LAS VEGAS—In the second night of Top Rank's boxing extravaganza in Las Vegas, local welterweight contender Jessie Vargas pounded out a 10 round unanimous decision over durable Vito Gasparyan of Glendale, Calif. at the Texas Station Gambling Hall on Friday night.
Vargas did a lot of solid work to the body, which helped slow Gasparyan down much earlier than he would have liked. Gasparyan landed, but it was usually arm punches around the guard of Vargas rather than flush shots on the chin.
Vargas opened up early in the fight and allowed Gasparyan catch him with solid counters. Vargas then adjusted his gameplan to fight more on the inside, as he was on Gasparyan's chest for much of the night.
Predictably, Gasparyan took Vargas' best shots and moved forward, as the budding welterweight isn't known for his pop with a KO ratio of less than 50 percent. Vargas landed in combination on the inside, but never was able to move before getting hit with a counter. Gasparyan sometimes used his head more than his fists on the inside, grinding his dome into Vargas' while not throwing any leather. Whenever Vargas had Gasparyan on the ropes and landed, the crowd was behind him, proving that he could be as good a local draw as there gets in Las Vegas.
Vargas lost a point in the 8th for a low blow, and responded by coming back in the 9th with his best assault of the fight, staggering Gasparyan a bit in the early portion of the round, but was unable to finish. After that, Vargas had pretty much shot his wad, and marched to a unanimous decision by scores of 98-91 twice and 98-90.
Vargas also gets hit quite a bit and possibly won't have the power to keep guys off of him when he steps up the opposition. 2013 could be make or break for Vargas, who jumped from being “promoted” by Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and fighting on pay-per-view undercards to Top Rank and less obscure spots. Top Rank will move him well, but he will undoubtedly be forced to step up next year and we'll likely find out if he can rise to the occasion.
Mexican Olympian Oscar Valdez showed off a little of his future potential as he dispatched game but outgunned Corben Page in the 2nd round of a featherweight bout. Valdez was a little overly aggressive in the opening round and he got tagged while unleashing a solid amount of punishment. Valdez settled down in the 2nd and began landing lead right hands almost at will. Page took his shots well, even landing a few solid of his own, which only ignited Valdez to open up a little more. Valdez soon found a couple of good left hands that staggered Page back to the ropes, ultimately beating him up until the Page corner halted the fight. The stoppage came at 2:24 of the round.
In a minor upset, junior featherweight Raul Hirales halted a two-bout losing streak, earning a well deserved unanimous decision over Oscar Gonzalez, who hadn't lost in more than five years. Hirales overcame a 1st round knockdown, outboxing Gonzalez over the next four rounds in order to gain an advantage. The fight was pretty even down the stretch, but Hirales' work in the middle rounds carried him to victory. Scores were 97-92, 96-94, and 95-94 for Hirales, who had lost decisions to highly touted Carl Frampton and mostly unknown Adrian Young.
Mexican heavyweight and fan favorite Andy Ruiz, Jr. isn't going to win a bodybuilding competition anytime soon, but he sure moves his hands fast. Ruiz was able to overwhelm Elijah McCall at 2:59 of the 3rd round as referee Kenny Bayless wisely stopped it right at the final bell. McCall is the son of former heavyweight titlist Oliver McCall, who was the first to stop Hall of Famer Lennox Lewis.
McCall was outclassed but hung in there tough, taking a beating in the process. Though Bayless stopped the fight right as the bell rang and McCall would've had time to recover, he had absorbed so many overhand rights throughout the fight that it was for the best.
Unbeaten welterweight Wale Omotoso escaped with a no contest against battle tested trial horse Irving Garcia in their schedulded eight-round bout. Garcia scored a knockdown in the opening round when a heavy blow forced Omotoso to touch the canvas. Omotoso has a history of being dropped by journeymen opponents and Garcia was his biggest test to date. In the 2nd, the two clashed heads and Garcia came away the worse for the wear. At the end of the round, Garcia said he couldn't continue and the fight was stopped.
Making his first foray into the six-round length, light heavyweight prospect Trevor McCumby was tested to the distance by game Eric Watkins. McCumby consistently controlled the fight but Watkins was able to put him on the ropes at times and do good work. McCumby is trained by Robet Garcia and will definitely be a fighter to watch out for in 2013. In a Gabriel Montoya piece this week, Top Rank boss Bob Arum is quoted as saying this about McCumby: “We have some very good white fighters that Cameron Dunkin is bringing to us like Trevor McCumby and Mikael Zewski, and hopefully, we will be able to build on that.” Obviously McCumby will be given a serious look as you don't often see Arum mention a fighter of his with less than 10 bouts.
In the opening bout of the evening, welterweights Kenny Abril and Dennis Laurente fought a nip-and-tuck fight that saw underdog Abril walk with the eight-round split decision. Abril did just enough to prevail on the scorecards by slim margins of 77-74, 76-76 while Laurente won 77-74 on the third card.