Francisco Vargas defeats Stephen Smith
By Dan Ambrose: Former WBC 130 lb. champion Francisco Vargas (24-1-2, 17 KOs) had to battle hard tonight to defeat Stephen Smith (25-4, 15 KOs) by a 9th round technical decision on HBO Boxing After Dark at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/HBO Boxing)
The fight was halted at the end of the 9th due to a cut the 32-year-old Smith had suffered a bad cut to his ear.
The judges scored it 89-82, 88-83, and 88-83. Boxing News were scored it 89-82 for Vargas. Smith had a chance to win if he’d been willing to slug it out, but he did too much holding in each round.
Smith wasn’t comfortable with throwing hard punches for 3 minutes of each round. Smith would fight in spurts, and then tie Vargas up get a rest break and to keep him from throwing too many shots.
There’s no word whether Smith will retire or not.
The holding ruined any chance Smith had to win the fight because it kept him from being able to wear down Vargas. That was the best chance Smith had to win the fight. Vargas wears down when he’s forced to fight hard. Orlando Salido and Miguel Berchelt were both able to wear down Vargas in their recent fights with him. Smith was unable or unwilling to try and fight the same way.
It wasn’t surprising that the 32-year-old Vargas got off to a good early start. That’s his style. Smith tried to box Vargas initially, but he soon abandoned that plan when he realized that he wasn’t going to be able to keep Vargas off him by boxing. Smith needed to put it out with Vargas for him to keep him honest, and to keep from getting steam rolled.
Smith came on strong in the later rounds in taking advantage of Vargas fading on him. It worked well for Smith until he suffered a bad cut on his left eye from a head-butt. The fight was then forced to go to the judges.
Smith did a little too much holding for his own good. If he wanted to win the fight against Vargas, he needed to take the bout to him to try and get him tired. Smith didn’t have the gas tank and/or the nerve for him to fight hard as he needed to.
Super featherweight Rene Alvarado (28-8, 19 KOs) defeated Dennis Shafikov (38-4, 20 KOs) by a 10 round decision in an upset win.
The judges scored the fight 96-93, and 96-94 for Alvarado, and 95-94 Shafikov.
What a surprise upset. Alvarado came into the fight having been easily beaten last year by Yuriorkis Gamboa last year by a 10 round unanimous decision.