PHILADELPHIA -- San Diego rivals Terry Norris and Paul Vaden turned what was billed as a "grudge match" into a 12-round sleepwalk last night in the junior middleweight unification appetizer to the Mike Tyson-Buster Mathis main course.
All 12 rounds were sluggish and the estimated 9,000 fans at the Spectrum derided the lack of action. But Norris, who forced the issue throughout, did what little fighting there was and won a lopsided decision.
Norris, who owned the World Boxing Council crown, added Vaden's International Boxing Federation belt to his collection.
One judge, William James of Phoenix, gave the winner all 12 rounds, voting 120-108. George Hill of Philadelphia (119-109) and Barbara Perez of New Jersey (118-110) also strongly favored Norris.
Vaden, suffering his first loss in 25 professional bouts, hardly looked like the same dedicated fighter who rallied in the late rounds last August to stop Baltimore's Vincent Pettway in the 12th.
The slender boxer with a penchant for poetry fought most of the fight off the ropes, content to catch Norris' blows on his shoulders and gloves. He seldom launched a counterattack.
"I'm not making any excuses," Vaden said. "I don't want to take anything away from him."
Norris (41-6), who had threatened to kill Vaden, the former suitor of the woman who later would become Norris' wife, never landed a telling punch. As the slow-paced fight progressed, Vaden also lost his aggressiveness.
"My plan was to beat his butt for 12 rounds and I did," said Norris.
The preceding fight contained much more excitement, especially the end.
Argentina's Julio Cesar Vasquez, trailing badly on all three cards, landed a stunning left hook on the chin of Carl Daniels early in the 11th round and regained the World Boxing Association junior middleweight title.
Daniels tried desperately to regain his feet. He barely beat the count, but staggered aimlessly around the ring when referee Charlie Sgrillo tossed an arm around him and halted the fight at 34 seconds of the 11th.
The left-handed Daniels had dominated the match with a punishing right jab and sharp, short combinations before the unexpected ending. The 25-year-old St. Louis native had given his Latin rival a painful boxing lesson and even showed flashes of power in flooring Vasquez with a short left in the third round.
The bull-like Vasquez (56-2), who had lost his crown to Pernell Whitaker in Atlantic City on a decision last March, appeared frustrated in trying to catch his quicker rival. But one big punch proved the difference.
A knockout was the only way Vasquez could win. He trailed on two judges' cards, 98-92. The third official had Daniels in front, 97-92.
It was only the second professional loss in 37 fights for Daniels, who had been stopped by Norris in his first title bid three years ago. He was making his first championship defense after out-pointing Julio Cesar Green in France for the title last June.
In an earlier bout, England's new heavyweight hope, Henry Akinwande, raised his unbeaten record to 27-0-2 by winning a unanimous decision over former champion Tony Tucker (52-4) of Los Angeles in a 10-rounder billed as an "elimination bout."
Akinwande, lanky and awkward at 6 feet 7, consistently beat Tucker to the punch. He used his long jab to pile up points and then danced out of harm's way.
Previously, his biggest claim to fame was having won a decision over Germany's Axel Schulz.
This was probably the last shot for Tucker, 36, to be a legitimate championship contender. He lost his last two title bids against Lennox Lewis and Bruce Seldon.