StubHub Center, Carson, CA, June 27
By Peter Lim
This is a showdown between two almost identical, educated boxer-punchers who let their fists fly at a high volume but pack negligible one-punch knockout power. But with names like Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez and Ruslan Provodnikov on his resume, Bradley's experience trumps Varrgas' youth in this encounter.
Bradley also has the edge in physical conditioning. Vargas is by no means a slacker when it comes to doing his roadwork; it's just that Bradley is one of those a fitness fanatics who goes so above and beyond the call of duty in the gym that he can easily complete a triathlon immediately after a grueling 12-round fight.
Both fighters will have their moments in an exhilarating, ebb-and-flow affair that fluctuates between a fast-paced chess match and toe-to-toe slugfest, but Bradley is able to figure out Vargas more than vice-versa as the fight progresses. Getting the better of the exchanges in the late rounds, Bradley pulls ahead to win a close but clear-cut decision in the 115-113 to 116-112 range.
What a flawed ending to such an entertaining scrap. Pat Russel's horrific blunder robbed the fans of what could well have been the most suspenseful final 10 seconds of a fight since Chavez-Taylor 1.
Isn't it weird and wonderful that such a solidly-muscled guy like Bradley can't seem to crack an egg with his best right cross, while frail-looking fighters like Nonito Donaire and Andy Lee can decapitate a neanderthal with punches that barely travel six inches. That's boxing for you.