Mikey Garcia Defeats Jessie Vargas, Chocolatito Stops Khalid Yafa
By: Rich Lopez
A full house of 10,000 fans were on hand at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Matchroom Boxing presented a stacked card that streamed seven fights on DAZN. The main event and the two world title fights on the card were expected to be action packed fights on paper. It turned out to be just that.
In the main event, Mikey Garcia (40-1, 30 KO’s) was successful this time around at his second fight as a welterweight. He won the vacant WBC Diamond Welterweight Title with a twelve round unanimous decision over Jessie Vargas (29-3-2, 11 KO’s). The opening round was a good round for Vargas. He used the jab well throughout the round. He also landed good right hands and left hooks on Garcia. Round two was another good round for Vargas. He was landing good jabs and right hands. Garcia was moving forward but he was not letting his hands go. Things heated up in round three. Garcia came forward with hard jabs but Vargas landed hard jabs as well. Garcia was able to land a right hand to the head of Vargas but Vargas counter back with a left hook to the jaw of Garcia. There was good action from both fighters in round four. Vargas was still effective with the jab. In round five, Garcia finally picked up the pace and landed a right hand that hurt Vargas. Then Garcia landed a perfect right hand on the jaw of Vargas that dropped him. Vargas got up and Garcia went for the finish but Vargas survived the round. Garcia continued to stay busy in round six, while Vargas was still trying to recover. In round seven, Garcia had a good round backing up Vargas with his left jab and landing straight right hands. A hard right hand from Garcia hurt Vargas at the end of the round. The pace slowed down in round eight but it was still a good round for Garcia. Vargas looked more tired.
In round nine, Garcia slowed his pace as Vargas came forward. Garcia still out landedVargas in the round. Vargas showed toughness in round ten. He fought better and backed up Garcia. Garcia still landed the better combinations of the two fighters in the round. Vargas had a good comeback in round eleven. He did a better job of pushing back Garcia while Garcia was less active. In the final round, both fighters gave a strong finish and the round was close. At the end, the final scores were 114-113, 116-111 (twice) all for Garcia.
Vargas had a great start to the fight. Garcia who’s known as a slow-started picked up the pace and took over the fight. Vargas came back a little in the late rounds but it was not enough. It was a solid win for Garcia but he had a tough fight. Vargas was as tough as they come. What’s next for both fighters? For Garcia, he will stay in the welterweight division as he defeated a solid welterweight and the bigger fights are there for him. Like the broadcasters mentioned, a potential fight with Manny Pacquiaowould be more suitable for Garcia. For Vargas, expect him to see him in another big fight as he always puts a good outing.
In the co-feature, former pound for pound king Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (49-2, 41 KO’s) came back to regain his crown. He won the WBA World Super Flyweight Title by a ninth round TKO over Khalid Yafai (26-1, 15 KO’s). Both fighters got to a good start in the opening round. Yafai started to box well using his jab and landing quick combinations. Gonzalez started his body attack towards the end of the round. Round two was a good round for Gonzalez. Yafai stayed in theinside with Gonzalez and traded with him. Gonzalez worked well to the body and landed a good right hand on Yafai. Gonzalez also landed a left uppercut that bothered Yafai. In round three, Yafai stood his ground and traded with Gonzalez. He landed more punches in the round but Gonzalez was also landing good shots as well. Twice in the round, the mouthpiece came out of Yafai during exchanges. Gonzalez picked up the attack in round four. He landed good combinations to the head and body of Yafai. Gonzalez mixed his attack with hooks and uppercuts. Gonzalez kept his relentless attack in round five. Gonzalez ripped shots to the head and body of Yafai. Yafai was forced to hold at one point due to the accumulation of punches. Gonzalez kept his high work rate in round six. Yafai stood and traded with Gonzalez but he was wearing out. Gonzalez got cut on his right eye by a clash of heads in the round. In round seven, Gonzalez was backing up Yafai. Gonzalez continued his onslaught and Yafai looked very fatigued. Yafai then decided to trade with Gonzalez in the eighth round. However, Gonzalez outworked him with combinations. He landed a right hand that snapped Yafai’s head back. Then a barrage of punches dropped Yafai. Yafai managed to get up and finish the round. In round nine, Gonzalez landed a huge right hand on the chin of Yafaithat dropped him on his back. The referee started the count but then waived off the fight after Yafai could not continue. The stoppage occurred at 29 seconds of the ninth round.
Yafai decided to take advantage of his size and trade shots with the smaller Gonzalez. Yafai had some success early on but fought Gonzalez’s fight. The question of whether Gonzalez was finished was answered quickly. Gonzalez showed why he is oneof the true greats in boxing and is now a world champion again. The super flyweight division is stacked. The most attractive fight for Gonzalez would be a rematch between him and Juan Francisco Estrada. Gonzalez defeated Estrada back in 2012. Now, Estrada is the Lineal champion of the division. The rematch would be a great fight. As for Yafai, he can take the loss as a learning lesson and bounce back from it. He showed a lot of heart and the willingness to go toe to toe with the dangerousGonzalez.
In an entertaining fight, Julio César Martinez (16-1, 12 KO’s) retained his WBC World Flyweight Title by a twelve round unanimous decision over Jay Harris (17-1, 9 KO’s). In the opening round, Harris got off to a good start by establishing hisjab. Martinez close the gap landing combinations to the head of Harris. Harris had a good round two. He landed good righthands to the head of Martinez. Martinez closed the round with a quick right hook. There were good combinations from both fighters in round three. Harris landed quick straight punches to the head of Martinez while Martinez landed good body punches on Harris. Round four was a good action round. Harris continued with straight punches to the head of Martinez. Martinez fired back with hard body shots. The pace was relentless from both fighters in round five. Martinez got the better of the exchanges and continued his body attack. Harris had a good comeback in round six. He landed the better punches in the round while Martinez was still working the body of Harris. In round seven, Martinez started fast with a right hand that hurt Harris. Martinez then got inside and worked the body of Harris. Harris finished the round strong with good combinations to the head and body of Martinez. The pace slowed down a little bit in round eight. Harris displayed quick combinations to the head of Martinez. The action picked backed up in round nine. Martinez got off with quick combinations to the head and body. Harris stood his ground though and fought back. In the opening of round ten, Martinez caught Harris with a left hook and then a right hook to the body that put him down. Harris got up and did an excellent job fighting back in the round,even though he was hurt. Round eleven was a good round for Harris as he boxed and moved well. The final round was a slower pace for both fighters. The action picked up at the end. Both fighters closed the show at the end with both of them throwing a barrage of punches at each other. At the end, the final scores were 118-109, 116-111, and 115-112 all for Martinez.
Once again Martinez did not disappoint. He provided another thrilling fight for the fans and showed why he is one of the most action packed fighters to watch. Martinez made the first successful defense of his title. Now, it will be time for Martinez to unify with the other belt holders of the division. As for Jay Harris, he looked great and he gave a good account of himself. He went toe to toe with Martinez taking the fight to distance. We will see Harris again soon.
