Berchelt overpowers Vargas, stops him in Round 11
Miguel Berchelt made a big statement on Saturday in Indio, California, overpowering a mangled Francisco Vargas to force a stoppage in the 11th round. With the win, Berchelt became the WBC junior lightweight titleholder.
Vargas began the fight with an active, varied attack but did get caught with the more selective right hands from Berchelt (31-1, 28 knockouts). A battle broke out in the second half of Round 2 after a series of flush punches from Berchelt had Vargas reeling. Vargas fought back and the exchanges didn’t let up in the third, but Berchelt’s power was in full effect and finding its mark, rocking Vargas multiple times.
With Vargas already bleeding on both sides of his face, Berchelt backed off and boxed more in the fifth, but it didn’t last long. Never comfortable in anything but a war and incapable of surrender, Vargas stayed in the pocket and relentlessly hammered at his opponent, but was simply outgunned by his fellow Mexican. By the 11th round, Vargas was absorbing so much punishment and a cut above his left eye looked so horrific that referee Raul Caiz Jr. finally stepped in with 40 seconds left.
Vargas (23-1-2, 17 KOs) has been involved in consecutive RING Fights of the Year, the first a come-from-behind knockout of Takashi Miura (who won a slugfest with Miguel Roman by 12th-round knockout earlier in the evening) in November 2015 and, most recently, an all-action brawl that ended in a draw with Orlando Salido, who watched from ringside, in June 2016.
A full report from RingTV Editor Doug Fischer will follow.