Rey Vargas Overcomes Tomoki Kameda’s Early Assault to Defend Super Bantamweight title
By Robert Aaron Contreras
On Saturday, super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas (34-0, 22 KO) fought off his toughest and most experienced title challenger to date, former beltholder Tomoki Kameda (36-3, 20 KO).
Three identical scores of 117-110 were met with boos from the crowd in Carson, California but Vargas overcame an early assault from his foe, adjusting in the middle stages to take advantage of his incredible size, and keep Kameda at bay to earn a justifiable unanimous decision.
“Kameda has a lot of experience but I fought an intelligent fight,” Vargas said in the ring. “The idea was to throw a lot of punches. I knew he was going to push forward but we made it a smart fight.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy
The first two rounds appeared to belong to Kameda, 28, of Osaka, Japan. He continually befuddled the much taller Vargas, 28, with snapping overhand rights and calculated pressure—never darting in from the same angle twice, never giving the defending champion a standstill target to tee off on.
Flickering body punches set up lethal overhand rights from Kameda. And Vargas, punching in reverse, was unable to establish any early offense.
Vargas moved forward with purpose in the third period. But Kameda wrapped up his man to avoid being caught in a corner. The sizable champion relied on his range, navigating the outside of the ring, tossing out a long jab and smashing hooks into Kameda’s gloves. The Japanese banger remained effective with vicious, arcing blows focused upstairs.
The action grew chippy in fourth frame. Though over the next three rounds Vargas would outwork his challenger. Kameda was a bully up close but tried jabbing with the Mexican beltholder, which Vargas was going to win every single time.
Now picking Kameda apart, Vargas stepped in with elongated jabs, pausing to interchange right and left uppercuts. He had stole the momentum back and a telling moment in Round 7 demonstrated the fight’s unfolding narrative as Vargas pumped out two consecutive jabs, followed by a straight right hand (one-one-two) that skid off the left side of Kameda’s wincing face.
More prodding left hands from Vargas caught Kameda off guard, who would eat the shots while cocking back right hands.
In Round 8, there continued the undulating pattern between both men’s contrasting gameplans. Kameda, commending the center of the ring, walked the champion down, but in too much of an uncreative, straightforward manner that Vargas routinely deterred with long hooks. The Japanese brawler didn’t let off, dipping and gluing himself at times to Vargas’ chest, delivering very short punches to the midsection.
Slinging uppercuts from Vargas were more eye-catching and surely gained more attention from the ringside judges. Kameda found no success on the inside in the ninth and tenth stanzas. Even when he made it inside he opted to clamp up Vargas.
Urgency was at its peak by the penultimate round. With the end in sight, Kameda came barreling in. And Vargas’ offense disappeared, avoiding any exchanges. Kameda clinched up with his opponent and wasn’t shy about punching out of the break.
Early in Round 12, Kameda drove Vargas to the ropes, and as referee Jerry Cantu was between the two, he stuffed two punches into Vargas. The champion played up the punches, but on principle, Cantu deducted a point from Kameda.
The few minutes remaining were made up of Kameda chasing down a roaming Vargas, chippy shots reining down from all over, desperation punches—the creative pressure that stole the first segment of the fight, gone; as was all hope.
Kameda conceded the night to Vargas. “I recognize Vargas,” he said, refuting the jeering audience members. “I respect him as a champion—he won.”
The hefty output from Vargas amounted to nearly 800 punches, landing 173 of 793 total shots (22 percent) while Kameda landed 133 of 394 total punches (34 percent). The Mexican slugger threw over 400 jabs. Kameda, less than 100.
Now the five-time defending champion, Vargas seems to have turned his attention to unified titlist Danny Roman, who was in attendance.
“Danny, you are here,” Vargas said. “We need to unify titles. Why not? I want three titles. We’re ready. The people want the fight. When Mexicans fight another Mexican, it’s a war.”
Ronny Rios shocks Diego de la Hoya by sixth-round knockout
After continually falling short at the world level, Ronny Rios (31-3, 15 KO) pulled off the biggest win of his career, upending rising star Diego de la Hoya (21-1, 10 KO). It was blood and guts, two-way action through five rounds but early in the sixth period, a two-punch combination from Rios sent de la Hoya to a knee, and despite rising to his feet, the hotshot prospect let the referee know he had had enough.