Former heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (27-2, 21 KO’s) was successful in his return. He TKO Shawndell Terell Winters (13-3, 12 KO’s) in the fifth round. Parker started off fast in the opening round and threw hard jabs to back off Winters. Towards the end of the round, Parker landed a good left hook on Winters. In round two, Parker had another good round. He backed up Winters to the ropes with stiff jabs and straight right hands. Parker continued landing hard right hands on Winters in round three. A huge right hand from Parker dropped Winters towards the end of the round. Winters got up and survived the round. In round four, Parker pushed back Winters. However, Wintersfought well in the round. Parker suffered a cut on his right eye from a left hook from Winters. In round five, Winters started strong and came forward. Parker then landed a hard right hand that hurt Winters. Parker followed it up with a three punch combination. A right hand, left hook, and a right hand that dropped Winters again. Winters managed to get up but was out of it. The referee called the fight off at 2:40 of round five.
Parker did what he was supposed to do and stopped his opponent. It was a good comeback fight for Parker. Look to see him next in a more significant fight next.
Decorated amateur Israil Madrimov (5-0, 5 KO’s) continued his knockout streak. He scored a TKO in the sixth round over Charlie Navarro (29-10, 22 KO’s) in a super welterweight bout. In the opening round, Madrimov showed a little bit of everything. He boxed well moving side to side. He landed right hands to the head and straight punches to the body of Navarro. In round two, Madrimov landed a left hook that buzzed Navarro. In round three, Navarro was concentrating on landing a counter punch on Madrimov but was not able to do it. Madrimov did a good job landing straight body punches on Navarro. Madrimovlooked for the knockout in round four. He landed a right hand that hurt Navarro. Then he threw left hooks to the body and head of Navarro. Navarro looked like he was ready to go but he hung in tough. In round five, Navarro landed a good counter punch to the body of Madrimov but it was his only moment. Madrimovtook over the round and landing combinations. Madrimovcontinued his onslaught in round six. He went to the body of Navarro which paid off. He landed a left hook to the body that dropped Navarro. Navarro was tough and gamed as he got up. Madrimov went after him and landed a right hand to the head. Navarro fell down and the referee called the fight off. The stoppage came at 2:24 of round six.
In the super middleweight division, Diego Pacheco (9-0, 7 KO’s) stayed undefeated and dominated Oscar Riojas (21-13-1, 10 KO’s) to earn a six round unanimous decision. Riojas came out being the aggressor in the opening round while Pacheco was keeping his distance. Then Pacheco came forward and landed right hands to the head of Riojas. In round two, Pacheco continued to hit Riojas with hard right hands to the head. Riojas was reaching with his punches on the taller Pacheco but could not land anything significant. Pacheco continued to stay busy in round three. Riojas showed a good chin but was still having a hard time getting inside. Pacheco kept the pressure in round four and Riojas kept backing up. In round five, Riojas started the round coming forward and he threw a few hooks to the body but nothing landed. Pacheco landed a hard right hand that stunned Riojas. In the final round, Pacheco landed a huge right hand that wobbled Riojas. Pacheco went for the finish and landed combinations to the head of Riojas but he survived the round. The final scores were 60-54, all for Pacheco.
In the opening bout of the DAZN telecast, Alexis Espino (6-0, 4 KO’s) remained undefeated. He defeated Delvecchio Savage (3-6-1, 3 KO’s) by a six round unanimous decision in a super middleweight contest. The opening round was a feel out round. It was a close round where Savage landed a nice straight left hand on Espino and then Espino landed a good left hook on Savage. Espino opened up more in round two and he landed the more and effective punches in the round. Espino used his jab very well. Espino had a good round three. He landed good jabs and right hands on the head of Savage. Round four was a good action round. Espino landed good body punches in the round and also landed good uppercuts. Savage showed a good effort fighting back but Espino landed the better punches. In round five, Espino let his combinations go to the head and body of Savage. Savage was tired and bloodied but fought back in spots. In the final round, Espino threw all the power shots and went for the knockout. Savage showed toughness and fought back. Espino continued with hard body shots and uppercuts on Savage. The final scores were 60-54, 59-55 (twice), all for Espino.
Mikey Garcia Plans to “Display All Skills” in Upcoming Contest Against Jessie Vargas
By: Hans Themistode
It was his dream scenario. A chance to prove that he didn’t just belong amongst the best in the world, but that he deserved to be above them.
For Mikey Garcia, he had everything waiting in front of him. The fame, recognition and money were just one win away. Attaining that win turned out to be a major problem as he ran into, Errol Spence Jr.
The now unified Welterweight champ dominated Garcia from the moment the bell rang for their March 16th, contest in Arlington Texas at the AT&T Stadium. When that match was first announced, many believed that Garcia made an appointment with death. Not only was Spence a devastating puncher, but he was also two divisions above Garcia’s natural weight class.
Still, none of that discouraged Garcia from taking on the challenge. Surprisingly, many gave Garcia a chance to pull off the upset. Consider it a testament to the greatness of Garcia.
The storylines of this huge contest were set. If Spence was going to win, it was going to be by stoppage. If things were going to play in the favor of Garcia, then he simply needed to outbox the bigger man. Those opinions never came to fruition as instead, Garcia was out boxed, outclassed and lost every single round. And no, that isn’t hyperbole. Not one single judge scored a round in the favor of Garcia.
It was a bad night for Garcia to say the least, but that hasn’t changed his interest in capturing a world title in his fifth weight class.
This coming Saturday night, the four division world champion will take on fellow multiple division world champion Jessie Vargas at The Ford Center at The Star, in Frisco Texas. The card is loaded from top to bottom with another championship fight in the co main event as IBF Super Flyweight champion Khalid Gonzalez takes on former pound-for-pound Star Roman Gonzalez. That bout, coupled with several former champions on the undercard has shaped this into one of the best cards of the year.
The Texas based card might be a star studded lineup, but Garcia simply wants to remind everyone that it is his name that is headlining the show.
“This is my first time working together with DAZN and it’s been great,” said Garcia during their final press conference. “This is a tremendous card, a stacked card with world championship fights. I’m here to do one thing and take over the show – there’s a lot more to Mikey Garcia. I’m going to display all my skills and be a contender in the welterweight division. We landed on Vargas because he’s a two-weight champion, solid career, big size, and has height. He’s everything that people have been telling me I shouldn’t be fighting, but I’m going to do everything I can to win this fight. I expect the best Jessie Vargas and that will allow to me display all my skills. I don’t want easy fights. This will be a great matchup because Jessie is a warrior. It will push me to get the best out of me.”
For Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs), this could be his last chance to prove himself as a viable contender at the 147 pound division. With Garcia and Vargas possessing one of the more relaxed demeanors in the entire sport of boxing, it came as no surprise to hear both men compliment one another.
Still, regardless of the compliments Garcia wants to prove to everyone that his audacious decision to stay in a weight class that could prove to be too big for him, is the correct decision.
“Jessie is a great person, but inside the ring we’re competitors. He’s coming to knock me out, and I’m trying to doing the same, but that will make it a memorable night. Tune-in to DAZN, it’s going to be fireworks all night long. We’re going to finish it off with bang, Jessie and myself. There’s a lot more to Mikey Garcia.”
