Bradley out­lasts Var­gas to claim wel­ter­weight ti­tle

WBO bout in Car­son comes down to a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion, and a weird end­ing.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Greg Hadley greg.hadley@latimes.com

Con­tro­versy. Con­fu­sion. Of­fi­cials get­ting as in­volved as the fight­ers them­selves. This is start­ing to be­come a rou­tine in the fights of Ti­mothy Bradley Jr. Some­times it costs him dearly. Some­times it fa­vors him.

For 11 rounds, 2 min­utes 50 sec­onds, Bradley (32-1-1, 12 knock­outs) was in con­trol with a solid, bal­anced per­for­mance against Jessie Var­gas (26-1-0, 19 KOs) on Satur­day night at Stub­Hub Cen­ter. By ev­ery judges’ score­card, he was in line for the vic­tory and the in­terim World Box­ing Or­ga­ni­za­tion wel­ter­weight ti­tle.

Then, Var­gas landed a right hook that sent Bradley stum­bling. At the same time, the 10-sec­ond warn­ing sounded. Ref­eree Pat Rus­sell waved his hands. Var­gas and the crowd thought Rus­sell was call­ing the fight in his fa­vor.

How­ever, once Rus­sell made it clear he sim­ply thought the bell had sounded and the fight was over, the bout went to the score­cards, where Bradley was con­firmed as the vic­tor and the cham­pion.

“I made the call based on what I heard,” Rus­sell said. “I thought I heard some­thing.”

Up to that point, Bradley had a nar­row edge in a fight de­fined by big swings. Both stum­bled at times, and Bradley blood­ied Var­gas’ nose in the fifth round. Each fighter’s left eye swelled mid­way through the fight.

Bradley said he felt he did not need to de­fend his vic­tory against ac­cu­sa­tions that he got away with one.

“I thought I won the fight,” Bradley said. “I would have fin­ished. I knew where I was at fin­ish. I felt like I was in bet­ter shape. In the sec­ond half, I was stronger and got on my jab.”

Var­gas did not feel the same way.

“The fight was still go­ing on. All I needed was one shot,” he said. “It was an hon­est mis­take, but those last seven sec­onds cost me the fight.”

Be­fore the fight, Bradley said he would be com­fort­able fight­ing any way Var­gas wanted to, say­ing he was ver­sa­tile enough to go with any style. But from the open­ing bell, he dic­tated the fight’s pace, start­ing with a flurry of com­bi­na­tions and then slow­ing things in the later rounds. But even as the fight slowed, Var­gas strug­gled to keep up with Bradley.

Be­fore Var­gas and Bradley squared off, Os­car Valdez (16-0-0, 14 KOs) won by unan­i­mous de­ci­sion over Ruben Ta­mayo (23-6-4, 15 KOs) in 10 rounds.

Valdez be­gan the bout with a 93% knock­out rate and a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the di­vi­sion’s most promis­ing prospects.

But any thoughts of an early knock­out of the 26year-old Ta­mayo evap­o­rated as soon as Valdez hit the can­vas in the first round af­ter Ta­mayo landed a hard right jab.

Valdez said he did not think it was a knock­down, but said he got tan­gled up over his own feet.

Half­way through the fight, Valdez con­nected on a shot to Ta­mayo’s right eye, caus­ing it to swell and bother him the rest of the fight. The sec­ond half of the fight was all Valdez, as Ta­mayo was lim­ited to paw­ing jabs.

Valdez threw only 57 more punches over­all, but con­nected on 42%, com­pared to 16% for Ta­mayo.

He also landed far more power punches, 207 to 60.

Mark J. Terrill As­so­ci­ated Press

TI­MOTHY BRADLEY, left, lands a punch on Jessie Var­gas on the way to win­ning the World Box­ing Or­ga­ni­za­tion in­terim wel­ter­weight ti­tle.

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