Former world champions Mikey Garcia used a knockdown to defeat Jesse “The Pride of Las Vegas” Vargas Saturday over the Zone at The Ford Center at the Star, in Frisco, Texas for the vacant WBC Diamond welterweight title promoted by Matchroom Boxing – Eddie Hearn and Garcia Promotions with matchmaker Eric Bottjer.
In the main event coming back after his first loss a year ago the former WBO Feather, WBO Super Feather, WBC & IBF Light and IBF Light champion Mikey Garcia, 40-1 (30), #145 3/4, of Oxnard, CA, defeated former WBA Light Welter and WBO Welter champion Jesse “The Pride of Las Vegas” Vargas, 29-3-2 (11), #147, of Las Vegas, NV, 12 rounds.
In the first round Garcia looked quicker in the first minute but Vargas came back well taking a close round. In the second round it seemed like the same until Garcia came back well but Vargas finished stronger with Garcia ending the round with a big right. In the third round Garcia showed an excellent jab while Vargas showed his strength in coming back. This was a close round that Garcia may have taken though rocked at the end of the round by a Vargas right on the chin.
In the fourth round Garcia came out strong but at the halfway mark Vargas drove Garcia into a corner hurting him with a right to the chin. Garcia seconds later came back well. In the fifth round Garcia came back well bringing blood from the nose of Vargas midway in the round. Later Garcia hurt Vargas with 35 seconds to go in the round with a combination following with a right on the chin dropping Vargas for a count by Referee Jon Schorle. Upon getting up Garcia was all over him hurting him again right up until the bell.
In the sixth round Garcia again hurt Vargas but let him off the hook. Vargas boxed well while Garcia seemed to be looking for that one punch again in a close round. In the seventh round Garcia landed a chopping right to the head of Vargas near the midway point. With just under a minute left in the round Garcia again hurt Vargas with a right to the chin. In the final 15 seconds Garcia had Vargas out on his feet with a flurry of punches staring with a right on the head right up to the bell. (Steve Smoger when asked said it was close to a stoppage for Garcia. The next time Vargas is hurt it will be over). Again Garcia seemed to let Vargas back into the fight measuring him for that knockout punch.
In the eighth round Vargas had his eyes swelling. Garcia had the edge but when hurting Vargas didn’t follow-up. Vargas seemed to be fighting on heart in the round. In the ninth round Garcia seemed content to out box Vargas for the most part. In the tenth round after a minute Garcia hurt Vargas again with a right to the chin. He didn’t follow-up once again allowing Vargas to get off the hook. It seemed like Garcia showed too much respect for Vargas who fought back but looked like he was ready to go at anytime.
In the eleventh round Vargas did well coming forward outworking Garcia who was loading up looking for the big punch but lost the round doing it. In the twelfth and final round Vargas fought his heart out while Garcia instead of backing up Vargas got backed up.
Scores were David Sutherland 114-113, Cathy Leonard and Steve Morrow 116-111. This writer had it 115-112.
“First of all l want to thank all the fans and am happy to come back and be here. I felt I did well after the first couple of rounds. He’s a big man, Jesse is a big man. I started to hurt him as the rounds went by when I knocked him down. I felt I did well against a bigger guy. I am looking to come back against either Pacquaio or Errol Spence. I think we are ready for the bigger and former champs,” said Garcia.
“I thought I gave the fans an entertaining fight and would like a rematch not that I thought I won. I believe I lost due to the knockdown. I should have listened to my team more. I want to thank Eddie Hearn for this opportunity and underestimated his power. I thought it was closer than the judges had it,” said Vargas.
Whether Garcia should stay at 147 instead of 140 again is still in question to this writer. Also, should Vargas go back into super welterweight.
In the co-feature 2008 Olympian and WBA World Super Flyweight champion Khalid “Kal” Yafai, 26-1 (15),#114 ¾, of Birmingham, UK, made his sixth defense losing to the former WBA Mini, WBA Light Fly, WBC Fly and WBC Super Fly champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, 49-2 (41), #114 1/2, of Managua, NIC, who re-gained a world title at 0:29 of the ninth round of a 12.
