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Boxing: Vargas looks strong in chilly outdoor fight

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posted on Dec, 13 2003 @ 01:32 PM
Associated Press - December 13, 2003

TUCSON, Arizona (AP) - Former junior middleweight champion Fernando Vargas continued his comeback Friday night, stopping Tony Marshall in seven rounds.

Fighting before 4,900 in an open-air amphitheater next to a Yaqui Indian casino, Vargas seemed unaffected by the hot air on his bad back, carrying the fight to Marshall from the start.

``I was content with it,'' said Vargas, in action for the second time in 15 months. ``I think that they stopped it a little too early. I think if they should have stopped it, they should have stopped it when I had him hurt, and not in his corner.''

Vargas (24-2, 22 KOs) cut Marshall over the right eye with a punch late in the fight and hit the boxer from Albany, New York, so many times in the sixth that he was winded at the end. In the seventh, Vargas drove Marshall around the ring, scoring with straight rights and hooks.

Referee Bobby Ferrara consulted with ring doctor Ted Crawford after the seventh round and stepped in when Marshall (36-12-6) tried to answer the bell for the eighth.

``I was going to stop it after the sixth round, but (Marshall's corner) asked me for one more round,'' Ferrara said. ``It wasn't the cut on his head; it was more the head punches that he took. His head was snapping back. You get whiplash with that.''

Vargas weighed 160 pounds (72.6 kilograms) for the middleweight bout to Marshall's 158 1/4 (71.7 kilograms) - and looked soft around the midsection after being forced to curtail his training.

A bulging disk forced Vargas to postpone the fight once after it was originally scheduled for Oct. 3.

``I'm glad that I left my robe on until the very end,'' Vargas said. ``It was very cold, but luckily I was very warmed-up already, and it didn't affect me to the extent where I felt my back go out. But I did feel a little stiff.''

He said his right hand was aching, but doubted it was broken.

Vargas' losses have come to Felix Trinidad, who dropped him five times, and Oscar De La Hoya, who floored him once.

The only knockdown of this fight came in the second round, when Vargas knocked Marshall off-balance with a straight right and sent him to the canvas with another.

In the fourth, Vargas complained to Ferrara that Marshall headbutted him. Vargas bled from the cut below his left eye for the remainder of the fight but otherwise was unmarked after outpunching Marshall by a wide margin.

The middleweight fight was Vargas' second since losing his WBA 154-pound ( 69.3-kilogram) to De La Hoya, who stopped him in the 11th round on Sept. 14, 2002, in Las Vegas. After the bout, Vargas tested positive for steroids and was suspended by Nevada boxing officials for nine months and fined $100,000.

After resuming training, he stopped Fitz Vanderpool in the sixth round in July.


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