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Vargas Dominates Martinez, Wins Decision

Vegas kid was simply too good for tough opponent to handle


By: Mike Sloan ringside in Las Vegas: Local contender Jessie Vargas proved once again why he is fast becoming a hot commodity around town as the unbeaten welterweight dominated the tough Aron Martinez for ten rounds. Jessie utilized superior footwork and decisive handspeed to outwork and outpoint the Los Angelino and he never put himself in any real harm during the main event of a special ESPN Thursday Night Fights card inside the Joint, in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.


Vargas seized control of the bout early on with a stiff left jab and well-placed counters. He kept Martinez at bay throughout the contest, even when his gritty opponent tried to go toe-to-toe with him. Whenever the moment arose, Vargas willingly threw multi-punch combos and was a step ahead of Martinez at virtually every turn.


Martinez suffered a moderate laceration above his right eye in the fifth, but he never relented and tried his best to stop the Las Vegan in his tracks. It was of no use, though, because Vargas had his way with Martinez. He brawled when he needed to and boxed beautifully on the outside if the situation beckoned such a tactic.


However, the fight wasn’t a breeze.


Though he dominated Martinez, he had to work extremely hard to maintain his control and his unanimous decision win was well-deserved and hard-earned. He poured on his attacks in the later rounds and by the time the final bell rolled around, both men had absorbed their share of punishment. When it was over, Vargas’ face was lumpy and bruised, but Martinez’ was in far worse condition; his right eye was swollen almost completely shut and he was bleeding from his mouth.


The official scores heavily favored the local kid 99-91, 98-92 and 96-94, which allowed him to bolster his pro ledger to 20-0 with 9 KOs. For his efforts, Martinez fell to 18-2-1 with 4 KOs.


The super featherweight battle between Mexico’s Jose Felix, Jr. and Puerto Rico’s Luis Cruz was about as close as they come, with neither man ever truly seizing control of the bout. Though Felix was knocked onto the seat of his trunks in the fourth round, there wasn’t a time during the encounter where either man was in trouble or seriously hurt.


The bout started off with the two men swinging wildly and trading loopy left hooks, but as the fight wore on, the young contenders reserved their fuel and decided to try to outbox and counter each other. Though the fight wasn’t a stinker by any stretch of the imagination, the action only came in spurts. Felix and Cruz become a little too reliant on their counter left hooks so there were plenty of times where the two stalked each other, waiting for the door to open.


With mistakes and capitalizations coming at a premium, the fight was hanging in the balance until the very end; it certainly could have gone to either of the two. They both backed away and pressed the issue equally and aside from the knockdown that Cruz scored in the fourth, there never truly was any genuine advantage between them, though Cruz was far more aggressive in the tenth and final round.


In the end, the three judges saw it unanimously for Felix via tallies of 96-94 (twice) and 97-92, though the fight was much closer than the scores suggested. With the win, Felix improves to 21-0-1 with 17 KOs while Cruz, for his effort, drops to 19-2 with 15 KOs.

Former Mexican Olympic alternate Andy Ruiz, Jr. kept his unbeaten streak alive with a first round knockout of fellow heavyweight Maurenzo Smith. The fight was competitive while it lasted, but Smith made the mistake of dropping his guard during a clinch and he paid the price. Ruiz dug a left hook to the body and followed it with a perfect right cross to the temple. Once the fighters broke their clinch, Smith crumbled over onto his back. He tried to complain to referee Kenny Bayless that he was hit on the back of the head, but the veteran third man was having none of it and eventually counted him out. The official time of the knockout came at 2:11 of the opening frame, allowing Ruiz, from California by way of Mexicali, Mexico, to improve to 18-0 with 14 KOs. Smith, from Houston, Texas, dipped to 10-3-2 with 7 KOs.

Young lightweight prospect Terence Crawford manhandled Hardy Paredes in their encounter, dropping him four times en route to a fourth round knockout. Crawford used a far better and more advanced arsenal to land repeated crippling hooks to the body throughout the match and eventually the Chilean succumbed to the onslaught. Crawford felled Paredes once in the first, twice in the second, and once more in the fourth before referee Joe Cortez finally stopped the bout; Paredes was not going to beat the count on the last knockdown. The official time of the knockout was 40 seconds into the fourth, allowing Crawford, from Omaha, Nebraska, to improve to 18-0 with 14 KOs. Paredes fell to 15-11 with 9 KOs.

Local lightweight prospect Jesus Gutierrez was a step better than opponent Joaquin Chavez during their six round affair. He scored a flash knockdown with a few seconds left in the fight and his heavier workload paved the way toward a unanimous decision win. Gutierrez was awarded the win by margins of 58-55 (twice) and 59-54 to remain unbeaten; he now boasts a 6-0 record with 2 KOs and 1 NC. Chavez, from Commerce, California, fell to 1-3-2 with 1 KO.

Canadian welterweight prospect Mikael Zewski made quick work of veteran Xavier Toliver in the night’s final bout, forcing his opponent’s corner to throw in the towel after the first round. Zewski’s speed was incredible compared to Toliver’s and a sizzling straight right hand to the head/left hook to the body dropped the Atlanta, Georgia fighter late in the opening frame. Zewski swarmed Toliver but he was saved by the bell. However, Toliver’s corner decided they had seen enough of Zewski and ended the bout. The TKO allows Zewski to rise to 16-0 with 12 KOs while Toliver drops to 23-9 with 15 KOs.


You can also contact Mike Sloan at, or his new blog


September 13, 2012

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