Miguel Cotto Impresses at the Stubhub on HBO, Vargas Beats Rios

Albert Baker
Photos: Lina Baker, Instagram @seeyouringside

Well, it wasn’t competitive but damnit if it wasn’t entertaining. In front of 7689 screaming fans at the Stubhub Center in Carson, California Miguel Cotto became a world champion once again. The expectation at the announcement of Cotto vs. Kamegai was that Cotto would land punches at will, and he did.

Kamegai landed only 152 to Cotto’s 337 punches and everything Cotto landed was a head whipping highlight shot. On scores of 120-110, 119-111, and 118-112 Cotto ended a dominant performance and picked up the WBO Junior Middleweight title, his sixth in a hall of fame career. Cotto announced his impending retirement prior to the fight and scheduled it for December 31st of 2017. HBO’s Max Kellerman asked Cotto following the fight if he will fight again before that date, to which he replied “there will be one more fight” to send the crowd into a frenzy. “I tried to do my best, and I think I did that tonight. I am happy with my performance. He’s a tough fighter, and was a tough opponent. It was during round 5 or 6 that I knew he was going to make it to the 12 rounds. Come December 31st, I will retire, I’ve did it and done it all. I’m 36 going on 37, and I think I’ve come to the end of my career. I will fight once more in December. I’ll let Freddie tell you who I want.” 

WBC super-bantamweight champion Rey Vargas 30-0 22KO’s made the first defense of the title he won by majority decision over Gavin McDonnell against Ronny Rios 28-2 13KO’s of nearby Santa Ana California. Vargas came out early in the first two rounds and landed big right hands behind a long jab from his six-foot 122lb. frame. Rios started to time Vargas into the third and turned the fight into a back and forth war of attrition with Rios landing the harder shots.

In the eighth round Rios rocked Vargas buckling his legs, Vargas moved to his backfoot in the last rounds choosing to box and move from the outside peppering the shorter fighter. Going into the championship rounds Rios was behind by a round or two but was closing the gap. Vargas used movement against a tiring Rios to keep the fight on the outside and coasted to a unanimous decision on scores of 118-110, 118-110, and 115-113. InstantBoxing’s unofficial card was 115-113 for Vargas. “I wasn’t expecting him to move so much- he was running more than I expected. We put up a good fight, and my team and I will go back to the drawing board.” Said Rios .

“We came here to take the belt back home, even if that means that we didn’t get the knockout.” “He got me with some head shots that threw me off, and he was of an elite level when it cam e to his boxing.” Said Vargas after the fight.
Joet Gonzalez 18-0-9KO’s took on tough Colombian Deivis Julio 19-3 11KO’s in the first bout of the international telecast and used the opportunity to notch another impressive victory and knockout. Julio didn’t go away easily despite being knocked out in the fifth round, landing combinations of his own and pushing Gonzalez. Gonzalez showed there are different levels in the sport and he has plans to excel to the higher echelons while Julio is more of a gatekeeper at the journeyman level. In the fifth round Gonzalez began to land at will on a deteriorating Julio prompting referee Jack Reiss to step in and stop the fight at 2:57.

Super Bantamweight prospect Emilio Sanchez 16-0 11KO’s took on tough Mexican Danny Flores in an eight-round bout. Sanchez is another top prospect from the deep Espinoza Boxing Club stable and he showed that when the Espinoza patch is on your trunks you perform a expected. Sanchez blasted Flores and landed crisp combinations until dropping and stopping him at :33 of the fifth round.

Tenochtitlan Nava 7-0 1KO continued his unbeaten streak after scoring a four round unanimous decision victory over Angel Aguilar 8-14 1KO of Mexico City. Nava brings a big Westside Boxing crowd to any venue in the Los Angeles area and didn’t let down the horde of fanatics gathered in section 28. Nava was the more skilled and cruised to victory on basics and fundamental to remain unbeaten.

Power punching prospect Alexis Rocha 9-0 6KO’s of nearby Santa Ana continued to show his thudding power after blasting Esau Herrera 19-10 10KO’s at 2:59 in the first round. Rocha landed a right hook that put Herrera down for good, demonstrating his one punch KO capability.

Genaro Gamez 6-0 4KO’s of San Diego picked up a unanimous decision victory over Rafael Reyes 7-11 5KO’s on scores of 59-55 twice and 58-56. Gamez landed a nice shot in the second round, dropping Reyes but Reyes would get up and return fire until the final bell. Despite the knockdown it was a lackluster performance for the prospect from San Diego.

Opening bout notes:

Javier Padilla 3-0-1 3KO’s draws with Ricardo Arias 1-1-1
Janel Rivera 16-2-3 10KO’s wins KO over Marco A. Sanchez 12-6-3 7KO’s
Ruben Rodriguez 1-0 1KO wins pro-debut over Rolando Padilla via 1st round KO.

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