By: William Holmes
HBO’s Boxing After Dark series presented a three fight dual site card tonight from the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada and the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Fight fans were buzzing with excitement over the recent announcement of a Sergey Kovalev and Bernanrd Hopkins bout; provided Kovalev defeated Caparello.
The first bout of the night was between Jessie Vargas (24-0) and Anton Novikov (29-0) for the WBO Junior Welterweight title. Novikov was a southpaw and had a nine pound weight advantage, but it showed in the first round that Vargas had more accurate and had quicker hands. His left hook was landing with regularity in the first and was starting to land his straight right hands with some power towards the end of the round.
In the second round Novikov was not able to offer much of a defense against Vargas’ constant offensive barrage. Vargas was landing at a higher rate and ended the round with a strong two punch combination.
Novikov did connect with some counter punches in the third round and appeared to do his best when he attacked the body, but Vargas was nearly doubling the number of connected power punches by the third round.
Novikov had a good fourth round and actually landed more punches than Vargas, but the action really started to heat up in the fifth round. Novikov was wobbled by a straight right cross from Vargas early in the fifth, but he recovered well and stayed poised as Vargas landed several hard combinations. Novikov closed out the round well by applying the pressure and looking like the fresher man.
Novikov took the center of the ring in the sixth round and was starting to really wear Vargas down. Varagas was lowned for a low blow in the sixth but thuds a hard over the top right hand that had Novikov momentarily hurt, but he was able to recover quickly. Novikov ended the sixth round by landing a series of straight left hands.
Vargas was warned in the seventh round to keep his punches up again by the referee. Novikov kept up the increasing work rate and was even starting to throw more combinations. No matter how hard Varags threw, Novikov was able to take it stay on his feet.
Varags’ punches looked like they were losing snap by the eighth round and hit Novikov with a low blow but was not deducted a point. Both boxers exchanged leather in the ninth and tenth rounds, but it was Novikov who was throwing combinations and pressing the action while Vargas only threw one punch at a time.
Vargas’ jab came back in the final two rounds of the fight, but Novikov looked like he was winning the fight and was ready to go another three rounds at the sound of the final bell.
It was a close fight and would have been difficult to score, but the judges scored it 118-111, 118-111, and 117-111.
Sergey Kovalev (24-0) and Blake Caparello (19-0-1) was the second televised fight of the night for the WBO Light Heavyweight Title at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The HBO announce team felt Kovalev would be feel more pressure for this fight since he knew he had a chance to face Bernard Hopkins next.
Caparello was a southpaw and used his jab in the first round to create some distance. Kovalev landed early with a right hook to the body and a counter straight right hand to the head. Caparello was able to knock Kovalev down with a straight left hand but Kovalev was able to get right back his feet and did not appeared to be phased or hurt. Kovalev pressed the action as soon as the fight restarted from the knockdown and was connecting with hard combinations. He was warned by the referee for a rabbit punch in the first round, and was able to momentarily knock Caparello off balance as the first round ended.
Caparello was circling towards Kovalev’s power right hand as the second round began and soon found himself trapped in a corner. Kovalev landed a vicious straight right hand to the body of Caparello that sent him down to one knee. He was able to beat the ten count but was still visibly hurt from that body shot. A straight right hand from Kovalev forced Caparello to take a knee and suffer another knockdown, but again he was able to rise to his feet. Kovlaev immediately jumped on Caparello and landed another combination that sent Caparello to his knees in the corner of the ring.
The referee ruled off the fight after three knockdown at 1:47 of the second round.
The final televised bout of the night was between Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (31-2) and Diego
Chaves (23-1) in the welterweight division.
Both boxers are coming off of a tough 2013 but showed immediately in the first round as to why HBO decided to show their fight last.
They both went on the offensive in the first round and Chaves was landing early. Rios was throwing hard combiantions back at Chaves and was landing goodleft hooks upstairs while Chaves was also throwing and landing haymakers. They kept the fight in a phone booth in the first round and Chaves at one point got tangled up with Rios’ feet and tripped to the mat.
The action continued in the second round as Chaves was throwing nearly everything into his punches. Both boxers came here prepared for a war and Rios at one point had Chaves fighting with his back against the ropes while he landed hard combination to the body and head of his opponent. Neither boxer appeared ready to back away in the second round.
Both boxers continued to land heavy shots in the third round, but it was Rios who was landing the harder punches that was making the head of Chaves’ head snap backwards. Chaves land a heavy right hook near the end of the third and Rios just smiles at him. Chaves loses a point for holding in the third but it looked questionable.
Chaves started off the fourth round landing a hard right hook to the head and then ripped right hookinto the body. Chaves touched Rios a lot in the fourth, but Rios responded well in the fifth by attacking the body of Chaves. Rios was also deducted a point by the referee in the fifth for what appeared to be holding.
Rios was jumping in during the sixth round to land some thudding body shots. The referee warned both for holding in the sixth and Chaves responded by connecting with several hard straight right hands that would have sent many boxers to the mat.
Chaves was doing well in mixing up his combinations in the seventh round against Brandon Rios who was showing little to zero heard movement, but Rios did do well when he was able to keep the fight in tight.
By the beginning of the eighth round both boxers had landed a total of one hundred and twenty six punches, but a good competitive fight was starting to turn real ugly as Chavez was deducted a point for pushing the face of Rios away when the referee was trying to break them apart.
The ninth round unfortunately got even uglier as both fighters fell to the mat from a front headlock takedown by Chaves. Immediately afterwards the fighters were tied up again and Rios begin to loudly curse at Chaves for committing some type of foul but it was not immediately apparent on television.
The referee called a halt to the contest at 1:26 of the ninth round by disqualifying Diego Chaves for repeated infractions of the rules despite several warnings of the referee.
After the fight Brandon Rios stated the foul that led to the disqualification was the fact that Diego Chaves kept on putting his thumb in his eye and was fighting dirty.