In HBO's opener, Jessie Vargas took on Wale Omotoso, from the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. on Saturday night. It was tightly matched scrap between the two prospects. Wale had the power edge while Vargas boxed smartly and set the tone and pace in many rounds. We went to the cards, and they saw it 96-92, 96-92, 97-92, for Vargas.
Vargas went 165-486 to 103-429 for the loser, according to CompuBox.
Omotoso will likely look back and wonder why he wasn't busier, why he didn't show more desire more often.
Jim Lampley described Vargas as a "pure boxer" and Omotoso as a "pure fighter" before the Top Rank fight started.
The Las Vegas resident Vargas (21-0 entering; age 23; 146 1/2 pounds) was 154 fight night and the Nigerian-born Omotoso (23-0 entering; age 27; 146 3/4) was 164.
Vargas came out looking to make a power punching statement in the first. But Wale's strength and power came to the fore in two and three. Wale scored a kncokdown in round two, giving him an extra point.
Vargas started moving more, being the boxer, and had better luck in the fourth.
Wale got caught coming in, in round five, and he was buzzed. A right thrown as Wale was readying his own right did it. Vargas pressed, as Wale's legs were jellied. He kept pressing forward, getting clipped and the ref stared hard but he made it to the sixth. Vargas went to the smart jabbing in the sixth, and Wale was slowed down. Vargas was up 112-66 in punches landed to this point.
In the seventh, Vargas set the tone with his jab and move style. Trainer Eric Brown told Wale to dictate the pace. "Cut the ring off," he told him after the round.
In round eight, Vargas got bold and waved Wale in, to trade. Not smart. Then he got back to boxing smart, jabbing and moving. A left look landed for Wale late, but likely not enough to win the round.
In the ninth, Wale wanted to land a power right, sensing maybe he might be down on the cards. Vargas stayed smart, kept focused and tucked his chin. In the tenth, Wale landed two uppers, and Vargas scored a solid hook...it was another close round. We went to the cards.
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