Fight Preview: Mikey Garcia vs. Jessie Vargas
By: Rich Lopez
After the big heavyweight showdown this past weekend between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, our focus will be in the welterweight division this Saturday. DAZN will be streaming a huge fight card at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. The main event will be a clash of former world champions between Mikey Garcia and Jessie Vargas. The undercard will also feature two world title fights and a return of a top heavyweight contender.
The main event will be for the vacant WBC Diamond Welterweight Title. Former four weight division champion Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KO’s) of Moreno Valley, California, will square off with former two weight division champion Jessie “The Pride of Las Vegas” Vargas (29-2-2, 11 KO’s) of Las Vegas, Nevada. Garcia, who has won titles at 126, 130, 135 and 140, moved up to the welterweight division last year. In an effort to win a title in a fifth weight division, he fought one of the best welterweights in Errol Spence Jr. Garcia ended up losing a lopsided twelve round unanimous decision but in a gutsy effort. With almost a year off, Garcia is back and ready to make another attempt at a world title in the welterweight division. First, he needs to get by the tough Jessie Vargas. Vargas who has won titles at 140 and 147, is looking for a major title shot himself. Since losing his WBO World Welterweight title to Manny Pacquiao in 2016, he has gone 2-0-2 in his last four fights. Both fighters are looking for a big win this weekend. Garcia is the favorite to win the fight as he is the more superior boxer. Vargas on the other hand is the natural bigger fighter between the two. You would have to think that Vargas has more to lose in this fight than Garcia. If Vargas loses, this can set his career back and further away from a title shot. If Garcia loses, he will be reminded to move back down to 140 or 135 where he is at his best. Expect an entertaining fight between two boxer punchers that love to mix it up.
One of the most intriguing fights on the undercard will be the co-feature in the super flyweight division. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (48-2, 40 KO’s) of Nicaragua, is back for another chance to become a world champion again. Gonzalez, who was a four weight division champion, was once heralded as the pound for pound king. In 2017, Gonzalez lost back to back fights against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai which set him back to the point that some critic’s think he is not the same fighter anymore. That can change on Saturday with a win but it won’t be easy. His challenger is WBA World Super Flyweight Champion Khalid Yafai (26-0, 15 KO’s) of the United Kingdom. Yafai, who was a decorated amateur, won the world title in 2016. He has made five successful title defenses and now will be looking for his sixth title defense. Yafai is a good boxer with speed and good foot work. However, he still needs a signature win and a win over Gonzalez would do it. This will be an interesting fight with a contrast in styles. Yafai will look to box and move while the aggressive Gonzalez will be coming forward. Will Yafai breakthrough as the new star in the division or does Gonzalez have another big win left in him?
The other world title fight on the undercard is in the flyweight division. WBC World Flyweight Champion Julio Cesar “El Rey” Martinez (15-1, 12 KO’s) of Mexico, will be making his second defense of the title. He will face off with Jay Harris (17-0, 9 KO’s) of the United Kingdom. Martinez, who lost his professional debut in 2015 by split decision has won fifteen fights straight since then. Last year, Martinez was on his way to stopping Charlie Edwards in a WBC title fight, but the fight was ruled a no contest. Martinez unintentionally hit Edwards while he was down. However, Martinez ended the year winning the vacant WBC title with a stoppage victory over former world champion Cristopher Rosales in the ninth round. Martinez is one of most exciting world champions today. He has a fan friendly style and he likes to mix his punches to the body and head. In addition, Martinez has a unique style of switching stances while he attacks. Harris is a fast fighter and likes to throw combinations. The undefeated Welshmen is a skilled boxer and is looking for the upset come Saturday night. Can Harris dethrone the hard punching Martinez or will Martinez add another stoppage victory to his resume? Based on styles, this should be an action packed fight.
Also on the undercard, former heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (26-2, 20 KO’s) of New Zealand, makes his return. He will face off with Shawndell Terell Winters (13-2, 12 KO’s) of Harvey, Illinois. Parker was scheduled for a showdown with Dereck Chisora back in October of last year. However, an illness prevented Parker to move forward with the fight. Parker’s last fight was in June of last year when he stopped Alex Leapai in the tenth round. Parker is aiming for another title shot but needs to shake off some rust and is taking a warm up fight against Winters.
Also there will be other undefeated prospects being showcased on the card like Alexis Espino (5-0, 4 KO’s), Diego Pacheco (8-0, 7 KO’s) and Israil Madrimov (4-0, 4 KO’s).
The card is stacked and it should be a fun filled night of action.
Can Mikey Garcia Overcome the Odds Even Though He is a Big Odds Favorite
By: Jeffrey Drake
On February 29, 2020, former four weight division world champion Mikey Garcia will be facing former two weight division world champion Jessie Vargas. This welterweight fight is at the Ford Center in Frisco, Texas on DAZN and should have a great atmosphere. Mikey Garcia was widely regarded as a top five pound for pound fighter prior to his fight with current IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. A natural 135-pound fighter, Mikey called out Errol Spence Jr for a long period of time before the fight was made. The boxing public felt Mikey was too small and to take on arguably the welterweight king in your first fight at 147 pounds would be too much. March 16th, 2019 was the date Mikey not only took his first loss, but the first time he was not competitive in a fight.
This Saturday, Mikey Garcia a 6 to 1 favorite, will be making his unofficial welterweight debut. Many odds stand in front of Mikey Garcia prior to even facing Jessie Vargas. The jump from basically 135 to 147 pounds is a big jump. We have watched many fighters make that transition with mixed results. The one famous name that comes to mind who made that weight jump is Adrien Broner. As talented as Broner is, the consensus is he was not the same fighter and took several losses after making the jump to welterweight. Will Mikey power transfer to welterweight? Will he have slower hand and foot speed? Will he be gun shy after taking a sustained beating from Errol Spence Jr? Will he be able to handle the pressure of performing knowing a possible big money fight with all-time great Manny Pacquiao could be next? These are all legitimate questions and we haven’t even talked about his very capable opponent Jessie Vargas.
Jessie Vargas has fought the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Adrien Broner, Timothy Bradley, Sadam Ali amongst other good opponents throughout his career. Jessie has been fighting at welterweight for over four years. Even though he has never been mentioned pound for pound like Mikey Garcia, he has accomplished a lot throughout his career. On Saturday, Jessie should be the bigger fighter, fighting at his natural weight class and with less overall pressure. Yet, Mikey Garcia is still the heavy favorite to win this fight. The boxing community, fans and odds makers are betting that Mikey Garcia will do what we expect every great fighter to do and that is to overcome all odds and win. Let’s find out if Mikey Garcia is still that special or if Jessie Vargas has been disrespected and will get the biggest victory of his career.
Josue Vargas Sits Down With Boxing Insider Radio to Discuss His Future Plans After His Recent Title Win
Fresh off his first world title, Josue Vargas sat down with Boxing Insider radio which airs every Tuesday and is available on iTunes, Spotify and Boxinginsider.com, to discuss what it felt like to bring home the IBF North American title and his future plans.
When you’ve been given the nickname “The Prodigy” you immediately deal with pressure from the boxing public. Such is the case for Josue Vargas.
