Timothy Bradley Hands Jessie Vargas First Loss With a Controversial Ending

Albert Baker
Photo: Chris Farina/TopRank


The Desert Storm came and went at the Stubhub in Carson, CA and left the first loss in young Jessie Vargas’s career in its wake.

Timothy Bradley 33-1-1 12KO’s utterly out-boxed, out-hustled, and out-classed Vargas 26-1 9KO’s over eleven rounds two minutes and fifty seconds. In traditional fashion Vargas started the fight well and fought well enough to win a few of the first rounds then; Vargas faded as he has in his many close victories that left fans with a bad taste in their mouth when hearing his name announced with victory.

In traditional Timothy Bradley fashion; Bradley added a bit of drama that could have been avoided and won a fight in controversial fashion to a few, a small few. With ten seconds left Vargas landed a hard right hand that rocked Bradley and almost put him down, Bradley blocked the incoming follow up as the ten second clap came.

Referee Pat Russell who is a good referee and former military man whom I’m going to disclose that I have had the opportunity to talk to on numerous occasions following fights at the blackjack table and like personally, made a terrible call.

Hearing the 10 second clap, Russel mistook it for the bell and called a halt to the fight as Vargas was going in for the kill. A kill that never would have come, nevertheless it prompted Vargas to immediately believe he knocked out Bradley and begin the celebration.

Bradley stayed classy during the post-fight interview and didn’t be-little Vargas but offered a rematch after Vargas “talk to the people”. Hopefully the people realize that a rematch isn’t very interesting to the public as demonstrated by the empty patches of green seats at the Stubhub.

Bradley won a unanimous decision on scores of 116-112, 117-111, and 115-112. Instant boxing had it scored 117-111 in favor of Bradley.

With the victory Bradley should be in talks for the likes of Kell Brook or Floyd Mayweather rather than a rematch with Vargas. Unfortunately much of the welterweight competition for Bradley is owned part and parcel by Al Haymon’s Premiere Boxing Champions whom will not do business with TopRank unless more dollars than Bradley brings in are available to go around.

Oscar Valdez 17-0 14KO’s cut his teeth in his first HBO appearance and good step up in competition as he outclassed veteran Ruben Tamayo 25-6-4 17KO’s. Tamayo who was knocked out by Jesus Cuellar in his last outing was never in any serious trouble but couldn’t answer the activity and accuracy of the young prospect from Mexico.

Valdez, a two time Mexican Olympian looked sharp and showed that he can go the distance while maintaining a high work-rate into the later rounds.

After a knockdown in the first that was ruled incorrectly by referee Ray Corona, Valdez got up and shook it off as though it never even happened. A veteran attitude and presence, believing he was always winning the fight Valdez landed everything but the kitchen sink to the head and body of Tamayo.

After being warned for low blows Corona took a point from Tamayo in the sixth round and almost took another in the ninth as Tamayo would land the occasional shot but nothing continuous.

Valdez sets himself up as a prospect to keep an eye on in a very loaded featherweight division that promoter Top Rank holds contracts on many of the key players.