In the first round there was no feeling out but both landed well with Gonzalez out landing Yafai. In the second round Gonzalez continued to war while Yafai played right into his hands instead of boxing more per his corner. A hook and an uppercut from Gonzalez had Yafai looking like he was bothered in his left eye.
The third round for the second time Yafai had his mouthpiece knocked out by Gonzalez. (Steve Smoger asked for his opinion said one more time the mouthpiece comes out and he may lose a point). Yafai fought better in the round. In the fourth round Gonzalez motioned for Yafai to keep the punches up and was backed by Referee Luis Pabon giving a warning to Yafai. In the final 15 seconds Gonzalez showed old flashes when he was one of if not the best in the world.
In the fifth round Gonzalez landed a 3-punch combination to the body and head making Yafai hold a minute into the round. In the final 30 seconds Gonzalez punched the champion around inside. In the sixth round near the end of the first minute a clash of heads caused a cut over the right eye of Gonzalez who moitioned to the referee about Yafai using his head inside. The referee warned Yafai. In the final minute Gonzalez had Yafai holding on.
In the seventh round Yafai finally decided to move and box Gonzalez. When Yafai would return to fight in the middle of the ring Gonzalez hurt him in the final 30 seconds with a pair of rights to the head. In the eighth round Yafai decided to fight in the middle of the ring again and got pounded by Gonzalez until Yafai held. This continued throughout the round. In the final 30 seconds Gonzalez hurt Yafai and had him holding and trying to move away without success as Gonzalez dropped him with a left hook to the body followed by a right on the chin.
In the ninth round 30 seconds into the round a crushing right from Gonzalez on the chin and down went Yafai. The referee Luis Pabon wisely stopped the fight. Gonzalez showed great sportsmanship going over to Yafai and embracing him. Gonzalez trained by the legendary Nicaraguan Alexis Arguello in the amatuers showed the same class in victory.
“Everybody God bless everyone. I want to thank my team. God gave me my title back. Everybody should have the same blessing I got from God tonight. I always thank God for his blessing. God has a future for these young kids. When I lost I thank God I came back. I want to thank Mr. Y (?) and Eddie Hearn. I want to say hi to my mom and kids back home and unify the title. God bless you all in Mexico and Nicaragua,” said Gonzalez. As a born again Christian this writer has to admire Gonzalez for giving God “all the glory” and witnessing to the crowd and world wide over the Zone! Yafai boxed his way to the title and made 5 defenses but in his sixth defense made the mistake of slugging with a slugger!
WBC World Flyweight champion Julio “El Rey” Cesar Martinez, 15-1 (12), #111 ¼, of Mexico City, MEX, defending against IBF Inter-Continental champion and ranked No. 5 Jay Harris, 19-0 (7), #111 ¾, of Swansea, Wales, UK, 12 rounds.
In the first round when the taller Harris landed punches to the head of Martinez he was countered with double combinations. Martinez was so quick he landed 3-punch combinations to the head having the face of Harris red by the end of the round. In the second round Harris was doing well with combinations to the chin of Martinez but got countered with combinations to the head. Harris in the final half minute landed a left on the chin of Martinez but was countered with a right on the chin hurting him.
In the third round at the midway point both fighters exchanged head shots to the delight of the crowd. In the final 30 seconds Harris landed a solid right to the chin of Martinez who came back with a left hook to the ribs driving Harris several steps to his right. In the fourth round of a war of countering Harris was cut slong the left eye in the final half minute of the round.
In the fifth round afrer a minute Martinez rocked Harris with a right on the chin knocking his head back. Martinez is the harder hitter of the two and quicker but the taller Harris lands well while on the offense but gets countered. Martinez ended the found with a 4-punch combination to body and head having Harris cut and nose bleeding. Both fighters touch gloves at the end of each round showing respect for one another.
In the sixth round Harris for the second time in the fight holds out his left (like Holmes got away with) without a warning from Referee Laurence Cole. It was another all action round that Harris may have gotten though Martinez ended with a good combination to his head. In the seventh round near the end of the first minute Martinez landed a flurry of punches to the head having Harris against the ropes and holding on. At the halfway mark Harris landed a 3-punch combination that was countered with a combination to the head. Both were throwing punches at the bell as Harris landed a right on the chin with Martinez following with a left hook to the chin. Harris did well in the last 2 rounds but well enough to win the rounds?
