By: Sean Crose
The 24-0 WBC featherweight titlist Mark Magsayo faced a fellow undefeated fighter, the 35-0 Rey Vargas, in a scheduled 12 round main event at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas Saturday night. The bout was broadcast live by Showtime. Right off the bat, the two men traded heavy leather in the first, throwing fast and hard at one another. Vargas went for the body in the second. Yet Magsayo appeared to be a bit stronger. Magsayo seemed to be dominating the fight’s tempo in the first half of the third. Vargas, however, did much better at holding his man at bay in the second half.
Magsayo had a bit of a challenge reaching his man in the fourth. Vargas had a strong fifth for the most part, landing when he could and holding when Magsayo got in on him. Magsayo, however, was able to land and land well in spots. The sixth saw Magsayo cracking Vargas in the head hard on several occasions. Vargas, to his credit, took the shots well. By the midpoint of the fight, Magsayo seemed to be able to land effectively fairly often. Vargas was able to land too, but he was taking a lot of clean shots to the head. The question became whether or not Vargas, who was throwing more, would get the credit for being the more active of the two.
Vargas put his jab to terrific work in the eighth. Magsayo landed some good shots to the head, but they appeared to have little to no impact. It was becoming clear that Vargas’ height advantage might be the story of the fight. Vargas went down in the ninth. He beat the count, but Magsayo’s power was now being felt by the challenger. The tenth was close, but Magsayo landed the more telling punches. Vargas kept Magsayo from making anything happen in the eleventh.
The twelfth and final round saw Vargas firing from range while being stalked by Magsayo. It was a fast paced, high energy fight. In the end, however, the judges gave Vargas a split decision victory – as well as the WBC featherweight title.