By Jake Donovan
July is best known for fireworks, and plenty are being provided in the ring within its first two weekends.
Less than a week after cruiserweight contender Ola Afolabi delivered what many believed to be the leading candidate for Knockout of the Year, rising prospect Jessie Vargas offered his entry.
A clean up left hook put veteran Walter Estrada down and out early in the second round of their Telefutura-televised main event Friday evening at Buffalo Bill’s Star Arena in Primm, Nevada.
The knockout was as devastating as it was sudden, as there was nothing in the opening round to suggest such an early night of action.
Vargas has shown the ability to end things at his choosing, as was the case in his last fight when he forced former champion Vivian Harris to quit after just one round of action.
Estrada proved to be a little more durable, putting up a fight in the opening round but still being thoroughly outboxed by the 22-year old Vegas-based prospect.
Then came round two.
Vargas turned up the heat, suddenly fighting like a man who was double-parked. A right hand behind the head caused Estrada to stagger off balance, but able to steady himself upright.
That was the good news. The bad news – he never had a chance to pick up his guard, which left him as a sitting duck for the incoming.
Vargas adjusted his footing, set himself and launched a clean-up left hook that jerked back Estrada’s head before putting him flat on his back as he sailed underneath the bottom rope.
Hall of Fame referee Joe Cortez summoned Vargas to a neutral corner, but never bothered to issue a count as he recognized that Estrada wasn’t getting up any time soon. The third man straddled over the fallen fighter as he waved off the contest.
The official time was 0:38 of the second round.
Vargas continues to cruise as he has found a new home away from home. He improves to 16-0 (9KO), having now fought just over six minutes of action in his last two bouts, both taking place in Primm, Nevada, where he has emerged as a crowd favorite.
The Cinderella run for Estrada appears to have come to a crashing halt. The Colombian veteran loses for the second time in his last three contests as he falls to 39-15-1 (25KO).
Estrada was on quite a run in the past 14 months, beginning with a draw versus then-unbeaten lightweight prospect Logan McGunness. From there came three straight upset wins, including a shocking eight-round split decision over former lightweight king Nate Campbell.
The knockout loss has brought him crashing back down to Earth, while Vargas’ stock continues to skyrocket.
In addition to rapidly emerging as a future threat in the always deep junior welterweight division, Vargas has provided good reason to be talked about in late December when fans are discussing the very best knockouts of the year.
In other televised action, junior middleweight newcomer Alfonso Blanco took a significant leap forward in his career with a six-round decision over Cleveland Ishe in a battle of unbeaten prospects. Scores were 60-54 (twice) and 59-55 in their televised co-feature.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected].