Chris Byrd vs. Fres Oquendo
2003-09-20 : Chris Byrd 211½ lbs beat Fres Oquendo 224 lbs by UD in round 12 of 12
- Location: Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA
- Referee: Eddie Cotton
- Judge: Don Ackerman 115-113
- Judge: Steve Epstein 116-112
- Judge: John Lawson 117-111
- Announcer: Jimmy Lennon Jr.
- Aired On: HBO World Championship Boxing
- International Boxing Federation Heavyweight Title (1st defense by Byrd)
Byrd wins unanimous decision over Oquendo
By Matt Apuzzo, The Associated Press
UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Chris Byrd won an unanimous decision over Fres Oquendo to retain his IBF heavyweight title Saturday night.
Byrd (37-2) controlled the pace, leading Oquendo across the ring, but Oquendo's counterpunches dominated the middle rounds and appeared to take Byrd off his game plan.
"I give Fres a lot of credit," Byrd said. "He never really hurt me, but there were a couple of times where I reminded myself that I had to hold my hands up high."
Oquendo (24-2) was stunned by the decision, as was the crowd at Mohegan Sun casino.
"The judges once again shafted another great fighter," Oquendo said.
A southpaw, Byrd led Oquendo with an extended right hand for the first two rounds, but Oquendo's hard counters forced Byrd to draw back and protect his head as the fight progressed.
That left Oquendo free to stun Byrd with several strong jabs, even while backing away from the speedy champion.
"He was strong and crafty, and there was no doubt that he was ready and wanted it," Byrd said.
Byrd, a Flint, Mich.-native, appeared to have more energy than the challenger in the later rounds and threw more punches, but Oquendo managed to keep slipping strong counters.
The champion fell to the mat in the 12th round after an effective combination from Oquendo, but the referee ruled it was not a knockdown. The replay showed Byrd might have tripped over Oquendo's feet.
That fall aside, Oquendo said he felt he won the fight by successfully fending off Byrd's rapid-fire attack.
"He hardly hit me," Oquendo said. "I was the aggressor."
It was Byrd's first title defense since beating Evander Holyfield for the vacant belt last year.
Byrd had hoped the title would draw the sport's big names into the ring. Instead, he got Oquendo, the No. 2 IBF contender.
"I was talking about Roy Jones and Lennox Lewis, but this guy showed me a lot," Byrd said. 
Byrd vs. Holyfield
| IBF Heavyweight Title Fight
Byrd vs. Golota