Jermall Charlo claims WBC's interim 160-pound title with KO of Hugo Centeno Jr., and Gervonta Davis becomes a two-time champion with TKO victory over Jesus Cuellar.
After 12 rounds of an intensely fought war, there were no losers between Adrien Broner and Jessie Vargas — and not just because the fight ended in a majority draw.
The two welterweights slugged it out, with both fighters having their moments on the Showtime-televised card from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Vargas (28-2-1, 10 KOs) got off to a good start in the first couple of rounds, using a higher activity rate and accurate overhand rights to his advantage. He also focused on the body in the early goings.
Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) settled in as the middle rounds picked up, landing some brisk uppercuts on the inside as Vargas fired off shots. When Vargas began getting reckless, Broner's superior handspeed was the difference as he landed concise and crisp power shots in between Vargas’ attack.
In the championship rounds the two ended each round trading a heavy onslaught of power shots. Broner busted Vargas open above the left eye in the 11th round though the blood didn't bother Vargas much.
The scores were 115-113 for Broner, overruled by two 114-114 scores. It was a fair result as neither dominated the action and it's a fight that could be great a second time.
“I thought I won the fight. At the end of the day I can’t argue because I was fighting on the inside of the ring so I don’t know what you saw from the outside. I was landing clean blows,” Vargas said.
Broner nearly spoiled the good will he earned in the ring after a nonsense postfight interview, which is what the world has come to expect from the Cincinnati native. The main takeaway however was both fighters’ willingness to do it again.
“I was connecting with right hands. I got warmed up in the early portion of the fight before taking over,” said Broner, who worked with trainer Kevin Cunningham for the first time after switching from longtime trainer Mike Stafford.
“I would love to fight Vargas again but let’s go to my town to do it,” Broner said.
Neither fighter loses anything following the even verdict and both proved they’re still enticing names in the loaded welterweight division. Either boxer could find themselves in a title fight before the year is over.
Charlo claims interim 160-pound title with KO of Centeno
The jury is no longer out on whether Jermall Charlo’s power would carry to 160 pounds.
Charlo blasted out Hugo Centeno Jr. in two rounds in tonight’s co-feature. It was Charlo’s second bout at the middleweight limit and he looked sensational as he took Centeno out with a scintillating combination that ended in a big right hand. The time of the stoppage was 55 seconds into the second round.
Charlo moved to 27-0 with 21 knockouts and gained the interim WBC middleweight title with the victory. The full WBC title is held by Gennady Golovkin, who fights Vanes Martirosyan on May 5. Charlo proved unafraid to face GGG in his postfight interview.
“Two-time world champion! Bring on GGG, I don’t wanna talk about it!” Charlo said after the bout. “I’m ready! I’m ready, man!”
Gervonta stops Cuellar to win WBA 130-pound belt
It’s been no secret that Gervonta Davis has faced his struggles in recent years but he proved Saturday that when he's on, he’s going to be tough to beat.
Davis kept his unbeaten record intact with a third-round TKO of Jesus Cuellar. A straight left to the body put Cuellar down and two more knockdowns in the third prompted referee Benjy Esteves Jr. to wave off the fight. The time of the stoppage was 2:45.
“There’s always bumps in the road when you want to become successful. It's all about how you bounce back and tonight I showed that I’m a true champion,” Davis said.
Davis (20-0, 19 KOs)—who became a WBA super featherweight titlist with the win—utilized a combination of body shots, uppercuts and effective counterpunching to break down Cuellar, a former titlist at 126-pounds, who took Abner Mares to the limit in his last fight.
Baltimore’s Davis floored Cuellar with a body blow in the second round and didn't relent from there. The southpaw pressed forward in the third, stalking Cuellar against the ropes and sending him down for the second time with a series of combinations. Cuellar (28-3, 21 KOs) got up, but was in serious trouble and referee Benjy Esteves stepped in to halt the contest at 2:45 with the Argentine falling to the canvas for the third time.
“The game plan was to box a little bit and open him up with some shots,” Davis said. “When it was time, I went forward and caught him with enough shots to get him out.
“I want the IBF belt back and I’m ready to unify it with whoever wins the [Tevin] Farmer vs. [Billy] Dib fight.”
Davis previously lost a 130-pound title on the scales after failing to make weight. His promoter Floyd Mayweather is interested in matching him up with Vasyl Lomachenko, a pound-for-pound great.
For a complete look at the Showtime-tripleheader, check out our fight page.