Former WBC 122-lb champion Rey Vargas (36-0, 22 KOs) proved to be too talented for WBC featherweight champion Mark Magsayo (24-1, 16 KOs), defeating him by a 12-round split decision on Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The judges scored it 115-112, 115-112 for the unbeaten Rey Vargas, and 114-113 for the champion Mark Magsayo.
Vargas was knocked down in the ninth round in what appeared to be a slip, but the referee counted it as a knockdown.
That blown call woke up Vargas, as he dominated the championship rounds, getting the better of Magsayo in rounds 10 through 12.
Magsayo – Vargas undercard results:
Former WBA 122-lb champion Brandon Figueroa (23-1-1, 18 KOs) defeated Carlos Castro (27-2, 12 KOs) in a sixth-round stoppage in a WBC featherweight title eliminator.
Figueroa, 25, stopped Castro in the third. In the sixth, the 25-year-old Figueroa backed Castro up against the ropes and unloaded with a storm of shots resulting in referee Mark Nelson halting the bout. The time of the stoppage was at 2:11 of the sixth.
With the win, Figueroa is now the mandatory challenger to WBC featherweight champion Mark Magsayo, who is battling tonight against Rey Vargas in the main event.
Undefeated lightweight contender Frank Martin (16-0, 12 KOs) stopped the always tough Jackson Marinez (19-3, 7 KOs) by a tenth-round knockout.
Martin knocked Marinez down in the ninth and tenth rounds to get the stoppage. The contest was halted at 0:30 of the tenth.
Two years ago, Marinez gave Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero a lot of problems in losing a controversial 12-round unanimous decision in a fight that many boxing fans had him winning.
Unfortunately for Marinez, his career has taken a hit since the Rolly fight, losing to Richard Commey by a sixth-round knockout, and now getting stopped by Frank Martin in the tenth round tonight.
Undefeated welterweight Rashidi Ellis (24-0, 14 KOs) blasted out Jose Marrufo (13-11-2, 1 KO) in a first-round knockout. The 29-year-old Ellis twice knocked down Marrufo before the contest was halted.
Bantamweight Ramon Cardenas (21-1, 10 KOs) put in a dominant before beating Michell Banquez (20-2, 14 KOs) by a 10-round unanimous decision by the scores. Scores 97-93, 97-93, and 96-94.
This is a tough one to predict for the Magsayo vs. Vargas fight because the popular Filipino star has such a thin resume.
Aside from Magsayo’s victory over an old, inactive, and injured 34-year-old Russell, the only other notable names on his nine-year resume are Chris Avalos and Julio Ceja.
“It’s widely believed that if Russell Jr. had been healthy & more active with his career, he would have beaten the brakes off of Magsayo last January.
Russell hadn’t fought in two years before defending against Magsayo, and he made the mistake of fighting with an injury. He obviously thought he was good enough to win with an injury and coming off a 23-month layoff.
In the end, Russell paid the price by losing to Magsayo and is now belt-less, sitting on the sidelines with no fight scheduled once again.
“He doesn’t get a gimme in his first defense. This Rey Vargas fight is a nice, nice battle between two very capable fighters on a high-level championship level,” said Malignaggi.
“It’s a little bit of a spinoff of the Marquez-Pacquiao situation because what makes Vargas good is he’s 5’10 1/2″ at 126. He’s my height fighting at 126. That’s crazy,” said Roy Jones Jr. about the height of Rey Vargas.
“It’s hard to fight an uphill mountain [taller fighter like Vargas] than a downhill mountain,” said Jones. “Vargas’ thing is can his height save him because in my opinion, this guy that knocked off Gary Russell Jr, he’s a hell of a fighter because Gary Russell is a hell of a fighter. He’s a puncher. I haven’t seen anybody take Vargas down,” said Roy Jr.
Rey Vargas (35-0, 22 KOs) will be looking to use his huge height & skills advantage to dethrone WBC featherweight champion Mark Magsayo (24-0, 16 KOs) tonight on Showtime at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
This is Magsayo’s first defense of his WBC title that he recently captured against Gary Russell Jr. last January in Atlantic City, New Jersey.