1998-05-29 Hugo Soto w pts 12 Jose Bonilla, Hilton Complex, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WBA

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1998-05-29 Hugo Soto w pts 12 Jose Bonilla, Hilton Complex, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WBA. Referee: Richard Steele. Scorecards: 114-116, 116-112, 116-113. In a battle between two crafty opponents, Bonilla (112) was outworked by Soto (111½) who used the left jab well to probe open the champion’s defences. Although Soto carried a cut left eye from the fifth it failed to hinder him, but as the contest moved into the final third it was extremely tight as Bonilla came more into the action when the Argentinian tired. In the aftermath, with Bonilla extremely angry over the decision, the WBA officials, having viewed a video replay, ordered a rematch.

Following this directive, the Association further announced that in future they would be using a panel of five to assess whether a rematch should be ordered or not after genuine protests were received.

Unfortunately for Bonilla, after the champion was injured in training Mauricio Pastrana stepped up to outpoint him over 12 rounds at the Jose Beracasa Gym, Caracas, Argentine on 3 October 1998, in what was termed an ‘interim’ title fight. However, Pastrana quickly moved on.