On The Beak – Admin
Welterweight Jessie Vargas and junior middleweight DeAndre Latimore were victorious, as expected, in the co-featured fights Friday on ShoBox: The New Generation but it wasn’t easy for either of them. In the main event, the undefeated Vargas, of Las Vegas, improved to 18-0-0, 9ko with a hard-fought albeit lopsided ten-round decision over Lanardo Tyner (25-7-2, 15ko) of Detroit. Vargas won by the scores of 99-91 (x3) in a fight he was made to work in.
Latimore (23-3, 17ko), of Las Vegas by way of St. Louis, had it much tougher. Making his first start in more than ten months, he took a ten-round majority decision over Milton Nunez (23-4-1, 21ko) of Barranquilla, Colombia. However, he had to overcome two knockdowns – one questionable — to do it. Latimore got the nod in a much closer scrap than anticipated by the tallies of 96-92, 95-94 and 94-94.
There were no knockdowns in Vargas-Tyner, but each went down twice from low blows. Tyner hit the canvas in the first and fourth, Vargas in the fourth and eighth. It was the second consecutive hard fight for Vargas. Last September, he came away with a split ten-round decision over Jose Lopez. There was some question whether Vargas deserved the victory against Lopez, but this time he left no doubt.
A vicious left hooker to the body, Vargas, 22, showed excellent poise and maturity against Tyner, who tried repeatedly to get into his head and take him out of his game plan: “I don’t think this was my toughest or hardest fight, but it was a good fight,” said Vargas, who was sporting a cut on the upper left side of his head afterward. “This was just another learning experience. I need these kinds of fights against these kinds of fighters to stay in position to move forward.
“I probably could have moved and boxed more, but he took my out of my game plan a few times. There were times when all I wanted to do was connect with the big shot.” He continued: “That low blow he got me with in the fourth round was definitely the hardest low blow I’ve ever been hit with. I’ve never been nailed with anything like that before.”
Latimore seemed to be cruising through eight rounds. He’d boxed well and dictated the pace. At times, it seemed that Nunez might be ready to go but Latimore was content to exercise patience and box. With less than 25 seconds remaining in the ninth round, Nunez scored the first of his knockdowns with a short overhand right hand. He followed with a barrage of nearly 20 punches, the majority of which landed, but Latimore survived and made it to the bell.
Knowing he still was well ahead on points, Latimore came out on his bicycle in the 10th. But he got caught again.
“It was my first start in nearly a year and I’m just happy to get the win,” said Latimore, who was making his first start for new trainer Jeff Mayweather. “Honestly I didn’t care if I won by ten points or one, I just wanted the win. I had to pace myself at times but I did what I had to do and what Jeff wanted me to do. The second knockdown wasn’t a knockdown,” he said. “I went down from headbutts.
“It is what it is, though, and I look forward to getting back to work in the gym and fighting on a regular basis.”
The hard-hitting Nunez felt the fight should have been stopped in the ninth.
“I knocked him down and was hitting him with a barrage of right and left hands and the referee [Joe Cortez] moved in and stepped between us. I thought he was going to stop it. You don’t do what the ref did and not stop the fight.
“Still, I thought I’d done enough to win.”