It was nothing short of a feeling-out round in the opening three minutes. By the second round, Rios loosened up, briefly buckling DLH’s knees with a winging right hand. De la Hoya stuffed a couple of his own right hands into the chin of Rios and the action picked up in both directions.
Both men traded in the center of the ring—another classic SoCal melee seemed imminent. Each relying on their own brand of box-fighting: Rios firing short, chopping blows; de la Hoya’s right and left hands flaring here and there from a longer range.
Rios, 29, was eager to stay on top of his man to open the third stand. He immediately let his weight carry him onto a overhand right. Some left digs to the body complimented the assault. So the 24-year-old de la Hoya, now battling a bloody nose in addition to his rabid veteran opponent, began putting his hands together: various right and left hands always preceding a sharp right uppercut.
The younger combatant continued to have success, stepping into a long jab, and doubling up on lead right crosses. His combinations flowed effortlessly, but Rios went to work—not as pretty
But punches still careening in from every angle: right hooks followed by a sweeping left.
The violence seemed to simmer down in the fifth period. Early on here, de la Hoya refused to engage except on his own terms. Rios shot in and DLH easily sprang backwards, away from danger. Then he would blind his man upstairs with an elongated jab; once Rios lowered his hand and raised his gloves to catch it, a right uppercut from de la Hoya found its target through the older man’s gloves.
Rios wouldn’t be denied for long. Some left hooks bounced off of de la Hoya’s head. And the prospect was forced to bite down on his mouthpiece as he returned fire.
Both men walked out for the fateful sixth round composed. After a quick exchange, Rios coiled up his body to throw a left body hook, and then a slashing right uppercut that crashed into de la Hoya’s head. The upstart went down and after speaking with referee Rudy Barragan, his undefeated ledger was gone.
Rios has now won back-to-back bouts. Since 2014, his only two losses were a title fight and title eliminator. Five of his previous six wins are by knockout.
According to DAZN’s punch stats, Rios connected on 131 of 316 total punches (42 percent) and de la Hoya landed 112 of 336 total punches (33 percent). Rios also delivered 52 parent of his power punches, compared to DLH’s 45 percent.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Ray Beltran Becomes Champ in War with Moses
By: Bryant Romero
Another Top Rank card on ESPN is in the books and the fans who attended at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada were treated to a great fight in the main event.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing
On the undercard, the A-sides to each bout delivered in expected victories as Heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings (22-2, 13 KOs) demolished an overmatched Akhror Muralimov (16-4) in just three rounds. Also, U.S. Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (5-0, 2 KOs) scored a wide unanimous decision win over Juan Tapia (8-2, 3 KOs) in what was his first scheduled eight-rounder of the 20-year-old’s 10 month pro career.
In the co-featured bout, the “Mean Machine” Egidijus Kavaliauskas (19-0, 6 KOs) defeated his most notable opponent to date by stopping former world champion David Avanesyan (23-2-1) in the sixth round. The bout started out slowly as Kavaliauskas slowly but surely broke down Avanesyan with big counter power shots, rocking the former champion with hooks and overhand rights. The mean machine was simply too strong for the Russian fighter as referee Tony Weeks was forced to put a halt to the bout after consecutive unanswered blows were delivered to the head and body of Avanesyan.
Finally in the main event, Ray Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) was a heavy favorite to pick up the vacant WBO lightweight strap against 39-year-old Paulus Moses (40-4, 25 KOs). However, it was a much more difficult than expected for Beltran as Moses withstood the early onslaught and began to gain confidence as the bout progressed. The Nambian fighter started to gain momentum in the middle rounds opening cuts on both of the eyes of the Mexican fighter with an accurate jab and big straight right hands.
Despite fighting with cuts over both eyes for nine-plus rounds, Beltran dug deep and got a second wind in the last quarter of the fight as Moses began to tire.
Beltran closed the fight strong establishing more distance between himself and his opponent, getting tagged less, and scoring several power shots of his own. The late rally seemed to seal the deal for Beltran as he was awarded with a comfortable unanimous decision win. The Mexican immigrant won the WBO lightweight title in his fourth attempt as his ongoing pursuit for a green card may finally come to an end.
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Cotto Closes Career with Loss to Ali, Vargas Defeats Negrete
By: William Holmes
A champion in four divisions and a lock for the boxing hall of fame, the legendary Miguel Cotto fought the last fight of his career in the building that helped make him famous, Madison Square Garden.
Surprisingly, despite campaigning in the middleweight division, Miguel Cotto weighted in at 151.6lbs while Sadam Ali, who has fought in the welterweight division and is bumping up a weight class to face Cotto, weighed in at 153lbs. Many, including this writer, expected Cotto to weigh in at a heavier weight than Ali
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter
The opening bout of the night was between Rey Vargas (30-0) and Oscar Negrete (17-0) for the WBC Junior Featherweight Title.
Vargas, the taller fighter, was able to use his height to his advantage in the opening round and landed a high volume of punches to the body and head of Negrete. He was able to get a full extension on his shots in the second round and had Negrete taking some hard shots.
Vargas connected with three straight uppercuts followed by a right hook in the opening seconds of the third round. At one point in the third Negrete stepped on the foot of Vargas and knocked him over, but the referee correctly ruled it a push. Vargas’ sharp shots continued into the fourth round and fifth rounds but Negrete, to his credit, never stopped coming forward.
Negrete snuck in a few good shots of his own, especially when he was in tight, but Vargas’ combinations were numerous.
Negrete took some heavy body shots by Vargas in the sixth round, but did land his best punch of the night, a left hook, in the ninth round.
The eighth round was also tight as Negrete surprisingly landed some combinations, and Vargas had a cuts over both of his eyes. The referee checked it in the eighth and before the ninth rounds but let Vargas continue.
Negrete was out matched and out gunned, but continued to press the pace in the final rounds but took a barrage of punches in the process.
Vargas’ cut over his left eye looked pretty bad, but he was never in danger of being hurt.
The judges scored it 119-109, 119-109, and 120-108 for Rey Vargas.
Miguel Cotto (41-5) and Sadam Ali (25-1) met in the main event of the night for the WBO Junior Middleweight Title.
Cotto walked out to no walk out music so that he could hear the crowd.
The crowd loudly chanted for Cotto in the opening round, but Ali established he had the superior hand speed early on and connected with some surprising punches. Cotto was able to land his patented left hook to the body, but Ali looked like he was landing at a higher connect rate.
Cotto was badly hurt in the second round from a right cross by Ali. Cotto’s legs were wobbly, but Ali did not press the action to try and finish the fight. Ali slipped in the second round, but he definitely had Cotto hurt.
Ali’s length gave Cotto trouble in the third round but Cotto was pressing the action. Cotto was hurt once again in the fourth round by Ali, but was able to recover and come forward behind his jab.
Cotto’s attack to the body appeared to be effective in the fifth and sixth rounds, especially when he had Ali backed into a corner. Ali’s right eye began to swell in the seventh round but he was landing good shots to the head of Cotto.
Cotto had Ali backed into the ropes several times in the eighth and did his best work there, but Ali retook control in the ninth round as Cotto looked like he was tiring.
Ali landed a vicious left hook on Cotto in the tenth round that had Cotto on wobbly legs again and his mouth wide open. Cotto was on full retreat in the tenth and appeared to be close to going down.
Ali came out aggressively in the eleventh round and looked like he was going for the knockout. His corner had previously urged him to be more aggressive. Cotto survived and circled away from the attacking Ali.
Cotto came out aggressive in the final round but looked tired and slow. Ali was the fresher fighter and closed out the fight well.
The final scores were 115-113, 116-112, 115-113 for Sadam Ali.
In the post fight interview Cotto confirmed it was his last fight, and revealed he hurt his left bicep in the seventh round.
Cotto stated, “Feeling good. Feeling good with the performance. Something happened to my left bicep, seventh round. I don’t want to make excuses, Sadam won the fight. It is my last fight. I am good, and I want to be happy in my home with my family.
“Thank you for all the fans, I am proud to call MSG my second home. I had the opportunity to provide the best for my family because of the sport.”
I worked hard for it.” Said Sadam Ali. “I took advantage of this fight, and I made sure to make it count. I want to Thank God, and also thank team Cotto, They could have taken an easier fight if they wanted too. ”
“I had him hurt here or there in the first couple of rounds. I knew I had to do something, or he would have dug in. By the 11th, I thought the fight was close. Whatever GBP has next, I’ll take it. Good things happen to good people. I have been training since I was 8 years old, and I am glad I got this win at MSG, in my hometown.”
