PBC Card in Philadelphia had its Ups and Downs
PBC Card in Philadelphia had its Ups and Downs
By Eric Lunger
I happened to attend the Danny Garcia vs. Samuel Vargas PBC event Saturday night in Philadelphia. The experience was a pleasure all around, except, unfortunately, for the main event. I’ll get to that in a moment, but first I’ll offer a few observations about watching live boxing in Philadelphia. First off, the Liacouras Center is a wonderful venue; parking, access, concessions, the arena staff – everything was top-notch. And the arena feels small and big at the same time: when seated close to the ring, the blazing lights make you feel like the ring dominates the whole building; but if you wander up to the upper decks, you can sit by yourself in the massive bank of seats looking down on the spectacle. I did so for Garcia’s ring walk, and watching his massive entourage snake its way to the ring between the crowd-control barriers was like watching an ill-intentioned dragon slither out of a burrow.
The crowd was an interesting mix of folks from almost all walks of life. I was surprised and pleased by the congenial and carnival-like atmosphere. Everyone was courteous, in a cheerful mood, and there was a sense of camaraderie in the building, like, “Hey, we’re all here for fight night!” Not the usual Philly sports crowd – I’ve been to a Flyers game where they booed the Zamboni driver. There were well-dressed folks; there were folks in jeans and sweatshirts. There were couples out for date night. It was also very much a home-town night, in so far as the promoters had a done a nice job matching local prospects against good, but not world class opponents. Omar Douglas, from Wilmington, DE, and Jarrett Hurd, from Maryland, were loudly supported by their traveling fans.
There are some interesting things about watching boxing live, as opposed to on TV. First thing I noticed was how tense the crowd was during the bouts. A boxing crowd goes from tense quiet to an explosion of sound in split-second. A good shot or big punch is immediately punctuated by a crowd reaction. But most of the time, the crowd is tensely observing the action, with occasional members yelling instructions to the fighters, which I doubt they hear. A corollary of the relative quiet is that the punches are audible. A “thudding” punch is not just a cliché – its real. Second thing I noticed was that I didn’t miss having TV commentators interpret the fight for me. I had to really focus on what was going on in the ring and I had to rely on my own interpretation of who won that round, or why so-and-so stopped using his jab, or where a certain fighter’s strength lay. It made for a much more immersive and active experience.
Watching boxing live also underscores how dangerous boxing really is, and why defensive boxing is such an art. The punches are fast, accurate, and hard. Javier Fortuna in the first round of the first televised undercard made one error, and Omar Douglas caught him with a brutal hook inside: Fortuna went down like he had been shot in the head. From then on, Fortuna fought from the outside, boxed, jabbed, moved, and never again got in range of that short hook. That bout developed, after the first round knock down, into a classic battle between a come-forward puncher (Douglas) and a dancing, southpaw boxer (Fortuna). Fortuna edged out Douglas on the cards and the crowd was not happy with the decision, though I think it was correct.
The second undercard was entertaining and compelling as well, but for other reasons. Jarrett Hurd is a talented and fundamentally trained boxer with a complete skill set. He is also a big super welterweight – keep you eye on him in the future. His opponent, a very tough and very professional Jo Jo Dan, took a lot of punishment, landed a number of his own shots, but didn’t have the power at this weight to do damage. Hurd was patient, methodical, and precise, landing increasing damaging blows through Dan’s defense. The referee called off the bout at the right time, as Dan took more damage without returning fire.
I wish I could say something positive about the main event, as I think the Garcia camp has taken enough abuse in the media, but Samuel Vargas (nothing against him personally) was a gross mismatch. The fact that he lasted seven rounds testifies to his toughness, if nothing else. Garcia blasted him at will. The partisan Garcia fans loved it, but it was lesser end to a better undercard. It was a shame because the Liacouras Center is a great venue to watch boxing, and the undercard deserved a better main event.
Danny “Swift” Garcia stops Samuel Vargas in Philly Saturday!
Danny “Swift” Garcia stops Samuel Vargas in Philly Saturday!
By: Ken Hissner
Premier Boxing Champions and Kings Promotions came to the beautiful Temple Universities Liacouras Center in North Philadelphia Saturday night over SPIKE TV.
