Wednesday, June 8, 2016

June 3rd-June 4th 2016 Weekend Recap

The weekend of June 3rd saw two world championship fights take center stage in the sport of Boxing. The first of those bouts took place on June 3rd at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL as undefeated two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy made the first defense of his IBF Lightweight world championship against former IBF champion Mickey Bey.

The story of this fight was Barthelemy’s ability to box effectively behind a consistent jab and mix in combinations. The lone exception in what this observer believes was a near flawless performance by Barthelemy came in the second round when the former IBF Lightweight world champion Mickey Bey was credited for a knockdown by Referee Sam Burgos when the champion went to the canvas as a result of an accidental clash of heads.

What appeared to be a one-sided decision in favor of Barthelemy however, did have a slight element of controversy as one of three official judges scored the fight 117-110 or ten rounds the two in favor of Bey, while the two remaining judges gave the fight to the champion via split decision turning in scores of 116-111, and 117-110.

Although there really is not much to say about this fight, the curious scoring of one official judge should not damper what was an impressive performance by a fighter who’s star continues to rise. What will be interesting in this observer’s eyes coming out of this fight will be whether Barthelemy will continue in the 135lb. Lightweight division or if he will choose to move up in weight to the 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division.

If Barthelemy remains at Lightweight, the next logical opponent would seem to be undefeated knockout artist Richard Commey, who is currently rated number three in the world by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) in the Lightweight division and is the sanctioning organization’s next mandatory challenger. A bout between the two would seem to be one that would not only provide action, but also provide the champion with a test as the boxer/puncher Barthelemy would face a challenger who has knocked out twenty-two of his twenty-four opponents as a professional and who has a career knockout percentage of 92%.

Although Barthelemy, who has knocked out thirteen of his twenty-five opponents as a professional, has also demonstrated the ability to get a fighter out of there if given an opportunity, he would likely be cast in the role of the boxer in a fight against Commey should it take place. It would nevertheless be an interesting fight if it is signed in the near future.

The second world championship fight to take place last weekend took place on June 4th at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA as undefeated WBC Jr. Lightweight world champion Francisco Vargas made the first defense of his world title against former two-division world champion Orlando Salido.

For the thirty-one-year old Vargas, it was his first fight since winning the title in November of last year with a knockout of former champion Takashi Miura in a bout that was a grueling give and take battle. It was clear almost from the outset that Vargas would have to go through a similar battle in the form of the thirty-five-year old Orlando Salido, who has faced a “Who’s Who” in the sport in a twenty-year career that had spanned fifty-nine professional fights prior to this encounter.

For twelve rounds the grizzled veteran Salido and the unbeaten world champion Vargas engaged in an all out toe to toe “War.” There was simply not much to separate the two fighters throughout the entire fight as both were able to have periods of effectiveness. It was a battle of Vargas’ greater activity in throwing punches nearly constantly versus Salido’s tactical pressure attack and seeming to land the cleaner punches of the two when he did let his hands go.

Although I felt that this was a close fight all the way through, as the fight progressed Salido’s ability to land punches in combination to the body and head of the champion as well as applying consistent pressure throughout gave him the slightest of edges in the eyes of this observer. It is indisputable that the champion was the more active of the two fighters and it can be a difficult task in a close fight to determine which fighter has an edge when both fighters are able to be effective and are throwing significant amounts of punches.

Graphic Courtesy
A statistical breakdown as shown and provided by shows that Vargas had a significant edge over Salido in terms of overall activity throwing an incredible total of 1184 punches throughout the twelve round bout. Even though Vargas was the busier of the two fighters, he seemed to have difficulty landing consistently on Salido and that can be attributed to both Salido being solid defensively as well as Salido’s ability to apply consistent pressure on him.

Although he was out thrown by the champion, Salido was the more accurate of the two as he landed 328 of 939 total punches for a connect percentage of nearly 35% to Vargas’386 of 1184 total punches with a connect percentage of nearly 33%. It was no surprise at the end of twelve rounds to see varying scorecards both from the three official judges as well as from Boxing experts and fans alike.

This was not an easy fight to score due in large part to both fighters being willing to engage from the opening bell and not really giving each other much room to pull ahead of the other. At the end of the twelve round bout, I had Salido winning the fight seven rounds to five or 115-113 in points as I felt his pressure attack was enough to win rounds three through six and I felt he won rounds eleven and twelve to give him the slightest of victories on my unofficial scorecard.

It was one of those fights however, where you could not only see an argument for both fighters having won the bout, but you could honestly say that a draw was probably the fairest decision possible. As it turned out, a draw would be the exact result of this fight as two judges turned in identical scores of 114-114, while the third judge scored the fight 115-113 in favor of Vargas.

No matter how one saw this fight, this was a great fight that in my eyes is the front-runner for 2016 fight of the year. It is definitely worthy of a sequel.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

Vargas-Salido stats and graphic provided by Throwdown Used with permission.  For more information please visit: . You can score live fights by downloading the free Throwdown Scoring app on Google Play or on Apple ITunes.

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