Tim Bradley decisions Jessie Vargas in a twist ending
In a bout to determine who would potentially become the WBO welterweight titlist, should Floyd Mayweather Jr. vacate his strap, Tim Bradley defeated formerly undefeated Jessie Vargas over 12 rounds at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. on Saturday night for the interim version of the belt.
The former two-division titlist Bradley, 32-1-1 (12), set the pace from the get-go, controlling former WBA “regular” junior welterweight titlist Vargas, who was getting his first crack at some sort of welterweight gold in this contest. “Desert Storm” would pressure his opponent aggressively (likely to punctuate his points in the run-up to this bout, in which he felt like Vargas’ trainer, retired Mexican legend, Erik Morales was disrespecting him), forcing Vargas to frequently counter on the backfoot and mix in some effective body work.
The most thrilling and immensely interesting part of the bout came at 2: 45 into the 12th and final round when Vargas, 26-1 (9), way out of reach on all three official scorecards, landed a sick right hand squarely upstairs on Bradley. As Vargas, not renowned for being a KO artist, went in for the kill, referee Pat Russell waved his hands, signaling the end of the bout. As confusion ensued, it was revealed that Russell, a solid third man, mistakenly heard the signal indicating that 10 seconds remained in the bout. However, the damage was done and the fight ultimately went to the scorecards.
Kermit Bayless scored the bout 115-112; Max DeLuca scored it 116-112 and Rocky Young called it 117-111.
“I don’t have to defend anything. [Vargas] landed a great shot; he hurt me but I would have finished. Come on; I survived [Ruslan] Provodnikov,” Bradley told HBO’s Max Kellerman during the post-fight interview. Whether the new interim titlist grants Vargas the rematch he requested will remain to be seen.
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