By Jake Donovan
Unbeaten junior welterweight prospect Jesse Vargas picked up his most notable win to date, forcing former titlist Vivian Harris to quit on his stool after just one round of action on Friday night at Buffalo Bill’s Star Arena in Primm, Nevada.
Vargas weighed in at 143 lb, while Harris tipped the scales at 145 lb.
Few expected the bout to be very competitive, but Vargas simply never gave Harris a chance to ever prove otherwise. The 21-year old came flying off of his stool, unloading on the badly faded veteran from the opening bell. Harris threw up the earmuffs early on in hopes of riding out the storm, but never provided any type of offensive attack that could slow down the incoming.
Vargas scored with a right hand midway through the round that had Harris badly wobbled and clinging on for dear life while the two fought along the ropes.
The true knockout would never come, but it hardly discouraged Vargas from going for it, continuing with head shots against his wounded prey. An opening presented itself towards rounds end, but Harris ducked just in time to slip the punch before literally running back to his corner.
Referee Joe Cortez expressed concern for Harris’ health, asking a series of questions before being told by the fighter himself that there would not be a need for a second round.
The official time was 3:00 of the first round.
Vargas improves to 15-0 (8KO), scoring his second win of 2011 after having his hand raised in victory half-a-dozen times the year prior.
The win is his biggest to date, but hardly his most impressive showing given its anti-climactic ending. That Vargas is not regarded as a knockout puncher is just the latest in a lengthy list of reasons as to why Harris seriously needs to call it a career.
Once a dangerous junior welterweight titlist, the Guyana-born, Brooklyn-bred prizefighter drops his third straight as he falls to 29-6-1 (19KO). The fight was his first since his humiliating knockout loss to Victor Ortiz last September, and will be his last if his handlers have any regard at all for his health.
Harris is now 1-3 with one no-contest over his last five fights. The lone win came in dramatic fashion, as he was nearly blitzed in the opening round by journeyman Octavio Narvaez before rallying back to score a controversial stoppage early in the sixth round.
Every fight since then has proven disastrous.
After having signed with Golden Boy Promotions in 2009, Harris’ first fight under their banner resulted in a two-round no-contest against Noe Bolanos in a nationally televised bout that saw him get carried out on a stretcher after an accidental clash of heads left him dazed and confused.
A controversial stoppage loss to Lucas Matthysse 14 months ago gained enough notoriety in the media to support the belief that he deserved one last chance at restoring past glory.
Then came the “all-Vicious” showdown against Victor Ortiz last September, in which he was decked four times before being stopped early in the third round in a fight that had many calling for his immediate retirement.
It didn’t take, which resulted in his being served up as cannon fodder, playing the B-side of a Solo Boxeo bout designed to showcase Jesse Vargas as a future player in the forever-richly talented junior welterweight division.
In other action, middleweight prospect Bastie Samir took a step backwards in his young career as he was held to a split decision draw against Lester Gonzalez.
Scores were 58-56 Gonzalez, 58-56 Samir and 57-57.
Gonzalez nearly had Samir out on his feet in the third round, and buzzed again in the fourth, but couldn’t find a way to close the show. To his credit, Samir – a member of the 2008 Ghana Olympic boxing team – recovered well and went full throttle down the stretch, determined to make Gonzalez his 11th knockout victim in as many pro fights.
That moment never came, as he was forced to go the distance for the first time in his career.
Once the cards were read, it was also the first time his arm wasn’t raised in victory as a pro, as his record moves to 10-0-1 (10KO). Gonzalez slides to 11-3-2 (6KO), having entered the fight in the midst of a three-fight losing streak.
Opening the televised portion of the Telefutura-aired card was 18-year old Nuyorican newcomer Eddie Gomez, who like Samir was taken the distance for the first time as a pro. Unlike Samir, Gomez managed to continue his winning ways, taking a six-round unanimous decision over Roberto Lopez to advance to 4-0 (3KO).
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected].