Welterweight Jessie Vargas and junior middleweight DeAndre Latimore were victorious, as expected, in the co-featured fights Friday on ShoBox: The New Generation live on Showtime. But it wasn’t easy for either of them.
In the main event, the undefeated Vargas, of Las Vegas, improved to 18-0 and nine knockouts with a hard-fought albeit lopsided 10-round decision over Lanardo Tyner (25-7-2, 15 KOs) of Detroit. Vargas won by the scores of 99-91 on the three judges’ scorecards even though there was hardly a moment the popular crowd favorite could relax.
Latimore (23-3, 17 KOs), of Las Vegas by way of St. Louis , had it much tougher. Making his first start in more than 10 months, he took a 10-round majority decision over Milton Nunez (23-4-1, 21 KOs) of Barranquilla , Colombia . However, he had to overcome two knockdowns – one questionable -- to do it. Latimore got the nod in a much closer scrap than anticipated by the tallies of 96-92, 95-94 and 94-94.
There were no knockdowns in Vargas-Tyner, but each went down twice from low blows. Tyner hit the canvas in the first and fourth, Vargas in the fourth and eighth.
It was the second consecutive hard fight for Vargas. Last Sept. 11, he came away with a split 10-round decision over Jose Lopez. There was some question whether Vargas deserved the victory against Lopez, but this time he left no doubt.
A vicious left hooker to the body, Vargas, 22, showed excellent poise and maturity against Tyner, who tried repeatedly to get into his head and take him out of his game plan.
“I don’t think this was my toughest or hardest fight, but it was a good fight,’’ said Vargas, who was sporting a cut on the upper left side of his head afterward. “This was just another learning experience. I need these kinds of fights against these kinds of fighters to stay in position to move forward.
“I probably could have moved and boxed more, but he took my out of my game plan a few times. There were times when all I wanted to do was connect with the big shot.
“That low blow he got me with in the fourth round was definitely the hardest low blow I’ve ever been hit with. I’ve never been nailed with anything like that before.’’
Latimore seemed to be cruising through eight rounds. He’d boxed well and dictated the pace. At times, it seemed that Nunez might be ready to go but Latimore was content to exercise patience and box.
With less than 25 seconds remaining in the ninth round, Nunez scored the first of his knockdowns with a short overhand right hand. He followed with a barrage of nearly 20 punches, the majority of which landed, but Latimore survived and made it to the bell.
Knowing he still was well ahead on points, Latimore came out on his bicycle in the 10th. But he got caught again.
“It was my first start in nearly a year and I’m just happy to get the win,’’ said Latimore, who was making his first start for new trainer Jeff Mayweather. “Honestly I didn’t care if I won by 10 points or one, I just wanted the win. I had to pace myself at times but I did what I had to do and what Jeff wanted me to do,
“The second knockdown wasn’t a knockdown. I went down from headbutts. It is what it is, though, and I look forward to getting back to work in the gym and fighting on a regular basis.’’
The hard-hitting Nunez felt the fight should have been stopped in the ninth.
“I knocked him down and was hitting him with a barrage of right and left hands and the referee (Joe Cortez) moved in and stepped between us. I thought he was going to stop it. You don’t do what the ref did and not stop the fight.
“Still, I thought I’d done enough to win.’’
Al Bernstein called the action from ringside with Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of ShoBox is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
The doubleheader will re-air the first time Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime Extreme.
Friday’s fights will be available On Demand beginning Wednesday, Feb. 29.
Upcoming: On Saturday, March 10, Orlando Salido (37-11-2, 25 KOs) defends his WBO featherweight championship against the boxer he dethroned, Juan Manuel “Juanma’’ Lopez (31-1, 28 KOs), live on Showtime (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan , Puerto Rico . Featherweights Mikey Garcia and Bernabe Concepcion (29-5-1, 15 KOs ) clash in the co-feature.
ShoBox returns on Friday, March 16, on Showtime (11 p.m. ET/PT). In the 10-round main event, undefeated bantamweight Randy Caballero (13-0, 7 KOs ) will face at opponent to be announced. In the co-feature from Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio , Calif. , unbeaten Omar Figueroa (14-0, 11 KOs) takes on Ramon Iyala (23-2, 11 KOs ) in a 10-round lightweight bout.
On Friday, March 23, on ShoBox (11 p.m. ET/PT), Diego Magdaleno (21-0, 7 KOs) will face Miguel Beltran Jr. (26-1, 17 KOs) in the 10-round super featherweight main event at Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Ariz., In the co-feature, Yordenis Ugas (11-0, 5 KOs) meets Johnny Garcia (11-0, 8 KOs) in an eight-round junior welterweight match.