Jessie Vargas (28-2-1, 10 KO) was not the only one fighting Adrien Broner (33-3-1, 24 KO) in the main event of the latest installment of Showtime Championship Boxing as the former titleholders ultimately settled for a majority draw (115-113, 114-114, 114-114).
The 14,000 in attendance at the Barclays Center also saw Jim Gray, the network’s ringside reporter, wrestle with Broner after the fight for control of the microphone.
As most fights are, the opening round was tentative. The only memorable punch was a sweeping left hook from Broner.
A piston jab from Vargas came to life in Round 2. Broner tried laughing it off but a couple of one-twos tore through “The Problem’s” high guard.
Vargas pummeled into Broner with two fists in the fourth round, paying close attention to the body. Broner stood his ground in the fifth and a real fight erupted.
The activity from Vargas earned him the sixth stanza. Referee Carlie Fitch got in on the action when he pulled the fighters apart after a low blow from Broner—absolving himself of missing a groin shot in Round 3.
The violence settled in the seventh, save for an overhand right from Vargas. The Las Vegas native was still control of the bout.
Broner, though, began gaining momentum in Round 8 behind sharp right hands. Vargas put his head down and continied to work but Broner clearly had a quicker hands.
Whereas Broner was spamming a lead left hook up to this point, the latter periods saw him steal back the fight by masking right crosses from the orthodox stance.
Vargas slowed down in the ninth. Broner’s strategy was clear: pounce on his man in the final minute of the round.
The end of Round 9 saw Broner stun Vargas over and over, ripping through his gloves with sharp punches, interchanging right and left hands.
Broner continued the tactic and in the third minute of Round 10 buzzed Vargas with wide, curled punches that looked like he was hurling bricks.
Now bleeding from his left eye, Vargas rallied in the eleventh stanza. Broner completely gave away any momentum he had gained in the previous three rounds and only watched while Vargas established his range and racked up points with more straight punches.
As the final scores would reveal, Round 12 was pivotal. There was some chippy fighting and wrestling on the inside but ultimately neither man really deserved it–a lackluster finish to a tight contest.
Per ShoStats, Vargas threw over 800 total punches as compared to Broner’s 507. But Broner landed at a higher clip, connecting on 44 percent of his power punches (152 of 347) and 26 percent of his jabs (42 of 160). Vargas landed 27 percent of his power shots (141 of 516) and 19 percent of his jabs (62 of 323).
Vargas was straightforward with Gray after the final bell.
“We went at it for 12 rounds,” said Vargas. “We can do it again—I’m ready to fight right now.”
Broner accepted the rematch.
“I would love to fight Vargas again,” said Broner. “But let’s go back to my town to do it.”
Fans should be happy to see Vargas and Broner run it back. The middle rounds were exciting and both should be eager to deliver punishment after the words shared in the ring.
Feature photo: Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing
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