Tim Bradley survives weird finish, beats Vargas for WBO belt

Jun 27, 2015, 9:24 PM
Timothy Bradley, left, connects with Jessie Vargas during a welterweight boxing match for the inter...
Timothy Bradley, left, connects with Jessie Vargas during a welterweight boxing match for the interim WBO title, Saturday, June 27, 2015, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Timothy Bradley got rocked in the final minute and survived a confusing finish to beat Jessie Vargas by unanimous decision Saturday night, claiming the interim WBO welterweight title.

Bradley (32-1-1) controlled most of his bout against the previously unbeaten Vargas, but the former two-division champion was hurt by a hard right that nearly knocked him down. The fight went on as Bradley recovered somewhat, but referee Pat Russell apparently stopped the fight 10 seconds early, thinking the 10-second warning was the bell to end the bout.

Bradley won 117-111, 116-112 and 115-112 on the scorecards, bouncing back from a winless 2014 — but not before a wild scare at the end.

Russell appeared to be deciding that the bout was over by stoppage when he stepped in, and Vargas’ corner went into a wild celebration. Carl Moretti, the vice president of Bradley promoter Top Rank, went up to Russell immediately to find out what happened, and Russell said he thought the 10-second warning was the bell to end the fight.

The veteran referee was booed by the StubHub Center fans. Bradley acknowledged he was hurt by the overhand right, but said he would have survived the final 10 seconds.

The bout was Bradley’s first fight at the famed outdoor ring south of Los Angeles since his 2013 brawl with Ruslan Provodnikov in which he overcame a concussion from the first round and survived a knockdown in the closing seconds to win a unanimous decision.

“I don’t have to defend anything,” Bradley said. “He landed a great shot, he hurt me, but I would have finished. Come on, I survived Provodnikov.”

Vargas (26-1) said he could have won the fight if he had those 10 seconds. During Bradley’s in-ring interview, Vargas demanded a rematch.

Vargas, the WBA light welterweight champion, knew he was stepping up in weight and class against Bradley, one of the world’s top pound-for-pound fighters with victories over Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. But Vargas struggled against Bradley’s furious pace at the start, constantly attacking with multiple combinations and making him pay with counters.

Vargas tried to keep up but was sorely behind in landing punches. At the end of the first and fourth, Bradley staggered Vargas. By the fifth, Bradley drew blood from Vargas’ nose.

The fight was for the WBO belt that Floyd Mayweather said he would vacate after beating Pacquiao in May. But Mayweather has balked at relinquishing the belt, and the WBO has demanded Mayweather declare his intentions by July 3.

If he relinquishes, then Bradley would go from interim champion to world champion.

It was the fifth time Bradley has won a championship belt. He won the WBO welterweight title twice, the WBC light welterweight belt twice and the WBO 140-pound belt once.

Bradley and his wife, Monica, who also is his manager, recently had their fifth child, and Bradley said he wants each kid to have his or her own championship belt in their Christmas photo.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Penguin Air


Associated Press

Royals rally on Murphy’s error, beat Mets, lead Series 3-1

The Kansas City Royals keep finding new ways to win this October. And now with one more victory in November, they will be World Series champions.
7 years ago
Associated Press

Shock beat Mercury in final regular-season game before move

Rookie Brianna Kiesel scored a career-best 28 points to help the Shock beat the Phoenix Mercury 91-87 Sunday in the team's final regular-season home game before the franchise moves to Dallas next year.
7 years ago
Follow @AZSports...
Arizona Sports

Fox Sports’ Mike Pereira wants high school football team suspended for vicious hit on official

If Fox Sports NFL rules anyalist Mike Pereira had his way, a high school football team in Texas would forfit its season for the conduct of two its players on a game official Friday.
7 years ago
Calais Campbell (93) is wrapped up by guard Mike Iupati after coming down with an interception duri...
Adam Green

Notes from the Nest: Arizona Cardinals training camp – Aug. 4

Tuesday's afternoon practice had a different feel to it because Carson Palmer did not participate.
7 years ago
Arizona Sports

Mardy Fish handed first-round loss to Dudi Sela in Atlanta

The first stop of Mardy Fish's farewell tour ended quickly with a 6-4, 6-4 first-round loss to Dudi Sela in the Atlanta Open on Tuesday night.
7 years ago
UEFA President Michel Platini watches the preliminary draw for the 2018 soccer World Cup in Konstan...
Arizona Sports

AP Sources: Michel Platini will run for FIFA president

Michel Platini will run for FIFA president and plans to announce his intentions this week.
7 years ago
Tim Bradley survives weird finish, beats Vargas for WBO belt