Timothy Bradley vs Jessie Vargas & Oscar Valdez vs Ruben Tamayo
BY KID HERSH
HBO's 1000th show! Awesome opener that gave me absolute chills!!!!! From the StubHub Center in Carson California came the show that is both highly anticipated and yet not "scintillating", as Max Kellerman would say.
First up was Ruben Tamayo (25-5-4, 17ko's) vs Oscar Valdez (15-0, 14ko's). In the first round Valdez was getting his speed going, pumping his jab and leading with right hands at times that Tamayo didn't see coming. Then at the end of the round Tamayo stepped on Valdez's lead foot, landed a punch, then when Tamayo came forward with a left hand but Valdez got his left leg tangled up and went to the canvas, with the referee scoring it a knockdown unfortunately. In the next couple rounds Valdez was picking his man apart slowly but also taking some shots, with the southpaw style of Tamayo noticeably frustrating him a bit. Valdez continued his boxing into the fourth round where his right hands, where he even stunned Tamayo with one who was all too happy to get a clinch immediately afterwards. In the fifth round Tamayo was haing success with his left hand early, catching Valdez off guard and sometimes with his hands too low (I think that southpaw style is confusing him just a bit). In the coming rounds Valdez was really showing why he can be elusive despite the fact that he is a high-output fighter that sticks right in your grill. He likes to come around his opponents shoulder, so that they cannot hit him after he gets off his shots. Midway through the seventh round a point was deducted from Tamayo for a low blow (he has been warned about it already - although I don't think they are intentional). Tamayo is not showing signs of breaking down at all - taking Valdez's shots very well. Valdez has been trying to do damage with his shots but his footwork is just off enough to where his power isn't landing with full authority - likely due to that southpaw style in front of him. In the eighth round Valdez was really looking to do damage to his man, sitting down on his shots with real authority and showing great stamina. Tamayo did land a nice body shot towards the end of the round that had Valdez backing off. Valdez closed the show great in the tenth round - ignoring his corners advice to play it safe and look out for the counter shots that Tamayo was looking to land. He started a nice hematoma on Tamayo's right eye in this round from the power shots he landed as he put everything he had into getting the knockout. He went on to win the near shutout decision (likely would have been without the first round "knockdown").
Next up was main event time with Timothy Bradley (31-1-1, 12ko's) vs Jessie Vargas (26-0, 9ko's). In the first round Bradley got busy with throwing shots and coming forward while Vargas was working off the back foot but not doing much work. Vargas was mixing up shots nicely in the second round after hurting Bradley with a left hook to the body less than a minute into it, which seemed to slow him down for the rest of the round while Vargas was establishing himself. In the third round Bradley started off with some nice uppercuts but it was Vargas who ended the round nicely, catching Bradley with stinging shots while he was trying to press the action but more apprehensive than usual. In the fourth round Bradley took over the fight with right hands and was on his feet a bit. I have to admit though, Bradleys balance looks terrible in this fight, as he has nearly hit the canvas a couple times from bending too low or losing his center of gravity (with his top half looking a bit bigger than usual - and usually it looks big as we all know). In the fifth round Bradley further got into rhythm, letting his hands go with combinations and clearly taking over the fight. At the end of the round he got careless as he does at times though - getting stung with two right hands that of course didn't stop him but violently snapped his head back. In the coming rounds Bradley was still just on top of Vargas, making him react to his shots or his work. Vargas would back him off, but was definitely reacting and behind in nearly every sequence of the fight. He needs to pump his jab from the outside! The rounds cruised on until the very end of the fight when a shocker happened that could be talked about for years when Vargas put all of his weight into a right hand that landed perfectly to Bradleys chin, nearly dropping him as he barely caught himself and stumbled around the ring. Vargas gave chase (although not as fast as he should have with only 20 seconds left!) and Bradley managed a clinch, where Vargas fell back and threw a series of body shots when the ten second bell went off - and referee Pat Russell stopped the fight thinking that it was the final bell! He said "that's it - fight's over!" waiving his hands with Vargas thinking he just won via TKO and running across the ring and celebrating with his corner after jumping on the ropes and throwing his hands up. It wasn't until a few minutes later that he realized he didn't just win by KO and lots of people - including myself - were confused for a while on what was going on. Boxing has another gem of a circus here! For the post fight interview Pat Russell was up first - basically saying that he made a mistake and thought the ten second bell was the end of the fight because you don't always hear the ten second bell since it can be really soft. Bradley offered Vargas a rematch multiple times, but I think we all know it is not going to happen lol. Bad for Bradley here - again - where the guy just cannot get a good rap. Against Manny Pacquiao he was booed and told to give the belt back. Against Juan Manuel Marquez, Marquez filed a complaint and protested the decision. Against Ruslan Provodnikov the decision was protested against him. Against Diego Chaves he got a raw decision. Now people might say that he was about to get KO'ed (highly unlikely, but still it's fans..).