By Marc Livitz: As it turns out, the bout considered by many to be the most entertaining of the bunch took place with just over a month to spare in the calendar year. Boxing doesn’t subscribe to the notion that the most anticipated or hyperbole filled contest will do its billing proper justice. The sweet science walks according to its own clock, just as some of those in attendance who occupy the venue’s most coveted seats choose not to pay much attention to the undercard of a primetime fight.
In regard to the WBC super featherweight championship contest which took place at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas on November 21, whether by viewing it live, on television or even internet stream, was easily a case when the evening’s main event easily paled by comparison.
SecondsOut’s team of writers have resoundingly voted Francisco Vargas’s ninth round TKO victory over Takashi Miura as the fight of the year for 2015. Luckily, the contest was part of the pay TV undercard of Miguel Cotto’s unanimous decision loss to Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, which meant oceans of eyes hopefully saw the violent clash unfold live. Knockdowns were traded. From a fan’s perspective, it had close to everything and the main event was by no means needed to save the night from a letdown.
Early on, the newly crowned super featherweight champion (Vargas, 23-0-1, 17 KO’s) looked as if his nineteen fight win streak would easily go to twenty, then a few minutes later, it appeared to be in jeopardy. Southpaw Miura (29-3-2, 22 KO’s) was looking to time his perfect shot from the opening bell. The Tokyo, Japan native wasn’t hoping to set up a meaningful shot with his jab. He was looking for the fences, but he took a flush sweeping right to the face from his Mexico City opponent and looked to have touched one glove to the canvas. Referee Tony Weeks didn’t signal a knockdown, however.
With thirty seconds to go in the fourth round, a superb one-two from Miura sent Vargas down and into a corner with a straight left to the face. Francisco beat the count as the bell sounded shortly thereafter. We had a fight on our hands for sure. Vargas was dealing with a cut under his right eye.
"El Bandito" Vargas used his jab in the eighth and looked to hit and move. His eye looked to be slowly closing. Miura was soon backing him up with hard lefts. Francisco felt the sting of another thudding left from Takashi and took a number of unanswered shots in the corner just seconds before the bell sounded. His eye was now affected by cuts both above as well as below it.
Round nine began and how the tides quickly turned for the man from Mexico City. A perfectly timed left uppercut set up a straight right that bucked Miura’s legs and sent him dazed and bewildered to the canvas. Takashi worked hard to find his equilibrium and beat the count. He was more than out on his feet but he kept fighting. Vargas was laying the wood to him but he remained vertical by tying and clinching. The round was about to reach its midway point when referee Tony Weeks thought of the health and safety of Miura and stepped in to stop the bout.
The exciting, enthralling contest which saw Francisco "El Bandito" Vargas get the last bit of punches in to best Takashi Miura and score and ninth round TKO win is the Fight of the Year as decided by the staff at SecondsOut. Vargas won the WBC super featherweight title as well.
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December 24, 2015