Posts Tagged ‘Francisco Vargas’

Tonight, HBO’s latest edition of its Boxing After Dark series reminded us that boxing is a blood sport. The stars of the card, Takashi Miura and Francisco Vargas, shared the ring in 2015 and delivered a consensus Fight of the Year. This time, they were engaged in battle with younger, less accomplished foes. But instead of delivering showcase performances, both veterans gave the sport a pound of their flesh in savage, bloody affairs.


MIURA KO12 ROMAN: This was 12 rounds of PAIN. Miura did great work to the body but was still hurt badly several times in the early rounds. Defense wasn’t a priority for either fighter and the fight started to favor Roman in the middle rounds. Miura looked exhausted and close to being stopped as Roman increased his combinations. But showing his heart, Miura hung tough and kept pounding away at the body.

The body assault’s effectiveness manifested in the late rounds. Roman was visibly slowed by the shots in the ninth and put on his knees in the 10th by a slashing left hook. He beat the count, but for the remaining roounds Roman was simply outgunned by the surging former champion. A barrage of punches on the ropes put Roman down again in the 11th, and two southpaw lefts floored Roman for good in the 12th.


BERCHELT UPSETS VARGAS: There’s a good chance tonight was the end of Francisco Vargas as a top fighter. On the surface, that might sound strange when talking about a fighter who just suffered his first defeat. But the brutality of the 32-year-old Vargas’ last three fights against Miura, Salido and now Berchelt is more punishment than most fighters endure of their entire careers.

Against Berchelt, a fighter who was unproven at the elite level, Vargas looked slow. He couldn’t keep his head away from Berchelt’s straight right nor his left hook, which produced constant images of Vargas’ head getting snapped back.

To Vargas’ credit, he bravely battled and even hurt Berchelt with an overhand right in the second, and in the middle rounds with a sneaky body shot. But by the seventh, the contest ceased being competitive and turned into a bloodbath. Cuts were opened above both of Vargas’ eyes with the left being a ghastly injury leaving a flap of skin affecting the champion’s vision.

Based on Vargas’ pedigree as a comeback fighter, referee Raul Caiz gave him every opportunity to turn things around being finally calling it off in the 11th.

WHAT’S NEXT: Last night’s developments have shaken up the 130-pound division. Vargas will spend the rest of the year convalescing, eliminating the possibility of a quick rematch with Berchelt. Miura remains the #1 contender and will likely face Berchelt next in what promises to be another brutal shootout. Despite Roy Jones saying he favored Miura because of his punching power, I view Berchelt-Miura as 50/50 due to Berchelt’s speed, Miura’s lack of head movement and the tough fights he’s endured (including tonight).

This leaves Orlando Salido out in the cold. He was in attendance and no doubt hoping to get a rematch with Vargas, the man he battled to a draw in 2016’s Fight of Year. It’s still possible he can entice Berchelt to fight him since it would be a more lucrative contest than the Miura defense.

Also looming in the distance is WBO champion Vasyl Lomachenko, an HBO staple and the division’s most talented fighter. Then there’s Jason Sosa, who has a version of the WBA strap and has fought on HBO before. Don’t forget Jezreel Corrales, who holds the other version and scored another victory over former lineal champ Takashi Uchiyama last month. And finally young gun Gervonta Davis, who picked up the IBF strap earlier this month. Mix and match any of these fighters together and you have a compelling matchup.



Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland

INDIO, CA — HBO Boxing After Dark’s first card of 2017 is set for tomorrow night as all the fighters were on target for today’s weigh-in.

Former WBC super featherweight champion Takashi Miura tipped the scales at 129.8, his lowest since weighing 129.5 in a 2013 decision win over Sergio Thompson. His opponent, Miguel Roman, came in at 129.2. Tomorrow’s fight will be Miura’s first U.S. appearance since losing by ninth round knockout to Francisco Vargas in 2015’s Fight of the Year.