In the eighth round the war continued right thru the ninth round. In the tenth round a right hand body shot 20 seconds into the round that dropped Harris. He beat the count and got on his bike for about 20 seconds and then started throwing punches. Martinez landed half a dozen punches without return. Harris came back seconds later with a 3-punch combination of his own. At the end of the round Martinez hurt Harris who landed the last punch of ther round.
In the eleventh round Harris landed a border line punch without warning and was countered with a 3-punch combination to the body and head from Martinez. In the final seconds again Harris held out his straight arm without warning from referee Cole and paid for it with a combination from Martinez.
In the twelfth and final rounds both fighters hugged and tapped gloves. Harris was landing combinations as was Martinez who continued stalking him. In the final minute Harris landed a flurry of punches and moved away as Martinez followed him landing punches to the body and head while getting them in return. WHAT A FIGHT!
Scores were 118-109, 116-111 and 115-112 with this writer 117-112. The scores do not tell it all how some rounds could have gone either way but no doubt a game Harris worthy of being a world champion met his match with one of the best P4p fighters in the world in Martinez.
“Thank God it was a very tough battle. There are no excuses here. I will defend this title many times for Mexico. Congratulations to Harris who is a heck of a fighter but I am going to defend my title many times. Thank you Eddie Hearns and to my family and all of Mexico,” said Martinez (smiling). Harris on the other hand in leaving the ring felt he deserved at least a draw.
Promoter Eddie Hearns interviewed by Chris Mannix asking about the heavyweight division. He said both UK fighters for the first time in Joshua and Fury would be something along with the ok from Bob Arum. Wilder will step aside giving Fury the fight with Joshua and wanting the winner. Then Regis Prograis and Maurice Hooker a pair of former champions interviewed about their April 17th battle at MGM National Harbor, Oxon Hill, MD.
Former WBO World Heavyweight champion now No. 7 WBA ranked Joe Parker, 27-2 (21), #245 ¼, of NZ and Las Vegas, NV, NABA champion stopped Shawndell “The Bald Eagle” Winters, 13-3 (12), #208, of Harvey, IL, at 2:40 of the fifth of a 10.
In the first round having turned pro at 34 the 39 year-old Winters has scored an upset over Oleksandr Teslenko, then 16-0, in September of 2019 so cannot be taken lightly. Parker hasn’t fought since June and was bitten by a spider in October putting him out of action for the past 4 months. It was a good action round with Parker ending the round strong but Winters ended the round with a combination of his own. Former world champion Montell Griffin is in the corner of Winters while 1984 Olympian Kevin Barry who defeated Evander Holyfield by DQ in the semi-finals is in the corner of Parker.
In the second round the action continued with Parker seemingly taking another round as it ended the same as the first round with Parker landing a chopping right to the head of Parker who came back at the bell. In the third round Parker was continuing out punching Winter until the latter landed a pair of rights to the chin of Parker when referee Rosario Solis suddenly yelled to “stop!”. Near the end of the round Parker landed a hard right over his jab to the chin of Winters who slid along the ropes and down. He was up seconds before the round ended.
In the fourth round Parker landed a double left hook to the body that Winters countered with a left hook to the right eye when referee Solis again stepped in for some reason. It was at that point Parker was cut around the right eye from that left hook from Winters. In the fifth round a right from Parker to the head of Winters had him out on his feet when Parker landed another right left and right and down Winters went in a corner. He barely got up but referee Solis waved it off. This was a good comeback fight after 8 months off by Parker but Winters had his moments.
“I want to thank God for the win. I have to learn to be more impatient and use my power. I want to first relax and get about two more fights and get a title fight at the end of the year,” said Parker.
Super Welter southpaw WBA inter-continental champion and No. 3 ranked in the WBA Israil “The Dream” Madrimov, 5-0 (5), #153 ¼, of UZB and Indio, CA, stopped WBA Fedelatin champion Charlie Navarro, 29-10 (22), #153 ¼, of Maturin, VZ, at 2:20 of the sixth in a 10.
