Francisco Vargas vs Orlando Salido & Julian Ramirez vs Abraham Lopez
BY KID HERSH
From the Stubhub Center in Carson, California came and HBO Boxing After Dark card that was highly anticipated for the likely war to accurate for the main event between two Mexicans that always give their all in the ring. First up on the card was Julian Ramirez (16-0, 8ko's) vs Abraham Lopez (20-0-1, 15ko's). In the first round it was Lopez that established himself first as he landed straight right hands flush on Ramirez, who was feeling his man out and trying to find the proper distance - which he didn't do until the end of the round. Round two was an amazing round where both guys slugged it out in a telephone booth - neither backing down as Lopez changed from right hands to left hooks slamming home and stunning Ramirez. Ramirez, on the other hand, was landing straight left hands with authority. In the next couple rounds Ramirez started to get the upper hand by pure work rate despite fighting what I think is the wrong fight in pressing and standing and trading with the larger and stronger man. By the fourth round he had Lopez backing up and fighting his fight while he dictated the pace. Ramirez was taking over the rounds at this point until suffering a bad cut above his right eye in the sixth round from an accidental clash of heads. There would be heavy debate the coming round as Harold Lederman came on air and said that he wasn't so sure there was any head butt and the cut could have been caused from a punch, with the team going back and forth on what a call should be if nothing is really seen. It took some time but the HBO crew found the replay showing a clash of heads that caused the cut, but Harold Lederman's point stands about not assuming a clash of heads took place because in a fight like this where Lopez is well behind on the cards it would be the extreme difference between a win and a loss if the cut caused the stoppage. The fight continued to be Ramirez's hands, with a hematoma developing above Lopez's right eye in the ninth round either from all straight left hands he has taken or head clashes. Lopez tried his best to close the show but whether he won the last round or not did not matter because he would end up winning the UD! A shocker here as the cards came in 97-93, 98-92. I don't think it's a robbery here per say because Lopez had a good first few rounds and was in the fight but I did have Ramirez being the winner As he seemed to set the pace for the entire fight.
There was a final ten count tolled for Muhammad Ali before the start of the main event. Francisco Vargas (23-0-1, 17ko's) was defending his title against Orlando Salido (42-13-3, 29ko's) despite testing positive for clenbuterol. The fight was allowed to go on because of the very low level he tested positive for and it is known that in Mexico lots of farmers still use the drug for their cattle. In the first round there was a little bit of feeling out but then the fight that was expected to happen broke out as both guys stood toe-to-toe and traded powerful punches. As Jim Lampley said the feeling out period is over! In the second round Siri was still getting out-thrown and out-landed but his engine was not warm yet. It warmed up and started steaming in the third round when he burst out with a ten punch combination midway through the round and was blasting Vargas to the body and had him reacting poorly to the sudden outbursts. It was a war! The war continued into the fourth round as we were witnessing a potential fight of the year! Both fighters are throwing nonstop shots in the middle of the ring. This type of fight favors Salido though, as he is putting in great body work and Vargas appeared to be waning just a bit. Vargas continued going forward and fighting toe-to-toe - I am only mentioning it because it still amazes me that he is choosing this type of fight, even though it is insanely fun to watch. The sixth round was potentially the round of the year as Vargas backed Salido into the ropes after landing a right hand that buckled Salido's knees. When he was backed into the ropes though he fought back, being the warrior that he is, and landed a four punch combination that backed Vargas off! The ebb and flow of this fight is insane. Right when you think Vargas is potentially gassing out or taking too much damage he comes right back with straight punches and combinations that back up his foe. Vice versa occurred as well - with Salido getting stunned at times and backing up only to dig deep and throw powerful hooks he is known for when backed into a corner. The eighth round was a huge one for Salido as he blasted Vargas with right hands and backed them up with combinations that punished Vargas. Vargas is in great shape and still standing up but looking the worse for wear by the end of the eighth round. Right when Vargas may have been looking like he was wilting he came out in the ninth round and backed up Salido with punishing shots from all angles while also working his jab very well - changing the tactics of the fight. Salido was looking the worse for wear by the end of the ninth. Ebb and flow in a potential fight of the year candidate! It was more back and forth in the tenth round but it was again Vargas that had an amazing round, landing 50 shots total. Siri just cannot be counted out though as he showed in the eleventh round, potentially taking the round and turning the tide back in his favor. The twelfth and final round was a barn-burner with both men putting everything they had on the line in what clearly looks like the fight of the year at this point. Salido had Vargas in trouble but then took a right hand that buckled his legs and nearly put him down. He pulled it together though and the two warriors brawled it out for the fight of the year down the stretch! The fight turned out a majority draw, with one card going to Vargas but a round. A great decision - a draw that was an actual draw!