LAS VEGAS – Brandon Rios told the boxing world before his fight against Diego Chaves that the old version of himself would return.
While there were some flashes of “Bam Bam” in the ring on Saturday night, it was difficult to see whether a return to his old self was there. Instead, much of the attention was on the referee Vic Drakulich.
Unfortunately, it was the wrong type of attention.
Rios won by disqualification in the ninth round when Drakulich had enough of the roughhouse tactics of Chaves before a stunned crowd at the Chelsea Theatre inside The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, N.V.
The win did snap a two-bout losing streak for Rios, but he would rather have earned the win with his fists and not through Drakulich’s actions.
“He had me in a headlock and was poking (thumbing) my eye,” Rios told the media after the fight. “He kept holding me. I’m not a dirty fighter.”
Chaves did not believe he had done anything wrong.
“I didn’t know why I got disqualified,” Chaves said after the fight. “He was head-butting me. I thought I was winning the fight.”
Entering the ninth round, Chaves was ahead on two judges’ scorecards, 75-74 and 75-74. Rios was up on the third judge’s scorecard, 75-74.
Rios improves his record to 32-2-1, with 22 KOs, while Chaves drops to 23-2, with 19 KOs.
Chaves had a difficult time entering the country from Argentina earlier this week because of a backlog of visa applications through United States immigration. A replacement fighter was found in unbeaten Jose Zepeda, but Chaves got the all-clear on Wednesday, reportedly through assistance from Senate Majority leader Harry Reid.
Vargas started well, beating Novikov to the punch in the first two rounds. Novikov came on the third and fourth rounds, walking Vargas down and landing to the body.
Vargas seemed to stun Novikov in the fifth and sixth rounds with straight right hands to the head. Undaunted, Novikov began to slow Vargas down with effective shots to the body and lead left hands to the head. Both had their moments in the championship rounds, where each was able to score with his shots.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Vargas, 118-111, 118-111, and 117-111, while RingTV.com scored the bout 114-114. Much of the public outcry was that Vargas won by scores that wide over Novikov.
Vargas, from Las Vegas, goes to 25-0, with 9 KOs. The Russian-born Novikov falls to 29-1, 10 KOs.
In preliminary action:
– Junior featherweight Jessie Magdaleno (19-0, 15 KOs) stopped Carlos Rodriguez in the seventh round. Magdaleno dropped Rodriguez (21-13-3, 9 KOs) three times in the fight before referee Robert Byrd stopped the bout at 2:45.
– U.S. Olympian Jose Ramirez won a one-sided eight round unanimous decision over Alfred Romero (7-4, 6 KOs). All three judges scored the bout 80-72, 80-72, and 80-71 for Ramirez (11-0, 8 KOs).
– With his father in his corner, Shane Mosley Jr. (2-0, 2 KOs) stopped Jerome Jones (1-1-1) in the first round. Mosley dropped Jones early in the round and prompted a referee stoppage when Jay Nady stepped in and stopped the bout at 1:25.
– Erick DeLeon (8-0, 4 KOs) stopped Pedro Toledo in the fifth round. DeLeon dropped Toledo (2-2-2) in the fourth round, before Toledo’s corner threw in the towel at 2:46 of the fifth.
– Opening the Top Rank card, Saul Rodriguez stopped Orlando Vazquez (12-5-1, 6 KOs) in the second round. Rodriguez dropped Vazquez twice in the second round before referee Kenny Bayless stopped the bout at 1:58.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing