By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – In the second fight Saturday night, Josue Vargas defeated John Renteria in the fifth round of another lightweight fight scheduled for eight rounds.
The Bronx’s Vargas (12-1, 8 KOs) knocked down Renteria once apiece in the second, fourth and fifth rounds. Referee Eddie Claudio waved an end to the fight at 31 seconds of the fifth round once Vargas floored Panama’s Renteria (16-6-1, 12 KOs) with a right uppercut.
Vargas knocked down Renteria with right hooks in the second and fourth rounds.
Following Vargas’ victory, Italian heavyweight prospect Guido Vianello knocked down Luke Lyons once apiece in the first and second rounds, and beat him by second-round knockout.
The 6-feet-6, 236-pound Vianello, a 2016 Olympian, made his pro debut.
Vianello’s chopping right hand to the top of Lyons’ head dropped him just before the first round ended. Lyons got up and the bell sounded before Vianello could throw another punch.
A vicious Vianello wasted no time finishing off Lyons in the second round. Two more thudding right hands to the side of Lyons’ head sent him to his gloves and knees 17 seconds into the second round.
Lyons barely beat the count, but referee Charlie Fitch determined Lyons shouldn’t continue at 29 seconds of the second round. Lyons (5-2-1, 2 KOs), of Ashland, Kentucky, lost by knockout for the second time in three fights.
The Theater at Madison Square Garden was only about a third full when Mikey Perez and Abdiel Ramirez fought early Saturday night.
Those that arrived early for the card headlined by Vasiliy Lomachenko and Jose Pedraza were treated to eight rounds of sustained brutality by those two courageous, defensively flawed lightweights. Ramirez overcame a fourth-round knockdown to drop and stop Perez in the eighth round.
Mexico’s Ramirez (24-3-1, 22 KOs), who floored Perez with a jab in the first round, ended the bout by landing back-to-back right uppercuts that sent Perez to the seat of his trunks. Referee Shada Murdaugh stopped their bout immediately because Perez had absorbed a lot of punishment during their grueling, back-and-forth fight before Ramirez crushed Perez with that rare combination.
The time of the stoppage was 54 seconds of the eighth round. Perez, who made his debut for Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., was ahead on all three scorecards entering the eighth and final round (68-64, 68-64, 66-65).
The 28-year-old Perez (25-3-2, 11 KOs), of Newark, New Jersey, lost by technical knockout for the third time in his 10-year pro career. Petr Petrov and Omar Figueroa Jr. previously stopped Perez.
Before Ramirez finished off Perez early in the eighth round, Perez and Ramirez spent the entire fifth, sixth and seventh rounds trading one flush power shot after another. Neither fighter even attempted to defend himself during that thoroughly entertaining nine-minute stretch, but neither could score another knockdown, either.
Ramirez hurt Perez with a left hook and then a right hand early in the fourth round. It seemed by then that Perez might not make it out of the fourth.
He came back, though, to crack Ramirez with a right uppercut that dropped him to the seat of his trunks with 37 seconds to go in the fourth.
Perez started the fight strong by landing two hard right hands within its first 90 seconds. Later in the first, Ramirez dropped Perez with a hard jab.
Perez beat the count, fought back and went back and forth with Ramirez during a competitive second round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.