Fight number two of Showtime’s PPV broadcast was a classic boxing adage of youth versus experience. Even though the two combatants were close in age, Juan Manuel Lopez turned 31 last month and Francisco Vargas is 29 years old, the former champion Lopez has been in numerous ring wars over the years and the undefeated Vargas hasn’t taken much punishment in his 20 pro bouts. Would championship experience reign victorious, or would the fresher, stronger fighter have his way?
These two wasted no time and immediately went to work in the opening round. The crowd was into it right away as both men threw haymakers; yet it was the Mexican Vargas who got the better of it. The same scenario played out in the second round as Lopez was caught clean several times. Although the veteran never stopped punching, it was clear that the shots he was taking were affecting him.
The third round was simply amazing as both fighters traded shots with reckless abandon. An accumulation of punches dropped Lopez with about 40 seconds left; yet he made it to his feet and swung for the fences until the bell sounded. As JuanMa stumbled to his corner, it was clear the Puerto Rican warrior was still badly hurt. His corner knew the proud warrior would never quit, so to save their fighter from himself they threw in the towel before the start of the fourth. It was the right call.
Score another one for Mexico in the storied Mexico-Puerto Rico boxing rivalry. Vargas improves to 20-0-1 with 14 knockouts, while it appears this may be the end of the road for Lopez, who has now lost 4 of his last 8, all by stoppage. This was a short fight, but a great fight. Two down, two to go!
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