decima, 121 1/2 pounds, improved to 26-2, with 18 knockouts. Banke, making the second defense of the title he won in April, fell to 20-5, with 11 knockouts. Both are 26.
Banke won the title on April 23 when he stopped Daniel Zaragoza in the ninth round, also at the Forum. He successfully defended his title Aug. 18, knocking out Ki-Joon Lee of Korea in the 12th round at Ichon, Korea.
On the undercard, Fabian Tejeda, rated No. 7 by the WBC in the lightweight division, knocked out Cesar Martinez of Mexico in the third round of a scheduled 10-round fight. Tejeda opened a cut on the bridge of Martinez's nose in the first round, stunned him in the second and opened a cut over his left eye shortly before knocking him out with a big left hook.
Tejeda, 135 1/2, improved to 23-0 with 21 knockouts. Martinez, 135 3/4, the former Mexican 122-pound champion, fell to 23-6-1, with 17 knockouts.
In a semifinal match in the Forum featherweight preliminary tournament, Johnny Chavez of Azusa, Calif., won a unanimous 10-round decision over Louis Hernandez of Redlands, Calif. Chavez, 126 1/2, moved to 10-1, two by knockout. Hernandez, 126 1/2, fell to 11-10-5, two by knockout.
Chavez will face Jose Martinez in the finals.