Marlon Starling won a war of attrition, while Mark Breland barely broke a sweat while beating foreign opponents for pieces of the world welterweight title Saturday night.
"There can only be one boss in there," the 30-year-old Starling, of Hartford, Conn., said after battering Lloyd Honeyghan of Great Britain into submission for the World Boxing Council championship at the Caesars Palace Sports Pavilion."I am the boss," Starling said. "This is my house."
Actually, Starling has moved into a new house - the WBC championship. He was the World Boxing Association champion, but lost that title on a controversial knockout to Thomas Molinares last July 29 at Atlantic City. Tape showed the knockout punch was delivered after the bell sounded ending the sixth round.
While it took Starling four rounds to get Honeyghan's timing down, it took Breland just 54 seconds to end his fight against Lee Seung-Soon of South Korea for the WBA title vacated by Molinares in January.
Starling, who appeared to be on the short end of the first four rounds, came on strong and stopped Honeyghan at 1:19 of the ninth round.
The victories, before about 4,300 fans, sets up a third meeting betweeen Starling and Breland, of New York, in April or May.
Starling won the WBA 140-pound title with an 11-round knockout of Breland in 1987 and kept it when he and Breland fought a draw last April 16.
Starling, who weighed 146, almost closed Honeyghan's right eye, pounded his face lopsided, drew blood from his nose and knocked the Briton down in the ninth round with three or four shots to the head. Honeyghan got up at five, but after another barrage of head punches, referee Mills Lane stopped the bout at 1:19 of the round.
Honeyghan, who weighed 1461/2, set a blistering pace for four rounds as he speared Starling with left-rights, left jabs and hard body shots. But Honeyghan paid the price and it was obvious in the fifth round that he was a very tired fighter.
Starling knocked out Honeyghan's mouthpiece with a three-punch barrage right before the bell ending the fifth round.
In the sixth and seventh rounds, Honeyghan ran while Starling kept stalking and landing occasional hard shots to the head.
Starling set Honeyghan up for the kill in the first minute of the eighth round. He had the Briton holding after eight or nine blows to the head.
Starling also hurt Honeyghan with four left hooks and a right to the head. The defending champion escaped but could not get through the ninth round.
Breland, who often has been criticized for lack of fire in his performances, came out and speared Lee with two jolting left jabs, followed by a flurry of four punches to the head.
Breland, 147, then knocked Lee down. The Korean got up, reeled across the ring, fell and got up again. Referee Richard Steele gave Lee a standing eight count, then after a barrage of Breland punches, Steele stopped the match.
"I knew I had to go out and get on top of him," Breland said. "Usually, I'm laid back and take my time. I noticed he came out and moved his head back and forth and threw some wild jabs. I knew I would get him."
Breland's friend, Mike Tyson, was at ringside and said, "This is the first time I ever saw him with bad intentions."