José Valenzuela (12-0, 8 knockouts) made a startling statement about his punching power and his future in the lightweight division, landing a looping left hand that sent former champion Francisco Vargas crashing to the canvas, prompting the referee to immediately stop the scheduled 10-round lightweight bout at 1:25 of the first round in Saturday’s second pay-per-view bout.
A stablemate of unbeaten two-time world champion David Benavidez, Valenzuela, 22, stepped back to avoid the 37-year-old Vargas’ jab and launched forward and landed a windup left that ricocheted off Vargas’ chin. Vargas (27-4-2, 19 KOs), who won a 130-pound title in 2015, dropped his second straight while Valenzuela has now stopped seven of his last eight opponents.
“I worked hard for this and stayed calm, and I stayed patient and went for it when I saw the opening,” said Valenzuela, who referenced the support of Benavidez, standing in the ring next to him, for helping him. “Working alongside this guy right here, David Benavidez. He has shown me a lot of things in and out. I look to see what he does and what he goes through. He tells me to be patient and that’s what I did. I was expecting (Vargas) to get up but when I took a look back, I knew. It was a good knockout.”