At 21 years of age, Vargas is still in the infancy stages of his career. Yet this past Saturday night on December 14th, at Madison Square Garden, Vargas took a huge step forward in his career by defeating Noel Murphy and taking home the vacant IBF North American Super Lightweight world title.
The punches that Vargas swarmed Murphy with on the night were nothing in comparison to the swarming fans who congratulated him after his victory.
“It feels great, I feel excited,” said Vargas on Boxing Insider Radio. “It’s just the beginning. This is my first title as a professional fighter so it means a lot to me and my family.”
The IBF North American title is viewed as a smaller trinket in the world of boxing. A stepping stone, if you will. No big name fighter values this belt, but no other fighter who has worked their way to the top of their respective division has gone on to become a legitimate world champion without it either.
It’s a process. Unless your name is Vasiliy Lomachenko, who won his first world title in his third professional contest, just about every fighter goes through these steps.
Before Vargas nabbed his first world title, he was considered nothing more than a prospect. A fighter with promise and one that many of us had to keep an eye on. From there, it was up to him to grab our attention even more. Through 17 professional contests he has won 16 of them, but truthfully, he won every single fight of his career.
In the 7th contest of his career, Vargas was dominating against Samuel Santana. He was clearly on his way to victory, until he was called for an illegal blow during the break and was subsequently given the loss via disqualification because of it.
If you want to call that a loss, then fine. Technically, you would be right. But anyone who has seen the contest knows that he should have a spotless record. Nevertheless, Vargas hasn’t lost a fight since, and can now call himself a world champion. By no means was it easy, but it was certainly worth it.
“I have a lot of respect for Murphy. He came ready to fight and in shape but as you can see in the later rounds he just couldn’t hang with me anymore. I was just too much for him. The more rounds it goes the stronger I get.”
Up until this point in his career, everything had come easy for him. Whenever Vargas is seen outside of the ring, he always flashes a bright smile from ear to ear. Whether you seen him after a boxing match or simply on his way to the store, he always looked the same. The reason behind that is his opponents could seldom ever touch him in the ring. He was simply too slick. In his contest against Murphy however, that just wasn’t the case.
“In the beginning of the rounds it was a bit of a chess match. But in the 4th round my dad started yelling at me so that’s when I decided I’m just going to bring it to him because he had nothing left in the tank. I said to myself that I’m going to walk him down and not respect him. If I would’ve started the way that I did in the second half of the fight, it would’ve been a stoppage in the sixth or seventh round.”
Vargas might be sporting a black eye now, but he also sports a championship belt around his waist as well.
There is often times a chain reaction whenever a fighter captures championship gold, he wants more and more. He’ll get exactly that and a full schedule of fights in 2020.
“It’s going to be a busy, busy, busy 2020. They are going to have me fighting March 14th, again at MSG defending the title and adding another title on top of that so they’ll be two titles on the line.”
Becoming overzealous is something that trainers and promoters would like to stop their fighters from becoming. Vargas is clearly on the fast track to stardom, but don’t tell him that he is moving too quickly.
The 140 pound division is lined up with killers from top to bottom, but Vargas views himself in the same vein as the other top dogs in the division. The picture of Vargas can be viewed if you ever looked up the word confident in the dictionary, because according to him he’s ready for whomever is placed in front of him, including the elite at 140.
“Styles make fights and everybody has a different style and fights different. I’ve been in the ring with Jose Ramirez. We’ve sparred over 40 rounds because I was his sparring partner in Cali. So I know how that would be. He’s undefeated and the WBC and WBO champion for a reason, he’s been doing a great job so I give him a lot of respect. I think that would be a great fight. I’ve been in the ring with all of these world champions like Floyd Mayweather, Gervonta Davis, Mikey Garcia so none of these guys put fear in my heart. I feel like I can give them a great fight and even take the title from them. I think I will fight for a world title in early 2021.”
A title shot could very well be in the future of Vargas, but not immediately. For now, he plans on continuing his winning ways in 2020.
It almost doesn’t make any sense that a fighter who has only just recently been given the green light to drink alcohol, to possess such sublime boxing skills. His work ethic and natural talent should has always been apparent, but if it was not for his trainer Jose Guzman, none of this would be possible.
“I call him my brother. I watched him growing up and training and going to his professional fights, to him now working my corner and being in my corner and doing the mitts with me. Giving me instructions and guiding me the right way. Every time before the weigh ins, he makes sure I don’t eat any candy or drink any soda,” said Vargas while chuckling. “You got to have somebody like that on your team who will watch you 24/7 because he knows boxing and he’s been there and done that so you got to have people like that on your team.”
Adding to his already impressive team is one of the very best trainers in the world in Andre Rozier. His work with world champions should give an indication of the career trajectory of Vargas.
“It means everything,” said Vargas of Rozier joining his corner. “He had Danny Jacobs and on that night he had Richard Commey so he’s another guy who has a lot of experience training world champions. For him to be in my corner and giving me the right instructions as well it just means everything to me. And of course, you have my father who is always hyping me up and making sure that I step on the gas and take my opponents out of there.”
All of the pieces are in place for Vargas, but he does have a few questions surrounding him and his ability to compete at an elite level. The skills are there, but he has more to prove going forward.
Remember The Name: Josue Vargas
By: Hans Themistode
Is it fair to name current WBO Welterweight champion Terence Crawford the best fighter in the world?
It sure is.
Deciding who exactly is the best pound for pound fighter is a subjective matter, opinion based, but often filled with plenty of facts to back your initial thoughts. With titles reigns at the three separate weight classes including an undisputed run at 140 pounds, Crawford makes a legitimate case for being considered every and anyones pound for pound number one fighter in the world.
Egidijus Kavaliauskas, a two time Olympian will get his chance this Saturday night to hand him his first defeat in New York City, at Madison Square Garden. It is an unlikely scenario, but this is the sport of boxing where anything can happen.
This New York City based card has a ton of storylines and huge fights on the docket. Of course the main event featuring Crawford is a headline grabber. Teofimo Lopez and Richard Commey in the co-main event could be a main event all on its own. Don’t forget about Michael Conlan vs Vladimir Nikitin either. That contest just screams main event.
In short, this is a must see card.
Often times something unexpected happens at these fighting events. Fighters such as Terence Crawford and Teofimo Lopez might be who the fans pay to see, but more times then not, they aren’t who they leave talking about the most that night.
You fully understand how that goes, don’t you? A young, relatively unknown fighter on the undercard enters the ring on fight night and dominates his competition. What ensues are a series of questions.
“Who is he?”
“When is he fighting again?”
When Super Lightweight prospect Josue Vargas steps into the ring, that is the impression he often leaves fans with. From the moment the opening bell rings, it becomes ostensible just how good Vargas is. There isn’t anything mundane about the personality of Vargas as his bravado protrudes from aura no matter where he is.
It isn’t simply that he is a great young fighter, but he also seemingly has the support of not only his hometown but also from those who have come across him.
“A lot of supporters bought tickets online, from me, from instagram, my neighborhood,” said Vargas. “I’ve got people flying in from Virginia. I’m definitely going to try to steal the show, that’s the plan.”