Vargas, who main events the card, weighed in at 129.6. The challenger for his WBC super featherweight crown, Miguel Berchelt, came in at 129.8

Saturday night’s card airs live on HBO at 10 p.m. ET.



Watch the live stream this afternoon for Francisco Vargas and Orlando Salido, who face off tomorrow in a surefire war and potential Fight of the Year on HBO’s Boxing After Dark. The stream opens at 4 p.m. ET and tomorrow’s contest airs at 10:30 p.m. ET.


Sports don’t get any more dramatic nor brutal than the Sweet Science. Today, we look back on best fights on 2015.



Donaire had to unexpectedly dig deep against a journeyman. Unbelievable chin from Juarez, and a great display of heart from both.


Roman Martinez vs Orlando Salido

Round 12


Salido’s body assault had Martinez looking done for in the first half. But Rocky never folded and used a high workrate to stay alive and create a controversial split draw verdict.


Matthysse decision's Provodnikov in a war


Matthysse realized he was in there with an animal that could withstand his best punches. So the Argentinian slugger wisely adjusted his game plan to become a vicious counter-puncher off the backfoot. It worked wonders early on, but Provodnikov took The Machine into deep, scary waters in the championship rounds.




These two went toe to toe for 12 rounds. Neither capitulated, but Cleverly gave just a little more ground as Fonfara bulldozed his way to a unanimous decision.




Perhaps the greatest comeback of the year as Glowacki, in his first big stepup fight, comes off the deck to stop former champion Marco Huck.



Photo Credit: Hogan Photos


Miura nearly goes out in round one. Then he sends Vargas airborne for a knockdown in the fourth. They proceed to beat the hell out of each other with Miura appearing to be the stronger one. Then Vargas hits gold with a big knockdown in the ninth that leads to the exciting upset finish. This fight had it all.


Photo Credit: Hogan Photos

LAS VEGAS — The Cotto-Canelo undercard showcased one of the more brutal fights of 2015 and a Fight of the year contender in Francisco Vargas’s (22-0-1, 17 KOs) comeback knockout win over Takashi Miura (29-3-2, 22 KOs).

Miura was nearly KO’d in the first round from a hard counter right and took heavy punishment to the head in the second. Starting in the third, Miura began to storm back with ripping body shots and powerful southpaw straight lefts.

Miura’s straight left produced a vicious knockdown in the fourth that also created blood and swelling under the right eye. But Vargas refused to go away and kept competitive with a high workrate that offset Miura’s straight-left heavy offense.

Miura managed to hurt Vargas badly with that shot at the end of the eighth and seemed primed to finish the bout. But at the start of the ninth, Vargas caught Miura with a straight right followed by an uppercut and left hook for a knockdown. Miura got up quickly and tried to continually hold to buy time. Vargas remained relentless with his power shots and forced referee Tony Weeks to halt the contest.

Scorecards at the finish had Miura ahead on two (77-74, 76-75) and one even (75-75). The win gives Vargas the WBC super featherweight strap, his first title.

“I knew I had to be very aggressive, and I showed that in the first round so he knew that I would not be bullied,” said Vargas. “When I was knocked down in the fourth round, I felt even more motivated to win this fight. I made sure to fight the way I wanted, how I wanted and my style and now I’m champion of the world!”

Miura suffers his first defeat since 2011 and ends his WBC reign with four defenses.

Cotto Alvarez Boxing

(AP Photo/John Locher)


Much respect to Miguel Cotto, but now it’s my era.

LAS VEGAS — Miguel Cotto had the right strategy, but not the physical tools against Canelo Alvarez, who is now the lineal, RING Magazine and WBC middleweight champion after scoring a wide unanimous decision win at the Mandalay Bay. Although this wasn’t a drama-filled bout, fans were treated to a high-level chess match that showed the elite skills and limitations of both men. Does Gennady Golovkin loom in the distance?