WBC Welterweight champion Danny “Swift” Garcia, 33-0 (19), made a return to his city in Philadelphia with a non-title fight stopping game Colombian Samuel Vargas, 25-3-1 (13), now out of Canada in the seventh round. While Angel Garcia the father-trainer of Garcia will be in one corner and Philly’s Billy Briscoe will be in the corner of Vargas.
The arena was packed with Garcia fans at the Liacouras Center in North Philly. Keith Thurman the WBA champion got into the ring and they went face to face yelling what each is going to do in March when they meet to unify two titles.
In the Main Event WBC Welterweight Champion Danny “Swift” Garcia, 33-0 (19), of Philly, stopped Colombian Samuel Vargas, 25-3-1 (13), of Canada in the seventh round having Vargas defensless.
In the first round Garcia landed an overhand right to the head of Vargas letting him know the power he has. In the second round an overhand right by Garcia dropped Vargas who did a backwards somersault. In the third round Garcia rocked Vargas on two occasions with overhand rights to the head. In the fourth round Garcia had his way but Vargas had one of his better rounds. In the fifth round Garcia went to the body of Vargas then the head. In the sixth round Garcia knew with Keith Thurman working with Spike TV he had to close the show. In the seventh round Garcia came out looking to end things as he had the head of Vargas bouncing back and forth before referee Gary Rosato stepped in to prevent anymore punishment to Vargas.
Jarrett “Swift” Hurd, 19-0 (13), Accokeek, MD, stopped Romanian southpaw Jo Jo Dan, 35-4 (18), Montreal, CAN, when his corner stopped it at 1:06 in the sixth round.
In the opening round Dan seemed to have an edge with little in return from Hurd who opened up having Dan out on his feet with speed a hand. In the second round Dan got back in the fight well staying inside with Hurd. In the third round a very low blow from Hurd dropped Dan. Referee Benjy Esteves, Jr. gave him a well deserved 5 minute rest. In the fourth round it was back and fourth with the shorter Dan. In the fifth round things continue to go back and forth. It seems until Hurd gets hit he doesn’t do much.
In the sixth round Hurd had Dan in serious trouble when Dan’s corner threw in the towel at 1:06 of the round.
Omar “Super O” Douglas, 17-1 (12), Wilmington, DE, lost in a foul filled bout to Dominican Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna, 31-1-1 (22), Braintree, MASS, over 10 rounds. Fans didn’t like it.
In a feeling out round it all of a sudden came alive with Fortuna rocking Douglas. It may have spurred him on because he came back and dropped Fortuna with a left hook to the head. In the second round it was close but Fortuna’s southpaw jab seemed to keep Douglas at bay. In the third round the hand speed of Fortuna is keeping Douglas from coming forward. In the fourth round with his hands low from the start Fortuna uses both his hand and foot speed to good use. When Douglas gets inside Fortuna ties him up. In the fifth round it was jab and grab on the part of Fortuna as he frustrates Douglas.
In the sixth round referee Clark warned Fortuna several times for infractions yet hasn’t taken a point from him. Douglas keeps chasing him to no avail. In the seventh round it continues to be more holding by Fortuna than punching but Douglas is having a hard time landing a solid punch. In the eighth round Douglas had a better round though Fortuna landed the best punch with a left to the chin. In the ninth round the referee Clark continues to allow Fortuna to jab and grab and refuses to take a point away. Fortuna has fought a smart fight but the fans showed their displeasure. In the tenth and final round it turned out to be the best exchange of the fight before Fortuna went back to his old tactics. Douglas keeps missing his left hook over the head of Fortuna.
Scores were Schreck 96-94, Lundy 96-93 and LaRosa 95-94. This writer had it 97-92.
Middleweight Kyrone “Shut It Down” Davis, 11-1 (5), of Wilmington, DE, stopped Carlos Gabriel Ozan, 12-2 (4), of Mendoza, ARG, at 0:41 of the third round with an impressive showing.
In the first round Davis controlled the pace. He was landing good uppercuts inside to the body. A combination had Ozan holding on with Davis throwing him down. The referee Esteves ruled it a knockdown. In the second round Davis was slipping punches and landing very effective to both body and head of Ozan who was hurt on several occasions. He doesn’t seem to have enough power to hurt Davis. Davis started it off with a body shot to the midsection followed up with a left hook to the head and as Ozan was going down Davis landed another four punches putting Ozan to the canvas face first. He beat the count of referee Esteves but kept falling backwards into the ropes as referee Esteves wisely called a halt. “I have dedicated this fight to the rest of my career after my last showing. I spent seven months in camp that was good in every aspect“, said Davis.