Stealing the show is something that Vargas has become accustomed to doing throughout his young career. There is a reason why he was first signed by Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions before ultimately signing with TopRank. The kid just seems to have all of the requisite tools to become a star.
“I want to be the new face of Puerto Rico.”
His resolute and bold attitude has given him good reason to believe that he can follow in the footsteps of some of the very best boxers out of Puerto Rico. Determining whether or not Vargas will be successful in his attempt to become the new face of Puerto Rico is a question that is too difficult to answer at this very moment. However, something that is not arduous to see, is the talent that he possesses.
“Stay tuned and witness greatness this Saturday night, December 14th.”
Josue Vargas has gained the attention that he has been asking for. Now, it is his job to keep it and continue to put on a show, starting this Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
Three Takeaways from this Weekend
By: Jonah Dylan
After a weekend that featured barely any fights, it was – in theory – nice to see so many fights this past weekend. Yes, the fights weren’t necessarily great, and we didn’t have any superstars in action, but at least it was something. At least there were choices if you didn’t like what you were watching. Whether or not it was particularly important, a lot of stuff happened. So let’s talk about it.
1. We’ve been underrating Daniel Dubois. A lot.
First of all, seeing two legit undefeated prospects fight each other was great, and it’s something that almost never happens, especially in the United States (speaking of heavyweight prospects, Jermaine Franklin is nowhere near Dubois and got away with an absolute robbery decision against Jerry Forrest on Friday night). Dubois was favored against Nathan Gorman, but we didn’t really know much about either guy, and there were a lot of people who picked Gorman to win the fight.
It was never really close. Gorman was cut in two places and you could tell it was bothering him, but Dubois didn’t just use his power. He boxed Gorman and consistently hit him with clean shots before finishing him in the fifth round. Before this fight, both Dubois and Gorman had been doing pretty much the same thing and fighting washed up guys who had no business being in a boxing ring. Now, Dubois has a legit win on his record, which is more than most prospects can say.
It’ll be really interesting to see what Frank Warren does with Dubois moving forward. No one is suggesting he’s ready for top-level guys yet, but this was a major step-up and he could see himself in the world title mix sooner rather than later. I’d like to see him in with a top-10 guy in the near future.
2. Shakur Stevenson is ready for a title fight
Or, as ready as he’ll ever be. Watching him knock out no-hopers is a useless exercise at this point. After Stevenson dominated a respectable opponent in Christopher Diaz, it was clear his time as a prospect had come to an end. If the point of Saturday’s fight was just to headline and fight at home, fine. But there’s no reason for him to do it again.
So who should he fight? Leo Santa Cruz is with PBC, and Gary Russell has already made his annual appearance and probably won’t be heard from until next April or May. That leaves Josh Warrington and Oscar Valdez.
Warrington just escaped with a very close decision in an ugly fight with Kid Galahad, but on the surface he might have some difficulty finding opponents in the near future. He’s with Frank Warren and his fights stream on ESPN+, so it’s realistic that Warren and Bob Arum could get together to make this fight. It’d be a really interesting style matchup for Stevenson, who throws lots of combinations and has elite speed. Warrington has almost no power but just overwhelms guys with his work rate. Stevenson would probably be favored here, but Warrington has been the underdog for two of his three world title fights, and that hasn’t been a problem.
Valdez hasn’t committed to staying in the featherweight division, and honestly I think he would rather fight Carl Frampton than Stevenson. As I’ve said before, it makes no sense to me why Frampton would get a title shot before Stevenson, considering he just lost a clear decision to Warrington in December. He’d probably lose to Valdez, too. Stevenson-Valdez would be a little less interesting than Stevenson-Warrington, if only because Valdez has been fighting with an extremely cautious style since breaking his jaw and will probably be moving up after the fight regardless. Let’s make Stevenson-Warrington in the UK and see what happens.
3. It’s tough to figure out what to make of the junior featherweights
Rey Vargas outpointed Tomoki Kameda on Saturday to keep his WBC strap, but the fans weren’t exactly thrilled with Vargas’ cautious performance. He’s a really interesting fighter. On one hand, he can always use his height and reach advantages to win decisions, but once in a while he chooses to engage and hasn’t been perfect, like when he got dropped in the second round of his last fight. On Saturday, Kameda wanted a war, but Vargas didn’t give it to him and stayed calm on the outside.
This makes me think Vargas against WBO titleholder Emanuel Navarrete would be a very intriguing matchup. In both fights against Isaac Dogboe, Navarette used his height and reach to land a barrage of uppercuts and stop Dogboe from ever getting close to him. I feel like we really don’t know anything about Navarrete until he fights someone else, but a fight down the line with Vargas would be a fascinating matchup.
Then there’s unified WBA/IBF titleholder Daniel Roman. You probably have to consider him the best in the division due to his win over T.J. Doheny in their FOTY contender in April, but I’m not sure where he goes next. He has to make a mandatory next but has said he’d like to unify against Vargas, which would be a quality fight for three belts. I’d rather see Vargas test himself against Navarrete, but Navarrete is with Top Rank and probably won’t be going anywhere near any DAZN guys for a while. Then again, this is what we said about Jose Ramirez, so maybe it’s possible. One can hope.
Follow me on Twitter @TheJonahDylan.
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.
Vargas vs. Kameda: Previewing a Super Bantamweight Showcase
By Robert Aaron Contreras
Oscar de la Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions are fans of staging fight nights in California. They return to the “Golden State” in Carson, Calif., to air world championship fight on DAZN.
In the main event, undefeated beltholder Rey Vargas attempts to not only secure another title defense but also a strong claim as the best fighter in weight class. Diego de la Hoya, close family member to the promotional president, looks to regain his footing in the same division after career-long weight issues.
The entire stream kicks off at 7 p.m. ET while the premium action will begin around 9 p.m. ET.
Rey Vargas (33-0, 22 KO) vs. Tomoki Kameda (36-2, 20 KO), WBC Super Bantamweight Title
The WBC is under fire for its continued proliferation of “championships,” handing over a newly minted franchise belt to Canelo Alvarez. But on Saturday, the sanctioning body is at least unifying their super bantamweight crown between champion Vargas and the interim stakeholder Kameda, from Japan.
The weekend marks the fifth title defense for Vargas, who again prepares for the action under the helm of the legendary boxing guru Nacho Beristain. The Mexican trainer is known tuning up his men into offensive machines. And Vargas looked every bit up to that reputation in his title winning performance over Gavin McDonnell.
In 2017, Vargas pierced McDonnell up and down with rangy, lethal hooks. Listed at times as tall as 5’9”, he seemed to show hooks from one corner of the ring to the other. The Englishman would storm back in the latter half of the bout but the final round culminated in a violent two-way showing. Vargas settled for a majority-decision victory but he had clearly done enough for his new gold belt.
Despite a gaudy knockout total—22 in all—Vargas has not stopped a single opponent inside the distance since back in 2016. All four of his successful title defenses have come by unanimous decision. Repeatedly fighting the championship distance finally caught up to his in 2018. Against Azat Hovhannisyan, Vargas stumbled across the finish line. The defending champion was huffing for air early on, unable to land anything signifiant until the third round, and even gave up the last couple of rounds to his challenger. In the end, he was lucky to be read such wide scorecards. This included a ludicrous 118-110 in his favor from judge Kevin Morgan.
