By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Bradley and Vargas WinsBrutal Fights!
Jesse Vargas and Wale Omotoso fought in a battle of undefeated prospects and over the first two rounds, it was Omotoso fight as he managed to get the slick boxing Vargas into a firefight. He showed that he could hurt Vargas as a body shot sent Vargas for a quick knockdown in the second round. In the first round, Vargas connected on twice as many punches but the harder punches were landed by Omotoso.
For the first two minutes of the third round, Vargas boxed and showed the slickness that defined his career. Over the final minute, Omotoso landed three solid rights which shook Vargas and opened up a cut over the left eye. Vargas finally got some momentum in the fourth round as he used his jab to control some of the real estate and at the end of the round; he managed to land some combinations including body shots.
Vargas landed a solid right that shook Omotoso halfway through the fifth round and for the next ninety seconds, Vargas pounded Omotoso. Omotoso managed to stay on his feet even though he nearly hit the canvas twice. Omotoso kept his balanced but this could have been scored a 10-8 round, even though no knockdown was recorded. (HBO Harold Lederman gave Vargas 10-8 round.)
Going into the second half, Vargas landed twice of the punches than Omotoso but Omotoso punches were more powerful and Harold Lederman had it 4 round to 2 rounds in Omotoso’s favor. (I had the fight even but I didn’t have the fifth round 10-8 since I just want to see a person hit the canvas before I reward a 10-8. Lederman case for a 10-8 was based on the fact that Omotoso was out on his feet, even if he did not hit the ground.)
In the seventh and eighth round, Vargas used his jab to control fight even though Omotoso did manage to land one solid right at the end of eighth round. Vargas jab slowed the Omotoso onslaught down. Going into the last round, Harold Lederman had Omotoso winning the fight 5 rounds to 4 rounds but I had it 6 rounds to 3 in Vargas favor, but then ninth and sixth round were close. Despite Vargas advantage in punches delivered, Omotoso punches were more powerful. The tenth round was close as well as Vargas landed solid combinations including a sharp left hook as the round ended while Omotoso landed several upper cut over the last minute to make it a close round. I had the fight 96 to 93 for Vargas and Lederman had it 94-94. (The judges agreed with me but Lederman scorecard showed that the fight could have gone the other way.) Vargas landed 60 more punches and connected on 34% of his punches. Omotoso only landed 24% but his punches had more pop. In the end, the slick boxing Vargas won the heart of the judges with his accuracy and ability to use the jab to control the second half of the fight.
In the main event, Tim Bradley returned to the ring against the tough Ruslan Provdonikov, who could punch. Bradley won his bout against Pacquiao even though most of the boxing world felt he lost, this writer included. The reality is that Bradley won the fight because the judges decreed it so and he came into the fight as the Champion. Ruslan Provdonikov was Pacquiao sparring partner for the Bradley and in the first round, he showed why. Bradley quick hands dominated the first two minutes but he stayed inside and allowed Provdonikov to fight inside. Provdonikov landed a right that sent Bradley reeling and nearly out.
Provdonikov used his power to nailed Bradley consistently and while Bradley hurt Provdonikov with his right but at the end of second round, Provdonikov had Bradley nearly off his feet. Both fighters hurt each other but Bradley was hurt more.
Bradley started the third round boxing and landed quick combinations as Provdonikov looked tired after he threw nearly 100 punches the round before. In between the third and fourth round, Bradley corner reminded him to fight his fight.
The fourth round saw Bradley landing a variety of punches including an upper cut that spin Provdonikov 180 degrees and while Provdonikov landed some solid rights, they did not have the same impact as they did the first two rounds. This continued into the fifth round as Bradley threw some 100 punches. Bradley won the first two minutes and forty seconds of the sixth round but Provdonikov nailed Bradley with a right that nearly sent Bradley down. Both fighters threw over 180 punches in the sixth round. Harold Lederman had the fight even at the halfway point of the fight and so did I.
Bradley boxed and stayed away from Provdonikov as the movement allowed him to win the seventh round and he concluded the round with combinations. Bradley adjusted his game plan as he used angles to avoid big shots that hurt him earlier. In the meantime, Bradley punches started to swell Provdonikov’s face. Throughout most of the ninth round, Bradley maneuvered into position to nail Provdonikov and open a cut over Provdonikov’s left eye. Despite busting Provdonikov up, Provdonikov managed to hurt Bradley with a right at the end of the ninth round.
Going into the eleventh round, corner man Freddie Roach told Provdonikov that he had to knock Bradley out and Provdonikov came out fast as he attempted to follow Roach advice. Bradley countered with effective body shots but Provdonikov stayed in front of Bradley throughout the eleventh round. Bradley stuck and moved throughout the first two minutes of the final round but a Provdonikov left hook forced Bradley to the rope and Provdonikov pounded Bradley from one side of the ring to other. With 12 seconds left, Bradley took a knee and managed to survive the round. He won a close decision 114-113, 115-112, 114-113 but Provdonikov should have been rewarded with a knockdown in the first round and that would have made it a majority draw. (Harold Lederman had it 115-112 and I agreed with that score.)
Bradley threw more punches, connected on more punches and was more accurate but Provdonikov hurt Bradley consistently throughout the bout. Bradley showed why he is a champion and why he survived twelve rounds with Pacquiao ten months ago as he showed the heart of a champion against a big puncher. This was one of those great fights that reminds one why boxing is a great sport. Bradley won a brutal fight against a determined foe who did not give up.