Article by Rocco Lucente
“Boxing’s newest star was born tonight in Verona, New York. Jaime Munguia, the undefeated 21 year old Mexican junior middleweight, became WBO Junior Middleweight champion with a devastating 4th round TKO over Sadam Ali, in a fight which he dominated from the start. Munguia scored two first round knockdowns, looking like he would finish Ali in the opening stanza, and from that point forward in the fight it was Ali simply trying to survive.
“This is victory is something huge for me. This is a dream come true. Every fighter dreams of this. I want to thank the Nevada Commission for making this opportunity possible as they did not allow me to fight Gennady Golovkin. I want to show that I am ready to fight at the highest level.”
Munguia controlled the action with a dominant left hook which he seemingly couldn’t miss. As soon as he landed his first significant left hook, Ali went tumbling to the canvas, and never looked to get his legs back under him for the rest of the night. Munguia, who came into the fight as an underdog, exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic fans tonight. Not only did he land big punches, he landed his power punches at an excellent 47% rate. As a 21 year old who was previously prevented from fighting GGG, Munguia took a massive step up and sent a message that was loud and clear: That he is the next great Mexican champion.
The co-main event of the evening, a WBC Super Bantamweight Title bout, saw Rey Vargas win a wide unanimous decision, 118-110, 117-111 & 116-112. This author scored it 116-112. Early in the fight it was a battle of attrition, with Hovhannisyan applying tons of pressure and forcing Vargas to fight off the back foot. Vargas did so admirably, often finding ways to escape the ropes while landing big shots on Hovhannisyan without having been hit. Towards the middle rounds, Vargas began to assert control over the fight as the Hovhannisyan pressure began to wane.
The control Vargas had over the fight was threatened by multiple headbutts in the later rounds which left Vargas badly cut over both eyes. Hovhannisyan took advantage of this, pressing the action heavily in the last two rounds, but it was too little too late. Vargas was able to survive the late onslaught, and retained both his unbeaten record and his world championship. Though he left the ring a bloody mess, due to the headbutts, Vargas emerged the clear victor.
“I’m very happy.” Said Vargas “This was a tough opponent, though he fights dirty and has his bad habits. He head-butted me a lot. It was important that I first take care of my head in this fight and then of course land my punches. Right now, it’s time for me to rest and leave the decisions to my managers.”
In the fifth fight of the night, George Rincon scored a vicious TKO over Corey Gulley just 37 seconds into the second round to improve to 4-0 (2 KO) on his career. Rincon scored a knockdown on a hard right hand towards the end of the first round, a knockdown which was clearly still affecting Gulley as the second round began. At that point it was only a matter of time, as Rincon scored a knockdown on a left hook very quickly and proceeded to unload on Gulley until referee Gary Rosato had no choice but to step in.
In the nights fourth fight, a 6 round featherweight contest between Kevin Rivers & Diuhl Olguin, an extremely competitive fight ended in a split decision where a phantom knockdown ultimately made the difference. With the judges turning in scorecards of 58-55 Rivers, 58-55 Olguin, 57-56 Olguin, the fight was hard fought and close throughout. Olguin scored a third round knockdown that replay showed clearly to be a slip, and people will look at the referee’s call of a knockdown as the difference in the fight. Ultimately, had the knockdown not been called, the fight would have ended in a split draw. That having been said, to be in such a competitive fight with a man who was 11-10-2 entering the fight is a major setback for Rivers as a prospect. This being his second loss to extremely substandard competition, Rivers finds his status as a relevant contender on life support.
The third fight of the night, a rematch between Alexander Vanasse and Raymond Santiago, ended in a third round technical knockout. Vanasse was relaxed from the start, landing combinations and mostly keeping his hands down throughout the contest. Vanasse stunned Santiago early in the round, and continued landing hard shots until referee Charlie Fitch was forced to step in. Vanasse had won their previous bout via second round TKO, and improves to 4-0 (4 KO).
The second fight, a four round heavyweight contest, saw Luis Vargas improve to 3-0 with a wide 40-36, 40-36, 39-37 Unanimous Decision victory over the 0-8-1 Damian Lewis. Vargas dominated the action from the opening bell and hit Lewis with several big punches throughout the fight. Lewis, who has never been knocked out, was never stunned and continued to press forward despite taking so many big punches. His effort, though a losing one, is best described as a courageous display of internal fortitude. Many fighters would have succumbed to the relentless pressure of Vargas.
We kicked the night off with a four round cruiserweight fight between Lawrence Gabriel and Brad Vargason. Gabriel got the knockout at the 2:19 mark of the second round with a big right hand, concluding a fight where Vargason was visibly stunned by every significant shot which he was hit with. The knockdown was Gabriel’s second of the round, and the referee waived the fight off shortly after Vargason reached his feet. Gabriel moves to 2-1-1 (1 KO).”