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Vargas defeats Ali by 9th round TKO – results

vargas6By Jim Dower: Former WBA 140lb champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) used his superior size and punching power to defeat #1 WBO Sadam Ali (22-1, 13 KOs) by a 9th round TKO night to capture the vacant WBO 140lb title in a fight televised by HBO World Boxing from the DC Armory in Washington, DC.

Vargas flattened a fading 27-year-old Ali in the 8th round. Ali made it up but was badly hurt. He was able to make it out of the round, but it was clear that he was not going to be able to last another round. Ali’s trainer asked him in between rounds if he wanted to have the fight stopped, but he chose to come out for the 9th.

In hindsight, that wasn’t a good idea because Vargas immediately all over him at the start of the 9th round. Vargas then finished Ali off with a flurry of shots after knocking him down one more time. Referee Kenny Chevalier stopped the contest at 2:09 of the round.

Now that Vargas has the WBO 147lb title in his possession, it’s very likely we’ll see a Top Ran match-up between Vargas and Tim Bradley. It’s almost a given. Bradley has a fight against Manny Pacquiao on April 9, but win or lose, we’ll likely see Vargas and Bradley facing each other again. Bradley easily beat Vargas by a 12 round decision last year in June 2015 in a fight that was marred by referee Pat Russell mistakenly stopping the fight early with 10 seconds after he thought he heard the final bell to end the fight. What he actually heard was the 10 second bell to warn the fighters that there was only 10 seconds left. Bradley had been hurt by Vargas in the 12th round moments before.

Vargas bragged about his achievement after the fight. He pointed out that he’d now won world titles in two different divisions, as if that means anything. With the way that each division is so watered down with four to five potential world titles to be won at all times, it makes it easy for even average contenders like Vargas to win world titles.

“I tore him apart piece by piece,” Vargas said. “I was patient. I looked for openings and when I had the openings I fired the shots. This is what I have been working for all my life since I was eigth-years-old. Now I’m a two-time world champion.”

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To be sure, Vargas is the WBO welterweight champion for now, but he’s not going to stay in that position unless his promoter Bob Arum matches him carefully. Once Arum puts Vargas in with one of the following contenders, I see him losing his new WBO title: Errol Spence, Shawn Porter, Amir Khan, Keith Thurman, Adrien Broner, Lamont Peterson, Dmitry Mikhaylenko, Danny Garcia, Kell Brook or Ruslan Provodnikov. Vargas is a decent fighter, but I think he would have never won the WBO title if he weren’t matched against an average fighter in Sadam Ali.


Featherweight Oscar Escandon (25-2, 17 KOs) defeated journeyman Robinson Castellanos (23-11, 13 KOs) by a 7th round stoppage. With the victory, Escandon won the vacant WBA interim featherweight title. Castellanos knocked Escandon down in the 2nd round.

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