Showtime results: Adrien Broner and Jessie Vargas fight to a draw
After 12 competitive rounds, Adrien Broner and Jessie Vargas were left arguing with each other after a majority draw result was delivered but even in the aftermath of a somewhat embarrassing post-fight interview, a very good fight shouldn’t be so quickly forgotten. The contest was the main event of a Showtime broadcast, Saturday night, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Two scores of 114-114 overruled the lone score of 115-113 for Broner and before Showtime’s Jim Gray could even get a question in about the decision, he served as the middleman to a shouting match between the combatants that featured plenty of slurs and comments that would make some fans crawl into their safe spaces.
“You need peroxide and alcohol,” Broner said to end the out-of-hand start of the interview, just before Vargas rightfully said, “You need to settle down.”
Settling down is what Broner did too much of over the course of the fight, which was fought at a 144-pound catchweight. The brash Cincinnati, Ohio, native started the fight far too tentatively for anyone to give him rounds and, with Vargas being a very active fighter in front of him, it made his start look all that worse. For the first quarter of the fight, a busy jab from Vargas was all that was necessary to easily bank rounds and, by the third, his follow-up right hand started touching Broner’s chin. Broner wasn’t visibly dismayed by Vargas’ activity – often times found shaking his head as he typically does, after a rally was handed to him – but the shots were now forcing him to wake up. That’s when a fight broke out.
Broner, 33-3-1 (24), started timing counters well with both hands in the fourth and, in the following round, clearly showed he had the hand speed advantage as well as the edge in accuracy. Rapid swelling around Vargas’ left eye was starting to show, thanks to Broner’s work; however, he couldn’t sustain enough activity to maintain control of the fight. With a terrific attack to the body, Vargas kept that from happening in the sixth round. Vargas, 28-2-1 (10), kept his focus on Broner’s body for the rest of the way but, in the second half of the fight, the intensity level raised after every tight round. At the end of each round as well, both Broner and Vargas would get heated exchanges and, in one instance at the end of the ninth, Broner rallied well enough to steal a round from Vargas in the final 30 seconds. Moments like this made the fight good, despite neither fighter getting dramatically hurt throughout the 12 rounds, and they brought the 13,000-plus in the arena off their seats every time.
Going into the late rounds, the fight was seemingly up in the air and they fought that way, using the tactics they had already established. In the 11th, Broner managed to force a cut on Vargas’ swelling left eye but even that wasn’t slowing his constant pace. The 12th was underwhelming, considering the stakes on the line, especially after trainer Kevin Cunningham told Broner he should fight like he needed a knockout. Broner and Vargas were both hesitant in making a final statement but perhaps they were just waiting for the post-fight interview for that.
“I thought I won the fight,” Vargas said after the initial mess post-fight was settled down. “At the end of the day I can’t argue because I was fighting on the inside of the ring, so I don’t know what you saw from the outside. I was landing clean blows. It was a good fight but, at the end of the day, I can’t dispute the decision. It must have been a close fight for the judges to have scored it the way they did. I felt that I won the fight and I was up two rounds. I’m relying on the judges to make the right decision.”
Vargas, 28, put up a good enough effort that – if the decision were given to him – it would’ve been warranted. It was only his second fight since losing the WBO welterweight title to Manny Pacquiao, 17 months ago, and the Las Vegas, Nevada, native was open to a rematch.
“I was connecting with rights,” said Broner afterward, once finally settled down. “I got warmed up in the early portion of the fight. My trainer was a big help tonight. I want to thank Coach Cunningham, as well as my original coach Mike Stafford, for realizing I needed to do something different. I want to thank Jessie Vargas. He’s a two-time world champion for a reason. He came to fight but, at the end of the day, you all know I beat him. Point blank, period.”
In the Showtime co-feature, Jermall Charlo showcased his presence in the middleweight division after knocking out Hugo Centeno Jr. in the second round. The contest, for the WBC interim title, was scheduled for 12 rounds.
“It’s been an amazing journey to get here,” said Charlo, of Houston, Texas. “I’m a two-time world champion. Bring on (unified middleweight champion) ‘GGG’ (Golovkin). I want that fight. I’m 27-0 with 21 knockouts. Everybody sees it. What more can I say?”
Charlo, 27, calmly waited for the chance to let his hands go and, early in the second round, it came just after getting hit cleanly by Centeno on the chin. The shot spurred Charlo to trap Centeno from across the ring and deliver a left hook that stopped him dead in his tracks. For good measure, a follow-up right hand splattered Centeno to the canvas and after referee Steve Willis finished his 10-count, the New York official rightfully yelled, “He’s done!”
“I thought I started off pretty well. I wanted to go out on my shield but it wasn’t my day,” admitted Centeno, 26-2 (14). “He caught me and got the knockout. I was trying to work my jab. I thought I got him with a couple good shots but I lingered too long in the pocket and I didn’t get out in time.”
In the opening bout of the Showtime telecast, Gervonta “Tank” Davis won the WBA junior lightweight title after blowing out Jesus Cuellar within three rounds.
Davis, 20-0 (19), fought brilliantly from the jump: showing great accuracy, timing and awareness against the offensive-minded Argentinean. Cuellar, 28-3 (21), went after the 23-year-old right out of the gate but quickly found himself getting countered and missing awfully. Davis exploited Cuellar’s defense to the body and a shot there put him to a knee in the second round, for the fight’s first knockdown. In the third, Davis started implementing head shots to his attack and Cuellar unraveled, once starting to back up. An accumulation of shots to the body and head sent Cuellar to a knee again in the third and, after Cuellar beat the count, Davis forced him to the canvas for a third and final time.
“The game plan was to box a little bit and open him up with some shots,” Davis, Baltimore, Maryland said. “When it was time, I went forward and caught him with enough shots to get him out. I want the IBF belt back and I’m ready to unify it with whoever wins the (Tevin) Farmer vs. (Billy) Dib fight.”