Adrien Broner and Jessie Vargas spent 12 rounds trading punches. A few moments later, they exchanged angry words and opposite views of what transpired. (photos by Amanda Wescott, Janer Bigio, Ed Diller, Tom Casino)
The one thing the two fighters agreed upon? A rematch should be in the offing.
Judge Julie Lederman scored the fight 115-113 for Broner, and Eric Marlinski and Kevin Morgan had it 114-114.
According to the scorecards, Lederman and Marlinski had Broner winning 105-104 heading into the 12th round, while Morgan had Vargas ahead, 105-05. Lederman and Morgan scored the 12th for Broner, 10-9, while Marlinski had Vargas winning the round, 10-9.
After the ruling was announced, Broner (33-3-1) and Vargas (28-2-1) exchanged words in the ring in front of Showtime ringside reporter Jim Gray.
Following the first round in which the fighters appeared to be feeling each other out, Vargas was the aggressor in the early rounds and landed more punches (203-194) and threw more punches (839-507). Still neither fighter knocked the other down, although Broner slipped to the canvas late in the fifth round. Broner did open a cut over Vargas' left eye.
Starting in the sixth, Broner began pressuring Vargas, landing heavy blows.
So now, the question becomes where do Broner and Vargas go from here?
During Thursday's final press conference, both Broner and Stephen Espinoza, Showtime's president of sports and event programming, stressed the significance of the fight for the 28-year old from Cincinnati's future career trajectory.
Broner had switched trainers from Mike Stafford to Kevin Cunningham after the unanimous decision loss to Mikey Garcia on July 29, 2017. Prior to the switch, Broner had won three out of his last five fights, and seven of 10 overall. Along with loss to Garcia, Broner had dropped unanimous decision losses to Marcos Maidana on Dec. 14, 2013, for the then-vacant World Boxing Association's International Super Lightweight Title, and a welterweight fight to Shawn Porter on June 20, 2015.
Even though Vargas entered the fight having won three out of his last five, and eight of his last 10 bouts, Broner noted the Las Vegas native had lost to Tim Bradley Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
The Broner-Vargas bout headlined the 14-fight card, which drew 13,964.