Magsayo vs. Vargas Results: Vargas Earns Split Decision Victory Over Magsayo



Magsayo vs. Vargas Results: Vargas Earns Split Decision Victory Over Magsayo
Photo credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions

Mark Magsayo made the first defense of his newly won WBC featherweight strap. It was his last as Rey Vargas avoided a late knockdown scare to win by a split decision to become the new champ at 126 pounds Saturday night in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The final scorecards were 114-113 Magsayo (24-1, 16 KOs) but were overruled by 115-112 x 2 for Vargas (36-0, 22 KOs), who becomes a two-division weight champion after a seventeen-month layoff.

Vargas and Magsayo decided, in the beginning, to get you in their respective kitchens and start cooking. Cooking they did as Vargas, not known for his power punching, was forced to counter the attack of Magsayo, who was aiming for the body early. Real good action between these two, with Vargas looking to get the better of the exchanges as the fight went on.

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This was the case in the third round as Vargas was starting to find his range and time Magsayo coming in. Before that, however, Magsayo started off fast and quick, looking to land and get back out of the scope of the longer Vargas. By the end of the fourth round, Vargas was fighting at his usual pace, slowing the fight down and keeping Magsayo at the end of his jab. Vargas was knocked down by a straight right that landed clean on the neck that sent him down but was ruled a slip, and the fifth pressed on as if nothing happened.

The sixth round was when the crowd got back into it from the Alamodome, and Vargas's body attack's effects were showing on Magsayo. As the second half of the fight came, it was clear that Vargas was slowly handing the cleaner shots while Magsayo was switching up his shot selection, looking to go upstairs. Also, at this point, Vargas went back to boxing and making sure Magsayo couldn't get into a rhythm and in the distance like he was earlier in the fight.

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Magsayo landed a right hook on Vargas that caught his attention in the eighth round, but it felt like Magsayo's title reign was slipping away as he was having a hard time trying to disrupt Vargas. That was until the ninth round when he sent Vargas down with a straight right hand. Similar to the one he landed on his neck back in the fifth round. This time the knockdown counted. Vargas did beat the ten count, and the fight pressed on.

In the tenth round, Vargas looked out of sync and off-balance for most of it. A couple of push off and ruled slips further exacerbated this. Despite the shaky legs on Vargas, Magsayo didn't force the issue, and we headed to the championship rounds. The eleventh round was back to Vargas staying on the outside to avoid anything Magsayo was looking to land.

The final round was fun as Magsayo was seemingly going for broke as he felt the pressure to close the night out in style. However, the final bell rang with no knockdowns and only the body language of Magsayo, which screamed doubt from anyone who saw it.

After the fight, Vargas mentioned facing a familiar face in the ring, Leo Santa Cruz, who still has the WBA little at 126. I don't know if that is coming up, but Brandon Figueroa, who won a title eliminator the fight before, may be next up.

Brandon Figueroa Victorious in Featherweight Debut

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Former unified champion Brandon Figueroa (23-1-1, 18 KOs) made his debut at featherweight and made an example out of Carlos Castro (27-2, 12 KOs), stopping him after barrages in six rounds. 2:11 in the sixth round is the official time this WBC title eliminator ended.

This co-main event was interesting as both Figueroa and Castro were volume punchers, and once the bell rang, it didn't stop. After a spirited first round, the second was when Castro was having some success attacking the body of Figueroa, while Figueroa was looking to switch stances and land the right hook when in close.

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Castro was sent down in the third by Figueroa and spent the rest of the third round in survival mode. Once Castro sprung up at referee Mark Nelson's ten count, Castro was on shaky ground and was on the verge of being stopped as Figueroa pounced on Castro, who had little return fire coming back while stuck on the ropes, which may have been the longest round of his life. The same problem happened in the fourth as Castro was again on the ropes and still had to eat shots from Figueroa.