Lamont Roach, Jr., Dominates Perez in Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN
By: Eric Lunger
The MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD, was the venue for Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN this evening, and featured undefeated prospect Lamont Roach, Jr. (15-0, 6 KOs) in a ten-round super featherweight bout against Filipino Rey Perez (21-8, 6 KOs). Roach, 22, the hometown Maryland fighter with an extensive amateur background, brought a technical and polished style into the ring. Perez, a determined and veteran orthodox fighter, was making his debut in the United States.
Undefeated Super Featherweight prospect Lamont Roach, Jr. (Right) lands a right hand en route to a unanimous decision victory over Rey Perez (Left) on November 30, 2017 in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
PHOTO CREDIT: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Round one was a professional feeling-out round with Roach landing the more effective jabs. In the second, Perez erupted with a body attack in the latter half of the round. While Roach caught a lot of the punches on his arms, Perez let Roach know he came to compete. In the third, the poised and patient Roach landed several good combinations, bringing the crowd to life. The fourth saw Roach’s hand speed and accuracy start to dictate the direction of the fight, and forcing Perez to keep his hands at home. In the middle rounds, Roach’s skill level began to really show, allowing him to catch Perez with consistent power shots. Game and none daunted, Perez continued to come forward but the punches were taking their toll.
The seventh round erupted with some fierce exchanges in the last thirty seconds, but the Filipino took the majority of the damage. In the late rounds, despite the pressure of fighting in front of his home fans, Roach remained poised and professional, fighting behind his jab and show a full kit of offensive tools. It was an impressive, elite level performance by Roach against a tough and gritty Perez. The judges scored it unanimously nine rounds to one for Roach.
In the co-main event, Jose “Wonder Boy” Lopez (19-1, 14 KOs) took on Avery Sparrow (8-1, 3 KOs) of Philadelphia in a ten-rounder at the super featherweight limit. Lopez, 23, is five-foot-nine, tall and rangy with good knockout power. Fighting out of an orthodox stance, Lopez is aggressive and prone to taking risks in the ring. Sparrow, also 23, was the less experienced fighter, and taking on Lopez presented a significant challenge.
Sparrow started fast, throwing a jab on differing planes and seeking to land a wide right around Lopez’s high guard. Lopez, for his part, remained patient and content to take the measure of his opponent. The Puerto Rican fighter was more active in the second, but Sparrow’s activity and awkward style forced Lopez to keep his hands home. Sparrow’s offense came to life in the fourth round, landing two straight rights and a good left hook. Lopez was still unable to time Sparrow or combat his dipping head movement.
Round six was Sparrow’s best, with his confidence and ring showmanship growing with each successful combination. His movement, his jab, his aggression, his shoulder roll defense – all were too much for Lopez, who could not find the necessary adjustments in the ring. Despite the deficit in experience, it was Sparrow who put on a clinic, and Lopez who looked confused and tentative. After a full ten rounds, the judges saw it 96-94, 96-94, 97-93 unanimously for the Philadelphia fighter, Avery Sparrow.
The undercard featured Manuel Avila (22-1, 8 KOs) taking on Diuhl Olguin (11-8-3, 9 KOs) of Mexico in an eight-round featherweight bout. Avila, fighting out of Vallejo, CA, was looking to bounce back after his first defeat last May at the hands of undefeated Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz.
Avila fought a controlled and patient bout, while Olguin gave him plenty of challenges to figure out, mounting a decent body attack with the left hook and occasionally switching to the southpaw stance. Avila piled up rounds but certainly never dominated his opponent, even cruising a bit in the seventh. The fight went to the cards after eight: Avila took the unanimous decision 77-75, 78-74, 78-74.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Miguel Cotto vs. Sadam Ali, Rey Vargas vs. Oscar Negrete
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Golden Boy Promotions will promote the last professional fight of Miguel Cotto’s illustrious career. He’ll be facing Sadam Ali at the famed Madison Square Garden on HBO’s World Championship Boxing telecast.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
A WBC Junior featherweight bout between Rey Vargas and Oscar Negrete will also be televised. Other undercard bouts include a WBO Junior Flyweight Title bout between Angel Acosta and Juan Alejo, a featherweight bout between Ronny Rios and Deivis Julio, and a junior welterweight bout between Zachary Ochoa and Erik Martinez.
Cotto, who was a world champion in four different weight classes, has insisted this will be his last fight. The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Rey Vargas (30-0) vs. Oscar Negrete (17-0); WBC Junior Featherweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be between Rey Vargas and Oscar Negrete for the WBC Junior Featherweight Title.
Both boxers had a successful amateur career. Negrete was a Gold Medalist at the 2010 South American Games in the Light Flyweight Division and Vargas was a 2009 Panamerican Gold Medalist.
Vargas, at the age of 27, is three years younger than Negrete. He will also have a two inch height advantage and a three inch reach advantage. Both boxers have been fairly active in the past two years. They both fought two times in 2017 and three times in 2016.
Vargas is the boxer with more power in his hands. He has stopped twenty two of his opponents and five of his last ten opponents did not make it to the final bell. Negrete only has seven stoppage wins and two of his past five fights were victories by KO/TKO.
Vargas has the better professional resume of the two and Negrete appears to be aware that this is the toughest test of his career.
He stated at a recent press conference, “”I’m so excited for this opportunity. This is everything that I have worked for so far in my career. Being undefeated doesn’t make him [Rey Vargas] invincible. I’m a forced to be reckoned with. People may underestimate me, but I know what I’ve done to make sure I walk away with the victory.”
Vargas has defeated the likes of Ronny Rios, Gavin McDonnell, Alexander Munoz, and Alexis kabore. Negrete has defeated the likes of Sergio Frias, Victor Ruiz, and Neftali Campos.
Vargas is the naturally bigger man with an edge in power. He has been generating some buzz recently and this should be a showcase fight for him. Negrete has the amateur background to make this fight interesting, but it’s a fight that Vargas should win.
Miguel Cotto (41-5) vs. Sadam Ali (25-1); WBO Junior Middleweight Title
The legendary Miguel Cotto has decided to end his career.
He stated at a recent media conference call, “Like Oscar and people have said, it’s my final fight, and I’m working hard for making the final fight really good for everybody. All we have to do is wait until the day of the fight. We are ready for the fight.”
Many boxers have been known to claim that they’re going to retire only to change their mind later on, however with Cotto he appears to be sincere in his desires to stop fighting.
Cotto, at thirty seven years old, will be eight years older than his opponent Sadam Ali. Ali will also have a two inch height advantage and a six inch reach advantage.
That advantages for Ali stop there. Cotto is actually the naturally bigger man and has competed as high as the middleweight division while Ali usually campaigns in the welterweight division. The step up in weight is something that is not lost on Ali. He stated, “Yeah, it’s a huge challenge, a big step up. The biggest opponent in my career, and I’m also moving up to another weight class. But I love the challenge, and I’m ready to do whatever I have to do”.
Cotto has thirty three stoppage victories in his resume and has stopped three of his past five opponents. Ali only has fourteen stoppage victories and has only stopped one of his past five opponents.
Ali has been more active than Cotto and fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016. Cotto did not fight at all in 2016 and only fought once in 2017.
Both boxers had successful amateur backgrounds. Cotto represented Puerto Rico in the 2000 Summer Olympics and Ali represented the United States in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Cotto clearly has the better resume as a professional. He has defeated the likes of Yoshihiro Kamegai, Daniel Geale, Sergio Martinez, Delvin Rodriguez, Antonio Margarito, Ricardo Mayorga, Joshua Clottey, Alfonso Gomez, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Paul Malignaggi, Carlos Quintana, and DeMarcus Corley. His losses were to Antonio Margarito, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Austin Trout, and Canelo Alvarez.
Ali has defeated the likes of Johan Perez, Francisco Santana, and Luis Carlos Abregu. His lone loss was a TKO loss to Jessie Vargas.
Ali is a good boxer and surprisingly longer and taller, but Cotto’s depth of experience and size advantage will be too much for him.
Cotto seems confident going into this fight and has no regrets. He stated, “I enjoyed my whole career, and I can’t point at one fight, you know. I enjoyed my whole career. Every moment made me be the boxer I am right now, the person I am right now. I would have to say my whole career has been amazing for me”.
It’s a career boxing fans have thoroughly enjoyed. It’s a career that should end with a victory.