By Rick Reeno
MGM Grand, Las Vegas - Super welterweight Jessie Vargas (17-0, 9KOs) won a close ten round split decision over Josesito Lopez (29-4, 17KOs). The scores were 95-94 for Lopez, 96-93 Vargas and 95-94 for Vargas. BoxingScene.com scored it 95-94 for Lopez.
They came out fast and furious, with Lopez doing most of the damage in the first ninety seconds, and then Vargas coming back with accurate counters to take control in the second half of the round. Lopez came out banging at close range in the second round. Vargas rallied in the final minute with combinations to the body, and they traded power shots to close the round. In the third, Vargas was moving, picking his punches and using a good stiff left jab. Lopez came back in the final minute with a series of hard punches to shake Vargas up. He was breaking Vargas down with a good selection of hard punches to steal a round he appeared to be losing in the first two minutes.
Sensing blood, Lopez went back on the attack at the start of the fourth. Lopez dominated most of the action, with Vargas staying away and trying to counter off the jab. There was better work from Vargas in the fifth, but Lopez still controlled the action and landed the harder, cripser punches. Vargas was sticking and moving in the sixth, doing good work, but also getting punished every time he stopped moving.
Lopez was landing damaging punches in the seventh round to the head and body. By the end of the round, Vargas' nose was starting to bleed a lot and may have been busted from an earlier uppercut. At the start of the eight, Vargas was penalized a point after landing a very hard low blow. Vargas found a burst of energy and started throwing a series of fast flurries but every time he stopped moving he would continue to take punishment. In the ninth, Vargas was sticking, moving and landing fast punches to keep Lopez from landing anything significant.
Vargas was landing a lot of quick flurries to open up the tenth and final round. A hooking shot appeared to stun Lopez for a moment. Vargas stayed on the backfoot and started landing quick punches off the jab. They were trading hard shots in the final minute, with Lopez winning the war of wills and sending Vargas on the move. Lopez may have stolen the round with his late rally.