By Johnny Walker
Tonight’s SHO Box tripleheader broadcast from Indio, California was a mixed bag: two quick knockouts and a one-sided ten round struggle.
In the first junior middleweight match, Jermall “The Hitman” Charlo (14-0, 10 KO’s), of Houston, Texas, didn’t take long to dispose of Antoine Smith, who had failed to make weight for the third time in a row.
Charlo went to work right away in round, and it seemed obvious that the weight-challenged Smith was already losing energy. In round two, Charlo landed a triple combination of left jabs followed by a left hook, that left Smith reeling. Charlo then landed a straight right hand followed by a looping right on the ear, and Charles was on the canvas.
Charles beat the count, but was weak and wobbly was counted out by the referee at 2:23 of round two.
In the next fight, Francisco “El Bandito” Vargas (16-0-1, 13 KO’s), of Tijuana, Mexico, took on left-handed Brandon “The Untouchable” Bennett (16-0, 7 KO’s), of Cincinnati. After an uneventful first round that Bennett may have edged, the rest of the fight was repetitive, with Vargas pounding the outclassed Bennett in the corners, where he seemed content to stay. Vargas pounded Bennett hard to the body, and the only injuries he received in return were a couple of headbutts from Bennett. But round after round, it was Vargas who showed his tenacity as Bennett resorted to repeated holding, for which he was flirting with disqualification.
There was no suspense at all, then, as the judges’ tallies of 99-91, 99-90, and 98-92 for Vargas were read.
In the main event, Deontay Wilder kept his reputation as the Great American Heavyweight Hope alive, making it 24 knockout wins in 24 fights by destroying former WBO heavyweight champion Sergei “The White Wolf” Liakhovich in devastating fashion, stopping him with a vicious full-on right hand at 1:43 of round one.
That leaves the hunt alive for a fighter who can give Wilder a few rounds. Many thought that fighter would be Sergei Liakhovich. But based on tonight’s scary knockout loss, it might be better if “The White Wolf” packed it in.