In the first round it was all Madrimov who halfway thru the round switched to southpaw with the same success. He had over 350 amateur bouts. He was the 2018 Asian Gold Medalist at 165. In the second round a minute into the round a right hook from southpaw Madrimov drove Navarro into the ropes that could have been called a knockdown by referee Rafael Ramos but wasn’t. In a break from the referee Madrimov hurt Navarro back several steps causing him to turn his back holding his right eye. Referee Ramos yelled to stop Madrimov who was going after Navarro. Navarro was coming off two wins over unbeaten opponents 22-0 and 11-0.
In the third round Madrimov swinging wildly allowed Navarro to counter him on several occasions. Otherwise Madrimov dominated the round for the most part. In the fourth round several vicious body shots had Navarro looking ready to be stopped with a bloody nose. In the fifth round there was no quit in Navarro who landed a hard right to the body of Madrimov a minute into the round. Trained by Joe Diaz Madrimov was being pushed to end it. Whether orthodox or southpaw Madrimov hurt Navarro during the round.
In the sixth round Madrimov continued using angles landing solid punches on the chin of Navarro. In the final minute a left hook to the body dropped Navarro. Upon rising Madrimov was all over him dropping him with a left hook to the right arm of a falling Navarro forcing referee Ramos to wave it off. This was listed as an “eliminator” bout. Madrimov is something to watch!
Flyweight southpaw Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez lll, 11-0 (7), #111, of San Antonio, TX, stopped Marco “El Labito” Sustaita, 12-3-1 (10), #110 1/2, of Oceanside, CA, at 1:10 of the eighth round in a 10.
By the end of the fourth round it was just a matter of time before Rodriguez would stop Sustaita. Referee Lawrence Cole saw enough stopping the bout in the eighth round.
Mexican middleweight Leo Ruiz Acevedo, 7-0 (5), #153 ¾, of San Bernardino, CA, stopped southpaw Dennis “Pony Express” Knifechief, 12-12-1 (7), of Shawnee, OK, at 1:44 of the third round.
Acevedo dominated the fight stopping Knifechief in the third round when referee Rosario Solis had seen enough.
Super middleweight 18 year-old Diego Pacheco, 9-0 (8), #167 ¼, of L.A., CA, shut out southpaw Oscar Riojas, 21-13-1 (10), #167 ¼, of Monterrey, MEX, over 6 rounds.
In the first round Riojas landed a jab to the body and was countered by a solid right from Pacheco on the chin backing Riojas into a corner. Riojas is 4-1 in his last 5 fighlts all by ko. Pacheco is 6’4 1/2, and is half the age of the 36 year-old Riojas. In the third round a right crooss from Pacheco on the chin of Riojas rocked him a minute into the round. In the final 15 seconds Pacheco buckled the knees of Riojas with a right on the chin.
In the fourth round after half a minute a left hook from Pacheco on the chin of Riojas had him holding on. In the sixth and final round with 15 seconds to go Pacheco landed a right on the chin of Riojas having him out on his feet. He tried ending it by knockout as referee Neil Young was about to step in when the bell sounded. Riojas had a small cut under his left eye at the end.
All 3 judges and this writer had it 60-54.
Middleweight 20 year-old Alexis Espino, 6-0 (4), #165, of Las Vegas, NV, defeated Delvecchio Savage, 3-6-1 (3), #163 1/2, of Tuscaloosa, AL, over 6 rounds.
In the first round Savage came out southpaw though normally orthodox. It was a close round. Espino trainer is Robert Garcia. Each fighter got in one good shot between feeling each other out. In the second round Espino’s left hook to the chin of Savage was followed to a right to the chest which was the highlight of this round. In the fourth round Espino was waring down Savage who was warned for holding several times. Espino used a good right uppercut to the chin.
In the fifth round which Espino has yet to fight in his early career is forcing the action having Savage on the ropes. Espino has the nose of Savage bleeding. In the sixth and final round Savage is still on his feet and never has been knocked down in his 9 fights. He has only fought one boxer that didn’t have any losses.
Scores were 60-54 and 59-55 twice as did this writer have it.
IBHOF referee Steve “Double SS” Smoger was the network judge for the undercard and part of the main card. Chris Mannix did the main card.