In Vargas’ most recent outing, he cruised to a comfortable win over Franklin Manzanilla. But he was not any more impressive: extended 12 rounds by an unheralded foe and hit the deck hard from a whizzing left hook across the chin.
It was picture-perfect shot that dropped Vargas. And Kameda is fully capable of duplicating such a feat. The Japanese did so in 2014 in the form of a murderous liver punch that crumbled Pungluang Sor Singyu, a former world champion.
Otherwise, Kameda may not have knocked out many other standout opponents, he has certainly competed among the very best.
The youngest brother among the Kameda clan (which is made up of two brothers, who also lifted world championships—he decisioned Paulus Ambunda for his first title in 2013. That was at bantamweight-proper (118 pounds) where he narrowly missed out on making a massive name for himself after two razor-thin losses in 2015 to Jamie McDonnell. That short rivalry gives the Japanese bodysnatcher experience against a towering opponent as he faces a lifetime super bantamweight in Vargas.
Six years later since swallowing the only two defeats of his career, Kameda is still somehow only 28. And now a two-divisional champ after claiming the WBC interim belt last November with a points win over Abigail Medina, a rabid puncher and European champion. Kameda quenched the flames that was his dangerous opponent with a sharp jab and calculated punch output, winning across the board at the storied Korakuen Hall in his native Japan.
Diego de la Hoya (21-0, 10 KO) vs. Ronny Rios (30-3, 14 KO), NABF Super Bantamweight Title
De la Hoya is returning to 122 pounds (at least he plans on it) after a stint in the hospital for dehydration the last time he cut to the limit. After a promising start to his career, these weight issues have forced the blue-chip prospect into inactivity, competing just twice over the last three years.
In April, he even tried his hand at the featherweight division where he took on the veteran Enrique Bernache. De la Hoya’s fans looked crisp as ever, and his lead left hook was there to meet Bernache any time he charged forward. But two headbutts, the second of which opened up Bernache’s forehead, ended the bout in just the second stanza. Both men were handed no-contests.
De la hoya, the 24-year-old first-cousin to Oscar, the Golden Boy himself, is back in prime position this weekend against Rios. All told, de la Hoya has backed up his privileged position with his fists. Save for that trouble boiling himself down to a division he has been cutting to since he was a teenager, De la Hoya has complimented his name with real skill.
Without a doubt the best win of his career so far was a decision over Randy Caballero, who was technically a former world champion and once another darling child of Golden Boy Promotions. De la Hoya undressed Caballero, picking him apart round after round.
With just one more win to show in the ensuing two years, the young De la Hoya has work to do this weekend. Good thing for him he is still closer to 20 than 30.
Rios, 29, fought for a world title in 2017 against none other than the show’s headliner, Rey Vargas. The Mexican champion was too big for Rios and pelted him around. But Rios was never broken, giving it back here and there, surviving all 12 rounds.
The defeat made it clear where Rios stands: just a small notch below world level. He holds wins over solid fighters like Jayson Velez and current beltholder Andrew Cancio. But the Compton-born mauler was dropped and stopped in 2014 against Robinson Castellanos and eventually rattled and undone by the aforementioned Hovhannisya, losing to the Armenian puncher by sixth-round knockout.
To bring his record to 2-2 over the last 24 months, Rios returned to form on the undercard of the Rungvisai-Estrada rematch, where he forced journeyman Daniel Olea’s corner to throw in the towel by the fifth period.
On Saturday, he serves as the promotional pushover, a stepping stone for De la Hoya. But Rios has yet to ever roll over on command.
Josue Vargas: Keeping The Hype Train Rolling
By: Hans Themistode
Super Lightweight prospect Josue Vargas (13-1, 8 KOs) has the confidence that is associated with a veteran in the sport of boxing. With four years and 14 professional fights under his belt, he seems ready for the next step in his career.
On Saturday July 13th, at the Prudential Center in Newark New Jersey, Vargas will once again have the opportunity to have his skills on full display. Earlier in the year he made it look easy against veteran fighter Adriano Ramirez. His upcoming opponent, Manuel Lopez, will seemingly provide him with a stiff test. Don’t count Vargas amongst those who is expecting Lopez to be the toughest challenge of his young career.
“I’m not overlooking Lopez at all,” said Vargas. “He’s a tough guy but I don’t think he will be the best opponent I’ve ever got in the ring with. I’ve sparred with Floyd Mayweather, Jose Ramirez, Mikey Garcia and Gervonta Davis before so I’ll be well prepared come fight night.”
Vargas is well known for some of his gym wars with the aforementioned Gervonta Davis. Although the two are in different weight classes, it is a fight that intrigues Vargas later down the line.
“He’s a great fighter and a two time world champion. I’m just now getting up there in the rankings but I know that I can hang with him but right now I’m taking my time. I would love that fight sometime in the future if he decides to move up.”
The thought of a showdown between Davis and Vargas is mouth watering. However, with both men campaigning in entirely different weight classes, that fight isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. With so many great fighters already at the Super Lightweight division, the fighter nicknamed “The Prodigy” is hoping for a significant step up in opposition assuming he gets past Lopez.
“Chris Algieri and Hank Lundy are guys that I’m looking at in terms of a step up bout. Those are guys that have either been champion or have fought for the title. They have the sort of name that I want on my resume. I’m ready for that kind of step up.”
Take a look at the record of Vargas and you will notice a blemish. Usually in the sport of boxing, an early loss in the career of a fighter could be an indicator that he might not have what it takes to compete at an elite level. In the case of Vargas, this isn’t the case. In his seventh professional fight, Vargas was matched up with journeyman level fighter Samuel Santana.
It was a contest that “The Prodigy” was dominating. After scoring three knockdowns through the first three rounds, Vargas connected with a punch that saw his man go down once again. The only issue is that the punch was thrown after the referee was trying to break them up.
It was later ruled that Santana was unable to continue. Sure it is a loss on the record of Vargas, but one which would not have occurred if not for an unfortunate set of circumstances. Vargas has since put the loss behind him but would be interested in a rematch sometime down the line.
“When he went down his trainer was telling him don’t get up because they knew that I was going to get disqualified. They knew they weren’t going to win that fight. I just dropped him three times before that.
I do want that fight again but it isn’t necessary. Everybody knows what happens, I was winning the whole fight so yeah I would take that fight but I don’t care about it too much. I don’t consider it a loss.”
Vargas main focus now resides in not only winning his upcoming match against Manuel Lopez, but to also look dominate while doing so.
“I’m going to definitely go in there and break him down. I’m Hoping in the later rounds I can score the stoppage.”
With knockout wins in four of his five contest, it seems that another eye catching performance could be in store come July 13th.
Berchelt and Navarrete Win their Rematches
By: William Holmes
The Tuscon Arena in Tuscon, Arizona was the host site for tonight’s Top Rank Promotions boxing card televised live on ESPN.