Despite the knockdown, Castro was still game and looking to match Figueroa in volume punching. He was landing cleaner punches while using his footwork to avoid hanging out on the ropes in the fifth round. A counter right from Castro landed on Figueroa is where the fireworks started in the sixth round. Figueroa was beginning to throw the jab more as Castro was working on the inside. That turned as Figueroa started throwing hard rights that forced the referee to stop the fight.

After the battle, the referee explained that Castro wasn't responding to punches, and Castro's corner wasn't complaining that it was over. After the barrage he saw from Figueroa, he can't fault them. Cards at the stoppage were all over the place, as expected in the close fight. The judge's scores ranged from 48-46 for Castro, while the other two had it for Figueroa, 49-45 and 48-46, respectively.

“I know Carlos Castro is a crafty fighter. I had to be patient. I knew how to put the pressure on him; after the barrage of punches, I got tired had to step back a little bit. I knew that he was hurt, and I had him on the ropes, and I had to put more pressure on him,” Figueroa said after the fight. “I hurt him. I was waiting for that shot to the body. Once I caught him clean, I knew he was hurt. I put my punches together again.

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With this win, we will place Figueroa up against the winner down the line of the WBC champion at 126 lbs. Mark Magsayo/Rey Vargas. Figueroa stated he'll get ready for whoever.

“I'm pretty proud of myself. I know there's a lot of work ahead of me, especially if I fight the winner of the main event. I have to study my fight and get back to the gym,” Figueroa said.

Frank Martin Punishes Marinez in the Opener

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To open up the card, lightweight prospect Frank Martin (16-0, 12 KOs) got good rounds against a game Jackson Marinez (19-3, 7 KOs), winning the contest by tenth round stoppage. Marinez took the fight on nine days' notice but was better prepared as he was already slated to be in action on this card anyway and was in camp from a 17-month layoff. It made for a real interesting opener from the Alamodome in San Antonio. The official time of the stoppage was 30 seconds of the tenth and final round.

For the opening stanza, Marinez came into this fight and had shown him standing in the pocket waiting to see what Martin would present him in a classic feeling-out round. The crowd started voicing their displeasure in the second round, but the action picked up as Martin was peppering Marinez through the round with shots set up by the jab.

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That jab would be the key for Martin as the fight grew. That advice was echoed in his corner by trainer Derrick James after the second round. When the third round came around, Marinez was still looking for a way to find an opening to attack Martin, but Martin's footwork and positioning made that easier said than done. The combinations were coming more often from Martin at this point as the jab was now setting up shots downstairs and hooks. Marinez's success in the fight in the first half was when he caught Martin coming in. That was the case in the fifth and sixth rounds as Marinez began increasing his punch output and finding a home with his counter right hand.

The toe to toe action picked up in the seventh round as both traded shots and exchanges. It was quickly the most spirited round at this point of the fight as both fighters found their strives with shot selection. The most significant observation watching Martin would move his feet faster than his head, which helped Marinez in letting his hands go when Martin was not. That was the story at least told for most of the eighth round as Marinez was able to start baning away with his right on Martin.

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Marinez went down for the third time in his career in the closing seconds of the ninth round. If you thought it was close or Martin was winning, this capped it at this point in the fight. Marinez went down from right hook from Martin. Marinez beat referee Rafael Ramos ten count but was definitely on shaky ground as the bell sounded. Once the final round started, Marinez, still hurt from the knockdown, was immediately sent down again by a combination to begin the final round. It did not see the end as this fight was over once Marinez was sent down another right hook. The judges at the time of the stoppage had it 88-82 x 2 and 87-83, all in favor of Martin.

“We had to really stay on the outside of the hook. I was doubling the two and trying to come inside with the hook,” Martin said after the fight. “I was on him once I had him hurt, I was hungry, he was in deep waters, so I had to get him out of there.”

And got him out; Martin did just that. When asked what's next for him in the ring, Martin said let me think about it.

“I'm right there with those [top guys at lightweight]. Sit me at the table with them whenever I'm ready. I'm going to sit down with my team and hopefully get something big. At the end of the day, we've won them all.”