By Michael Norby: In a collision of undefeated American heavyweights, world rated Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson scored his third straight stoppage victory on Friday night, after Devin Vargas’ corner wisely threw in the towel in the sixth round of a scheduled ten at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA.
After a slow start, the smack talking Johnson 22-0-1 (9) stepped it up a few gears and, from the third round, he punished Vargas 17-1 (7) with a terrific display of power punching. He dropped the former amateur star twice before overwhelming him throughout the sixth – forcing Vargas’ corner to throw the towel late in the round.
Vargas, who took the fight on short notice, began the fight aggressively and moved his opponent backwards with a steady and solid flow of punches. Johnson set himself in the second half of the round and touched his man upstairs with quick and scoring combinations masked behind his jab but Vargas maintained a relatively fast pace and ended the frame strongly.
Vargas continued to press the action in the second and forced both fists into the body and head of his opponent early on. Johnson broke his momentum at the midway point, however, with a beautiful left hook and countered well in spots throughout the remainder of the round as the busier Vargas worked feverishly against the ropes.
Early in the third, Vargas began unloading looping right hands as Johnson again retreated. The punches, whilst not successful in hurting Johnson, scored cleanly and he continued to force a fast pace as his opponent seemed content to pick his spots. Johnson’s patient strategy paid dividends in the final minute of the round as a right hook wobbled Vargas and, after a stunningly effective follow up of left hooks and right hands, the hitherto aggressor fell to the canvas at the bell.
It was a terrific turnaround by Johnson and he surged forward in the fourth – blasting his foe with powerful shots to the head and body. Vargas fought back bravely and, although stunned at times early in the frame, he used every tool he muster find to recover and he gave as good as he got in the final minute of the frame.
Johnson oozed confidence, however, and he furthered his advantage a round later by regularly landing well authored combinations and thumping single left hooks to the head of Vargas. He dropped his man for the second time late in the round and, although Vargas fought back gallantly after the restart, he was favoring his right ear and complained to his corner between rounds that he couldn’t hear – a direct result of the many left hooks that had collided with the right side of his head.
Vargas was clearly bothered by his injury and he pawed at his ear regularly as the sixth round began. The wounded fighter quickly found himself trapped against the ropes with his opponent bearing down on him and was forced to absorb a plethora of pinpoint shots throughout the round. Johnson raked the stunned 27-year-old a solid collection of power punches before Vargas’ corner decided that they had finally seen enough and correctly threw in the towel.
Time of stoppage: 2:23 RD6
Lightweight prospect Jorge Luis Teron avenged his only professional loss with a clear cut ten round unanimous decision victory over rugged Mexican Aldo Valtierra.
Teron 23-1-1 (15) was upset by his opponent last December after he dropped a majority decision but tonight he started strongly and maintained a steady rhythm throughout the contest. The smaller Valtierra 25-11 (11) had trouble getting inside early on and was punished by heavy right hands and well placed combinations upstairs as he tried to mug his way forward.
Teron admittedly started too slow last time out and he corrected that problem this evening by pocketing round after round with his jab, straight right hand and thudding hooks to the body of his 38-year-old opponent. The New Yorker was outfighting the veteran and brought a healthy lead into the second half of the fight as Valtierra seemed to wither.
Valtierra showed great heart and, more often than not, he shot back when hurt but his valor was trumped by the work rate and accuracy of Teron. The Mexican bit down in the eighth, however, and enjoyed a terrific round by placing stiff, jarring right hands against the jaw of Teron – knocking the mouthpiece out of his mouth late in the round.
After that brief hiccup, though, Teron resumed control and, in the final two rounds, he fought off his charging opponent with brilliantly timed punches as Valtierra tried to fight his way inside.
Scores: 96-94; 97-93; 99-91