Two world title rematches were on display Emanuel Navarrete took on Isaac Dogboe for the WBO Junior Featherweight Title in the co-main event of the night and Miguel Berchelt faced Francisco Vargas for the WBC Junior Lightweight Title.
The opening bout of the broadcast was between Isaac Dogboe (20-1) and Emanuel Navarrete (26-1) for the WBO Junior Featherweight Title . Their last bout ended in an upset victory for Emanuel Navarrete.
Navarrete height and reach advantage was obvious early on as he went to work with his jab and short combinations. Navarrete slipped to the mat in the opening round, but was able to win the early rounds with his movement and combinations. A left upcut by Navarrete had Dogboe slightly rocked in the second round.
Dogboe came out charging in the third round, but Navarrete was able to stop that momentum with a sharp left uppercut that left Dogboe with shaky legs. Dogboe would start off strong in the opening minute of the fourth and fifth rounds, but Navarrete would have Dogboe hurt by the end of the round with his reach and power.
Navarrete scored a knockdown in the sixth round when a combination from him had Dogboe falling backwards in the the ropes. Dogboe continued to take a beating into the ninth round, but showed tremendous heart as he attempted to stay in the fight.
Isaac Dogboe’s corner, with his father as the lead trainer, threatened to stop the fight in the tenth round but sent Dogboe out to continue fighting anyway. The uppercuts of Navarrete continued to snap the head of Dogboe backwards and Dogboe needed a knockout in the final round in order to secure a win.
However, Navarrete continued pound on Dogboe in the final round and scored another knockdown. Dogboe got back up to his feet but on wobbly legs, and his father correctly decided to throw in the towel and stop his son from receiving further punishment.
Navarrete wins by TKO at 2:02 of the twelfth and final round.
The main event of the evening was between Miguel Berchelt (35-1) and Francisco Vargas (25-1-2) for the WBC Junior Lightweight Title .
Berchelt and Vargas last fought two years ago, with Berchelt coming out on top.
Berchelt showed good hand early on and was crisp with his combinations. Vargas was coming forward and did land some good overhand rights, but Berchelt was landing at a higher rate. Berchelt did get warned twice for low blows in the first.
Berchelt was landing some heavy lead left hooks in the second despite being warned for low blows again. There were some fierce exchanges in the second, but Berchelt was getting the better of Vargas.
Berchelt’s double left hook to the body and head were landing in the third, though Vargas did connect with a good combinations after Berchelt turned to the referee to complain about a low blow landing on him. Vargas was warned bout using his head in the third from the referee.
Vargas had blood coming from his nose going into the fourth round and he got tagged several times with eye combinations in the fourth. Vargas had his best round of the night in the fifth as he continued to come forward and at one point had Berchelt in some trouble by the ropes, but even that round was could have been scored either way.
Berchelt had a dominating sixth round as he loaded up on his shots to the body and head. Vargas looked like he was close to going down in the sixth, but he was able to stay on his feet, though he looked beaten both mentally and physically.
The corner of Francisco Vargas didn’t like what they saw from Vargas and stopped the fight before the start of the seventh.
Miguel Berchelt wins by TKO at the end of the sixth round.
ESPN Boxing Preview: Navarrete vs. Dogboe, Berchelt vs. Vargas
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Tuscon Arena in Tuscon, Arizona will be the host site for Top Rank Promotions Card on ESPN entitled “Twice as Nice”.
The main event of the card will feature a WBC Junior Lightweight Title rematch between Miguel Berchelt and Francisco Vargas for Berchelt’s title. The co-main event of the evening will be another rematch between Emanuel Navarrete and Isaac Dogboe for Navarrete’s WBO Junior Featherweight title.
The undercard will feature several prospects, such as Mykal Fox, Carlos Castro, Miguel parra, and Miguel Marriaga. The undercard will be streamed on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Emanuel Navarrete (26-1) vs. Isaac Dogboe (20-1); WBO Junior Featherweight Title
Navarrete has spent almost his entire career fighting in Mexico, but his first fight in the United States was a big one against Isaac Dogboe, the then WBO Junior Featherweight Champion, and he shocked many by pulling off the upset.
They’ll rematch each other on Saturday night and Navarrete has a lot of inherent advantages. Both boxers are young and only twenty four years old. Navarrete has a significant edge in height as he is five inches taller than Dogboe. He also has a significant edge in reach as he has an eight inch reach advantage over him.
Navarrete also has the edge in power, as he has stopped twenty two of his opponents while Dogboe has only stopped fourteen. Both boxers have been fairly active, with Navarrete being the more active boxer. Navarrete fought four times in 2018 and five times in 2017 while Dogboe four four times in 2018 but only once in 2017.
Prior to beating Dogboe, Navarrete did not have an impressive resume of defeated opponents. He has beaten the likes of Jose Sanmartin, Glenn Porras, and Isaac Dogboe. His lone loss was in 2012 to Daniel Argueta.
Dogboe’s only loss in his career was to Navarrete. He has defeated the likes of Hidenori Otake, Jessie Magdaleno, Cesar Juarez, Javier Chacon, and Julian Aristule.
Navarrete had a pretty dominating performance against Dogboe, and his size and reach will be difficult for Dogboe to navigate and avoid. This bout will go a long way in determining if Navarrete is the real deal or not, but it appears likely he’ll walk away with another win.
Miguel Berchelt (35-1) vs. Francisco Vargas (25-1-2); WBC Junior Lightweight Title
Even though this bout is a highly anticipated rematch, Berchelt is still in his athletic prime at 37 years old and Vargas is now 34 years old. Based on age along it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see Berchelt win convincingly.
Vargas will have about a one inch height advantage over Berchelt while Berchelt will have about an one inch reach advantage. Berchelt has the edge in power, as he has thirty one stoppage victories on his resume while Vargas only has eighteen.
Vargas’ lone loss was a knockout loss to Berchelt. He also drew with Orlando Salido. He has beaten the likes of Rod Salka, Stephen Smith, Takashi Miura, Will Tomlinson, Juan Manuel Lopez, Abner Cotto, and Jerry Belmontes.
Vargas also has an impressive amateur background that includes a trip to the 2008 Summer Olympics for Mexico.
Berchelt has defeated the likes of Miguel Roman, Jonathan Victor Barros, Maxwell Awuku, Takashi Miura, Sergio Puente, and Francisco Vargas. His lone loss was to Luis Eduardo Florez in 2014.
Berchelt never competed in the Olympics but he was a three time Mexican National Boxing Champion as an amateur.
Vargas fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017. He has only fought two times since he lost to Berchelt. Berchelt fought three times in 2018 and twice in 2017.
This writer sees this bout going in Berchelt’s favor and possibly by stoppage.
Josue Vargas: “I’m Just Going To Keep Knocking These Guys Out.”
By: Sean Crose
“It’s going great,” Josue “The Prodigy” Vargas (12-1) says of training camp in the leadup to his Saint Patrick’s Day clash with Adriano Ramirez (10-2) at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. Vargas, a rising super lightweight, has now found himself sharing a card with the likes of Luis Collazo, and Michael Conlon. “I have a lot of fans in New York,” he says, “mainly in the Bronx.” Needless to say, the New Yorker expects to have his supporters on hand come the 17th. “A lot of people bought tickets,” he adds.
