In a wild Texas showdown at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, TX, next door to the worldwide headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys, Jessie Vargas and Mikey Garcia went toe to toe in front of a packed house of 10,000 +. Garcia came back from a slow start to win a hotly contested unanimous decision in an entertaining, high action battle and come away with the WBC Diamond Welterweight title.
Garcia (40-1, 30 KOs) fought for the 2nd time at welterweight, losing a one-sided affair to one of boxing’s pound for pound best in Errol Spence Jr. last March at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. While Vargas (29-3-2, 11 KOs) has spent a career mostly at 147 and was the bigger man entering the ring.
Vargas came out sharp from the opening bell with a strong jab and good work to the head and body of Garcia and it continued into 2nd picking up where he left off. Vargas took the knowledge he learned from his trainer Mike McCallum aka The Bodysnatcher known as a vicious body puncher during his hall of fame career, to work the body, and early on it paid off.
Garcia, however, finally got warmed up in the 3rd round as he exchanged big shots with Vargas and in the 4th, it turned into a firefight as Vargas had Garcia first in trouble in the corner, but Garcia quickly reversed course and started to land solid shots of his own.
The 5th round was all Garcia with Vargas’ face bloodied after several combinations followed by an overhand right that put Vargas on the canvas and looked like he may be finished. But Vargas showed the heart of a champion and got to his feet as the bell rang. From the 6th-8th round, Garcia was using Vargas as target practice. Garcia punctuated the end of round seven with a bang as he tried to finish off Vargas while referee Jon Schorle looked on closely for a possible stoppage.
Garcia seemed to take his foot off the gas during the 8th and 9th round and appeared to be looking for a big right hand to end the fight. With Garcia picking his spots, Vargas got a second wind and started working his jab and throwing the right hand again. In the 10th round, Vargas had his best round since early in the fight and was busier than Garcia. Garcia was back in control in the 11th and the 12th was back and forth action before Vargas landed a crushing right hand followed by the left just before the final bell.
The judges scored it 114-113, 116-111, 116-111 as Garcia earned the WBC Diamond Belt.