Timothy Bradley won a clear unanimous decision over Jessie Vargas last night, but a crucial mistake by referee Pat Russell in the bout’s remaining 10 seconds has left a lingering controversy.
Bradley, who dominated the majority of the rounds on sheer aggression, body punching and overhand rights, was badly hurt and nearly floored by a counter right with 19 seconds left. Bradley backpedaled to the ropes and clinched. The 10-second clapper sounded, which Russell mistakenly took as the final bell. He pulled Vargas away and waved his hands while stating “fight’s over,” which Vargas mistakenly took to mean he won a come from behind stoppage.
Russell quickly clarified that there was no TKO, and the scorecards appropriately had Bradley the winner via scores of 117-110, 116-112 and 115-112. After initially saying he would grant Vargas a rematch, Bradley scoffed at the idea during the post-fight press conference.
“For what? Vargas had his chance for 12 rounds to do something,” Bradley stated.
The loss was the first of Vargas’ career, bringing his record to 26-1. The bout was for the interim WBO welterweight title.