CATCHWEIGHT NULLIFIED: Cotto’s 155 pound catchweight was supposed to even the playing field, but Canelo still appeared to be over 170 pounds in the ring. Cotto opted to box from the outside by turning Canelo, pumping the jab, and countering with left hooks. The problem was the reach disadvantage allowed Canelo to neutralize Cotto’s attempts to press by simply taking a step or two backwards. This meant the fight was contested mostly at long and mid-range, where the younger Canelo held the speed advantage.

By the third round, Canelo was able to land lead right hands and physically move Cotto backwards with body shots. The power disparity put Cotto behind the eight-ball in scoring since he had to widely outwork Canelo to take rounds, leading to tired legs in the later rounds.

TOE TO TOE GAMBLING: By the midway point, Cotto seemed to sense he was behind and began a new tactic of occasionally coming right at Canelo. These exchanges were exciting with each man landing their best shots. Unfortunately for Cotto, the size and power disparity left him getting the worse of most of them. Canelo’s punches would knock him backwards and Cotto would always be the one to retreat first, adding to the impression of Canelo being in full control.

Cotto Alvarez Boxing

(AP Photo/John Locher)

STAMINA AND FIGHTING TO SURVIVE VS. FIGHTING TO WIN: Once the fight hit the championship rounds, you could hear Cotto in the corner counting down to the end (“nine minutes left… six minutes left…”). This was significant in the sense that mentally Cotto was more focused on getting through the fight as opposed to Canelo, who was throwing most of his shots with the intention of getting a KO.

Nonetheless, Canelo’s biggest weakness, his stamina, reared its ugly head in the later rounds. Instead of really pressing Cotto, Canelo took full rounds off (noticeably the 10th), that let Cotto steal rounds. He avoided any serious damage, but it remains to be seen how much of a detriment that would be against an opponent the same size.

WIDE OR APPROPRIATE SCORING: I scored the bout 117-111. Cotto had solid ring generalship and defense in most rounds, but that wasn’t enough to overcome Canelo’s clear, effective punching. Yes, it’s a challenge when you face someone who’s bigger with punches are so much more heavier, but it’s not impossible to overcome (see the Mayweather-Maidana fights). Cotto just couldn’t avoid the right hands, body shots and uppercuts enough to take rounds. And when he tried to go all out in the final round, he got beat up and suffered a deep, flowing cut over his left eye.

The official judges had it 119-109, 118-110 and 117-111.

WHAT’S NEXT?: Now that Canelo’s the WBC champion, he obligated to face mandatory opponent Gennady Golovkin. Although he didn’t budge on saying the bout has to happen, Canelo was also clear on his terms as the “A-side.”

I’m not afraid of any fighter. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin is a great fighter, and he is my friend. I have respect for him, but if we do fight, it’s going to be at my weight class. I’m the champion, and I don’t have to do what he wants.

“My weight class” means something under 160, which Golovkin has never done and it’s not a good idea to start at 33 years old.

Based on what we saw tonight, you have to favor Golovkin by a wide margin. I see Canelo breaking GGG’s KO streak, but  his habit of taking 30-60 seconds off of rounds would sink him against the Kazakhstan beast.

As for Cotto, I’d like to see him hang up the gloves. There are no bigger paydays than what Canelo was for him. A swan song at Madison Square Garden would be fitting.


Photo Credit: Jeandra LeBeauf/

Earlier today, the participants on the Cotto-Canelo undercard held their final press conference at the Mandalay Bay. This card is significant as it marks the Roc Nation debut of Guillermo Rigondeaux, who faces Drian Francisco, and what likely becomes the fight of the night in WBC super featherweight champion Takashi Miura facing Francisco Vargas. Also on the card is Jayson Velez facing Ronny Rios, and IBF bantamweight titlist Randy Caballero taking on Lee Haskins.

The card airs on HBO pay-per-view November 21.