Tonight's card from the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, was a mixed bag for the top fighters on the bill, with the main event over in just one round, and a featured undercard bout far more of a struggle than was expected.
In the main event, Samuel Vargas demolished Manolos Plaitis to win the vacant Canadian welterweight title, knocking out Plaitis violently at 2:49 of the first round. Vargas (9-0-1, 3 KO) has gained a reputation as an action fighter, but not to date as a puncher. Plaitis (17-2-1, 8 KO) hadn't faced much better or worse competition than Vargas had coming into the fight, but was knocked out in two in his only other loss coming into the fight.
But it was quite a knockout, as Vargas simply teed off on Plaitis eventually, sending him staggering into the corner, where Plaitis was out on his feet before an extra shot sent him hard to the canvas.
Vargas, a Colombian native, isn't likely to become a major star in the future, but his action credentials will likely carry him to regional star heights at worst, and if he keeps winning, could certainly come up with some American TV chances in due time.
On the undercard in the night's other really notable fight, "The Brazilian Rocky" Michael Oliveira once again looked a lot more like the Brazilian John Duddy as he struggled to a very, very debatable eight-round decision win over Sergei Melis. Bad Left Hook scored the fight 77-75 for Melis, and at best for Oliveira, the fight should have been a draw. Instead he won 77-75 on two cards, and a completely absurd and highly suspect 79-73 on the card of veteran judge Harry Davis. There's just no good way to argue that Oliveira (17-0, 12 KO) won seven of the fight's eight rounds.
Oliveira is a very fun TV fighter, but with an extremely limited future. Like Duddy, few will ever argue with watching him fight. Also like Duddy, he has almost no chance at becoming a legitimate contender. Oliveira's status as a prospect is owed more to an aggressive press campaign and idol worship in his home country. He's really not very good at all and getting into nip-and-tuck battles with the likes of Melis (18-8, 7 KO) raises a red flag.
Oliveira was scheduled to fight on February 17 on ShoBox, and still might. The California commission has a bad reputation for not checking too hard on fighters' recent histories, so despite the fact that Oliveira was in a tough fight tonight and did get his bell run in the seventh and eighth rounds, he might still make it to Chumash to face Milton Nunez (23-3-1, 21 KO). But don't worry about Nunez's record -- he's also not very good, and that KO rate is fugazi.
Also on the Undercard
Middleweight Brandon "Bad Boy" Cook improved to 5-0 (2 KO) with a win in an exciting phone booth brawl against Chris Aucoin (4-6-1, 0 KO). Scores were 60-54, 59-55, and 58-56, with the latter probably a bit generous to Aucoin.
Syd Vanderpool-trained cruiserweight Denton Daley (5-0, 2 KO) won a shutout over Benito Quiroz (6-2, 6 KO). Quiroz turned pro in 2002 as a 240-pound heavyweight and was knocked out by Saul Montana in 2004, after which he was out of the sport until 2008. Prior to tonight's fight, he hadn't fought since 2009. Andrew Fruman described him as a "homeless man's Librado Andrade" -- this was about right. Daley is one of those guys who thinks he can be the next Roy Jones, and he did remind one of Jones tonight, but more the Jones who fought Omar Sheika. He's got some athletic ability, but he's still very, very raw.
Lightweight Ibrahim Kamal (7-0, 6 KO) stopped Tommi Schmidt (6-5, 3 KO) of Denmark in the first round. And lightweight Steve Wilcox made his pro debut successfully, beating Nicolas Valcourt (0-1-1, 0 KO).