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Vargas vs Novikov results: Jessie Vargas gets wide decision in competitive title defense

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Jessie Vargas had a tough test from Anton Novikov tonight, not that the Nevada judges' scorecards would tell you that.

Ed Mulholland/HBO

In a decision that sparked plenty of debate and criticism as soon as the scores were read, Jessie Vargas retained his WBA junior welterweight "regular" title over Anton Novikov tonight on HBO Boxing After Dark, winning an unanimous decision on scores of 117-111, 118-111, and 118-111. BLH had it 115-113 for Novikov.

Vargas (25-0, 9 KO) will certainly hear a lot more of the belief that he gets home field advantage in his hometown of Las Vegas after this fight, which was competitive and saw him work for an arguable win, but in a close fight that could have gone either way at best, rather than the runaway victory we saw for the "house" fighter.

Novikov (29-1, 10 KO) did start slow, dropping the first three rounds on our card, but stormed back into the fight by outworking Vargas as the fight wore on, using his body work to drop Vargas' hands, and taking Jessie's jab -- his best punch -- out of the fight for the most part.

That wasn't enough for an unknown foreign fighter, and in all honesty, it was hard to think he was going to get the cards. Before the scores were read, this was my tweet:

I expected something like 118-110, 116-112, and then maybe a 114-114 or even 7-5 Novikov card. But none of the three judges (Nevada veterans Dave Moretti, Glenn Trowbridge, and Burt Clements) even had it remotely close.

CompuBox numbers according to the HBO broadcast saw Vargas land 191 of 783 punches (24%), including 153 of 457 power shots (33%). Novikov landed 223 of 812 total shots (27%), with 151 of 488 power punches (31%).

How did you score it?