By Miguel Maravilla at ringside
Photos: Sumio Yamada
Former super featherweight champion Francisco “Bandido” Vargas (24-1-2, 17 KOs) of Mexico City, Mexico returned to the ring won a ninth round technical decision over England’s Stephen “Swifty” Smith (25-4, 15 KOs) in a scheduled ten round bout opening up the HBO Boxing After Dark telecast.
Vargas was off to a good start using his technique popping the jab teeing off Smith. In round two, Vargas connected a one-two that backed Smith. The third round saw Vargas go forward staying on top of Smith following up with the overhand right. Referee Russell Mora warned Smith in round four for holding as Vargas stayed inside. At the halfway point in the fifth Vargas and Smith clashed heads as Vargas was on the receiving end.
Working the jab, Vargas followed up with the right in round six as he backed Smith. Moments after time referee Russell Mora warned Smith for holding for the third time in the fight. Smith began to gain momentum in the late rounds but Vargas continued to land consistently. There was a nasty cut on Smith’s left ear as it appeared to be split caused by a clash of heads as they went to the scorecards.
The judges scores were 89-82, 88-83, and 88-83 as Francisco Vargas wins a technical decision.
Super featherweights Dennis Shafikov (38-4, 20 KOs) of Russia and Nicaragua’s Rene Alvarado (28-8, 19 KOs) battled it out in a ten round bout. Alvarado stick and moved as Shafikov was the aggressor. However fighting on the inside in round two a clash of heads caused a nasty cut on the side of Shafikov’s head as blood was gushing profusely. Despite the bleeding Shafikov kept coming connecting big punches at Alvarado as the Nicaraguan countered. The blood continued to flow down Shafikov’s face in the fifth but the Russian kept pressuring as Alvarado kept his distance. However a short right hand by Alvarado knocked down Shafikov as he didn’t see that punch coming.
Past the halfway point in round six Alvarado stuck to plan and boxed with Shafikov looking to land the big punch. It was a bloody mess in the eighth as nothing was stopping Shafikov pressures Alvarado stood in there mixing it up. Alvarado kept his distance and boxed in the ninth but Shafikov connected with a solid body shot stopping the Nicaraguan’s momentum. The tenth and final round Shafikov applied the pressure as the fight was close Alvarado stood his ground in going the distance and making it an ugly fight.
In the end the judges scored the bout 96-93, and 96-94 for Alvarado, as one judge had it 95-94 Shafikov as Rene Alvarado pulls off a split decision.
Tijuana, Mexico’s undefeated super welterweight Jaime Munguia (26-0, 22 KOs) scored a second round stoppage over Paul Valenzuela (20-9-2, 16 KOs) of Mexico. Trading left hooks in round two Munguia got the better one in as Valenzuela went down. Munguia dropped Valenzuela a second time as he continued to fight but referee Jay Nady had seen enough stopping the fight at 1:26 of the second.
Making his pro debut Ireland’s Aaron “Silencer” McKenna (1-0) won a unanimous decision over Travis Conley (1-1, 1 KO). McKenna dominated in his debut as all three judges scored the bout 40-36.
Super featherweight Pedro Duran (16-0, 13 KOs) of Paramount, California stopped Daniel Evangelista (20-9-2, 16 KOs) of Mexico City in the fifth. A slow paced fight early on Duran was patient landing a left hook in the fifth sending Evangelista to the canvas, Duran dropped Evangelista a second time in the round with the same left hook. Evangelista had seen enough as he did not come out of his corner referee Tony Weeks waived the bout at the end of the fifth.
In the opening bout from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas Mexican flyweight prospect Joselito Lopez (5-0, 5 KOs) of Cancun, Mexico stopped Mexican journeyman Armando Vasquez (22-21-1, 5 KOs) of Mexicali. Lopez dropped Vasquez in the fifth round as he got up but Lopez continued to attack as referee Jay Nady stopped the fight at 1:27 of the fifth.