Super lightweight Milton “El Santo” Santiago, 16-0 (3), of Philly, won a decision over Claudio Rosendo Tapia, 28-17-4 (13), of Mendoza, ARG, over 8 rounds.
In the first round Santiago was landing more punches using his left well to the body and head. Tapia holds his own inside. In the second round Tapia got more offensive backing Santiago up. It was a close round though Santiago seemed to pull it out. In the third round both boxers had their moments. At the end it looked like Tapia may have slipped unless a right by Santiago did it. In the fourth round it was more of the same with Santiago holding a solid lead through 4 rounds.
In the fifth round Santiago rocked Tapia with a combination to the head putting him into the ropes. In the sixth round Santiago rocked Tapia with two consecutive rights to the head. Near the end of the round Santiago went southpaw without landing anything. In the seventh round Santiago not being a puncher is landing with nice combinations. Tapia in the last part of the round was landing punch for punch with Santiago. In the eighth and final round Santiago is loading up landing rights to the head looking for one of his rare knockouts. The rest of the round ended with both giving it up.
All 3 judges and this writer had it 80-72. Clark was the referee.
Super featherweight Antonio Dubose, 8-2-1 (2), of Philly, lost a majority decision to Titus Williams, 7-0 (2), of Elmont, Long Island, NY, over 6 rounds. The fans were not happy with the decision.
Judges Portajk 57-57, Anthony Lundy 59-55 and LaRosa 58-56. This writer had it 57-57.
In the first round Williams showed a very fast jab as Dubose goes after him. On several inside exchanges Dubose came out on top but the quickness of Willams is obvious most effective. In the second round Dubose rocked William with a combination to the head. Near the end of the round Williams knocked Dubose back with a left hook but Dubose came right back landing a combination at the bell. In the third round Dubose was finding the mark rocking Williams with overhand rights to the head.
In the fourth round both fighters had their moments. As long as Dubose was going forward he was fine. When he hurt Williams he was being held. When Dubose set back he got out boxed by Williams. In the fifth round it was close but Dubose seemed to edge out the round. In the sixth and final round with the fight very close both need this round. Williams continues to use his speed while Dubose loads up for heavier punches. By the time the bell sounded Williams may have had the edge.
In a swing bout bantamweight Christian Carto, 5-0 (5), of Philly, stopped Leonardo Reyes, 4-11-1 (1), Tijuana, MEX, at 2:17 of the second round.
In the first round it was Carto pressing Reyes with a quick jab and a follow-up straight right to the head. In the second round a straight right from Carto to the head of Reyes floored him. Upon getting up Reyes was greeted with a barrage of punches from Carto before referee Esteves wisely called a halt.
Super featherweight Thomas “T.J.” Velasquez, 6-0 (4), of Philly, easily defeated Raul “El Ciclon De” Chirino, 8-4 (4), of Miami, FL, over 4 rounds.
In the first round it was all Velasquez going mostly to the head and some to the body of Chirino who spent the round on defense. In round two it was more of the same with less punches thrown by Velasquez with Chirino not doing much on the offense. In the third round Velasquez had Chirino hurt time and again. In the fourth and final round Velasquez is looking for the knockout
Lightweight Jeffrey Torres, 2-0 (1), of Philly easily defeated Joseph Serrano, 0-1 (0), of Philly, over 4 rounds.
Torres went right after Serrano landing many rights to the head of Serrano rocking him on several occasions. Just before the bell Torres dropped Serrano with a right to the head in Serrano’s corner. In the second round Torres continued chasing Serrano and almost hitting him at will. In the third round Serrano was able to land a couple of counters but Torres otherwise took the round. In the fourth and final round Serrano was having his best round countering but Torres would get the rights to the head in having Serrano out on his feet.
Scores were 40-36 twice and 40-34 with this writer having it 40-35. Referee was Clark. The question was did the first round knockdown get overruled? The press is so far back we are almost outside.