Vargas, who has eight KO’s on his record, has stopped all of his last four opponents within the distance. “I’m getting older,” he says, “so my power’s getting there.” Vargas says he’s now shooting for knockouts in the fourth or fifth rounds. “I’m just going to keep knocking these guys out,” he claims. Vargas can take inspiration from Mikey Garcia, who he’s helped train for Garcia’s upcoming superbout with welterweight star Errol Spence Jr. “It was great,actually,” says Vargas of the experience. “I sparred fifteen rounds with him. It was amazing.” Although he trains with the famed Robert Garcia, Vargas is also trained by his own father, which makes boxing a family affair for the Vargas’, just like it does for the Garcia family (Robert, a former champion himself, is Mikey’s brother).
Being part of Top Rank Promotions’ stable of fighters has certainly proved beneficial for the New Yorker, as well. “Everything’s going great,” Vargas says in reference to his relationship with his promoter. With an amateur pedigree that saw him face the likes of Shakur Stevenson, Vargas is being led through the pro ranks in a manner that allows him to steadily rise while appearing on attention getting cards. “I’m getting closer to the world title,” he says. All Vargas has to do is keep winning. Ramirez, who Vargas will be facing on the 17th, is a fighter Vargas has made sure to familiarize himself with. A short, affable seeming individual who fights in a crouched style and likes to hook his shots, Dominican Republic native Ramirez is undoubtedly looking to come back strong after suffering a loss to Matt Conway last December.
Vargas, however, is not only stepping into the ring with strong backing and a strong pedigree. He’s also stepping in with the knowledge that an impressive win can help him climb up the ranks at a rapid pace. After all, the man makes it clear he’s getting closer to a world title. The March 17th Hulu Center card will be aired live on the ESPN+ streaming service.
Miguel Berchelt-Francisco Vargas Rematch Set, 3/23 on ESPN; Winner Could Get Lomachenko
By Jake Donovan
Miguel Berchelt and Francisco Vargas are prepared to do it all again—and this time, with even more at stake than just the 130-pound title.
A rematch to their Jan. ’17 thriller—which Berchelt won by 11th round knockout to dethrone the previously unbeaten Vargas—is set for March 23 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The bout will air live on ESPN, with the event to be presented by Berchelt’s U.S. promoter Top Rank, who’ve already teased a loftier prize for the winner.
“It’s very possible that the winner of this terrific rematch will go on to face lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko later this year,” promoter Bob Arum said of the bout.
Berchelt (35-1, 30KOs) has exploded onto the 130-pound scene, beginning with his systematic dismantling of Vargas in their first meet. The bout was competitive early and befitting their all-action styles, but with Berchelt eventually wearing down his battered countryman in lifting the title.
Four defenses have since followed, most recently scoring a 9th round knockout of countryman Miguel Roman in an entertaining—if not one-sided—ESPN+ streamed bout this past November in El Paso, Texas.
With the historic Forum playing host to the rematch, Merida, Mexico’s Berchelt plays the California circuit for the third time in his two-plus year title reign. His title win over Vargas took place in Indio, Calif., while The Forum itself played host to his first defense, a points win over former titlist Takashi Miura in July ’17.
Miura was responsible for the all-action title reign of Vargas (25-1-2, 18KOs), who overcame a 4th round knockdown to drop and stop the reigning champ from Japan in the 9th round of their unforgettable Nov. ’15 war.
The savagely brutal war not only stole the show from the evening’s far more prolific headliner—Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s historic World middleweight championship win over Miguel Cotto—but would go on to gain universal recognition as 2015 Fight of the Year.
It also appeared to take quite a bit out of Mexico City’s Vargas, who was sidelined for much of the first part of 2016 to allow several cuts to heal.
His ring return was hardly a let-up in competition, once again thrown the wolves in fighting former two-division titlist Orlando Salido to a 12-round draw in June. Once again, Vargas managed to produce a Fight of the Year-level performance, but the back-to-back wars showed its effect by the time he got to Berchelt.
Two wins have followed for the 34-year old slugger, scoring a technical decision win over veteran contender Stephen Smith in Dec. ’17 and—in his lone ring action of 2018—slaughtering overmatched Rod Salka in six rounds last April.
Given his lofty ranking among the World Boxing Council—whom recognizes Berchelt as its 130-pound champ—it was a matter of time before Vargas found himself back in the title picture. Still, it took for rival promoters to put aside their differences for the sake of reaching a deal as Top Rank (Berchelt’s co-promoter), with whom Vargas began his career before eventually moving onto Golden Boy Promotions in 2011.
“Look what’s happening in boxing. All the other promoters are cooperating with each other, Arum said of doing business with Golden Boy, while also taking a shot at another rival in adviser Al Haymon. “This show, we have our kid, Miguel Berchelt against Oscar de la Hoya’s fighter, Francisco Vargas.
“To survive at this level and in today’s market, you have to work with other promoters. We have a commitment to deliver the best fights in the world to ESPN and that’s what we’re doing here. The winner will have another big fight to look forward to, as we’d love to match (whomever is victorious) with our lightweight champion, the great Vasiliy Lomachenko.”
Josue Vargas: Boxing Is My Passion
By: Sean Crose
“I had a great amateur background,” super lightweight Josue Vargas tells me. “I’m ready for anything right now.” Having recently signed with the prestigious Top Rank Promotions, Vargas is especially ready for John Renteria, his opponent this Saturday night at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City. For Vargas will be part of a card that will see pound for pound powerhouse Vasyl Lomachenko pitted in the main event against Jose Pedraza. With an amateur career that saw Vargas face off against the likes of Shakur Stevenson, the Bronx native feels like he has the pedigree to rise to the top of the sport himself.
“I feel great about being with Top Rank,” he claims. “I trust them.” Although a New Yorker, Vargas headed west to California in order to train for this weekend’s match. “I was training with Robert Garcia,” claims Vargas, “and also with my dad.” While some fighters like to train close to home, Vargas is willing to travel in order to properly prep for a fight. “I didn’t stay home in New York because the winter started kicking in,” he says. “We fight in the heat…I went to California and took care of business.”
When he steps into the ring back in the east coast on Saturday, Vargas knows he will have supporters as well as detractors. “A lot of people come to support,” he says, adding that “a lot of people do hate and want to see you lose.” There are, after all, those who simply resent success. Yet Vargas is happy to be surrounded by those he feels he can count on. “My father’s my main trainer,” he tells me, “always making sure I’m prepared for every single fight.”
Vargas also has nothing but good to say about the men who guide his career. “Richard Roman,” he says, “one of the main guys who has always been there for me since I was 13 years old.” Vargas likewise has nothing but good to say about Gary Jonas. “He got me signed with Top Rank Promotions,” Vargas points out. “He’s the guy who got me 4 and 5 and 0.” With such support, the 20 year old feels like the future is his. “I see myself with a world title in about two years,” he says, adding that “I will always stay humble.”
“Boxing,” he claims, “is my passion.”