By Sean Waisglass: Cuauhtemoc Vargas of Mexico City showed serious promise in the main support bout on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights with a seventh round TKO over fellow undefeated junior featherweight Eric Rodgriguez of Texas. Vargas, cousin of former champion brothers Adan and Goyo, ran his record up to 12-0 (9), while Rodriguez lost his 0, and went to 14-1-1 (6). The card took place at the Desert Diamond Casino in Tuscon, Arizona.
The two prospects - both coming off decisions over tough vet Francisco Tejedor - fought like they intended to leave with their undefeated records intact from the first bell. They threw a constant stream of leather, staying in front of each and trading for the whole bout in a very good slug out.
Rodriguez, 23, kept his longer arms busy and tried to pressure Vargas, but his lack of power allowed the 19-year-old Vargas, who had been sparring with Marco Antonio Barrera recently, to work through Rodriguez's flurries.
Vargas started to assert himself by the third round, keeping a steady pace and a cool head while pounding at Rodriguez with hard, accurate punches.
As the harder-hitting Vargas turned up the heat and picked up the pace, the ESPN crew revealed that the 100 plus throwing Vargas had registered the second most punches ever thrown in a round by a 122 pounder in the third round: 125 blistering blows. He came in behind human-windmill, bantamweight champ, and former Secondsout.com columnist Wayne McCullough who holds the record with 139 from his punch-mad losing challenge against Zaragoza in '97.
The left hand was Vargas' most impressive weapon: he often fired off quick, ripping left-only combos in eyebrow-raising three, four and five punch bunches. He showed punch diversity as well by constantly mixing in right and left uppercuts during flurries, nailing the chin of the covering up or throwing Rodriguez. The stunning uppercuts proved to be Vargas' bread and butter in wearing down his opponent as the fight progressed.
Vargas kept mixing up his shots, using a double jab, left hook to the body, hard right crosses, and the uppercuts and left-heavy combos to break his own record two rounds later, when he threw 129 punches in the fifth round.
In the seventh, in spite of the game Rodriguez's attempts to keep up and weather the storm, Vargas' relentless work over the first six rounds finally took effect, and a torrent of blows pounded Rogriguez into the ropes halfway through the round until the ref called it off while the brave Texan was still on his feet, but taking too much punishment to warrant letting him continue.
Despite his young age, Vargas' connection to Mexican champions has obviously given him experience and confidence beyond his years, and looks to be a future force at 122.
Also on the televised card, Mikel Williams, now 2-2-3, showed he was better than his record let on, and fought undefeated John Revish, now 2-0-1 to a spirited draw over four rounds at welterweight. Both fighters are from Lousiana.
Top trainer Buddy McGirt was the in-studio guest with regular host Brain Kenny, and stated that although he'd like star pupil Antonio Tarver to defend his light heavyweight titles, he'd be most happy if his charge got a large pay day against a heavyweight, such as Tyson. He did concede that a match up with the winner of the upcoming IBF title match of Joe Calzaghe vs Glen Johnson might be a possibility, and most interestingly said that he didn't think there would be a third match with Jones.
June 4, 2004-06-05