Tonight at 10:00 pm EST on HBO, Boxing After Dark is back with a doubleheader from Washington, DC, as heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz takes on hometown veteran Tony Thompson in the main event, and the vacant WBO welterweight title is on the line in the co-feature.
Ortiz (24-0, 21 KO) is being marketed as the division's most avoided fighter right now, and given how difficult it was for promoters to get him an opponent for an HBO main event, there's certainly some truth to that. After several fighters declined to take the fight, Thompson (40-6, 27 KO) stepped in on short notice. The 44-year-old Thompson is the underdog, obviously, but has nothing to lose here, and has knocked off a couple of favored fighters in recent years in David Price and Odlanier Solis.
Sadam Ali (22-0, 13 KO) and Jessie Vargas (26-1, 9 KO) will meet for the vacant WBO 147-pound title, which was recently vacated by Timothy Bradley Jr, who defeated Vargas last June in California. Ali has been waiting on this title shot for quite a while. Vargas is a former titleholder at 140 pounds.
Wil Esco will be here for the live round by round coverage. Join him!
LUIS ORTIZ def. TONY THOMPSON by KO-6 (2:29 of Round 6)
JESSIE VARGAS def. SADAM ALI by TKO-9 (2:09 of Round 9)
ROUND BY ROUND
LUIS ORTIZ vs TONY THOMPSON
Round 1: Ortiz comes straight after Thompson to start the fight. Ortiz already imposing his size and power on Thompson. Ortiz lands two jabs. Thompson laying back, but gets cracked straight away and goes down. He barely beats the 10-count. This could be an early fight. Thompson manages to make it to the bell. Ortiz 10-8.
Round 2: Ortiz doesn't seem to need any respect for Thompson's punching power. Ortiz targeting the body now, Thompson not doing much but circling and trying to not get hurt too badly, but he's certainly not punching too much. Ortiz wins easy. Ortiz 10-9.
Round 3: I hate to say it but it doesn't feel like Thompson is really trying to win after feeling Ortiz's power. Ortiz hits Thompson here and there. Ortiz drops Thompson at the bell! Thompson just beats the 10-count again. Ortiz 10-8, 30-25.
Round 4: There's no drama in this fight, the crowd just seems to be waiting for the inevitable knockout of Thompson to come. Ortiz looks like he's trying to step on the gas pedal a little more now. Thompson showboating despite having been hurt multiple times already. Both men grin at each other at the bell. Ortiz 10-9.
Round 5: Thompson continues to lay back while Ortiz stalks him. Ortiz trying to find another home for his left hand. Not much happens in the first half of the round. Thompson lands a punch now and again, but with absolutely no power on his shots. Ortiz 10-9.
Round 6: Ortiz picking up his aggression again to open the round, hoping to put an exclamation point on this one-sided fight. Thompson managing to keep Ortiz at arms reach if nothing else. Ortiz drops Thompson again, who this time can't beat the count. Ortiz KO-6.
JESSIE VARGAS vs SADAM ALI
Round 1: Ali comes out and flashes a couple of jabs. Vargas lands a hard jab to the body which pushes Ali back. Ali lets his hands go with a couple of combinations. Nice left hook lands for Vargas. The opening round is still up for either fighter in the closing minute. I'm giving it to Vargas for landing some clean and clear shots. Vargas 10-9.
Round 2: Ali slipped off a punch landed by Vargas. Vargas thought he might've had Ali hurt and tries to press the attack. Nice left hook lands for Vargas. Both men trade but not much lands clean. Vargas going back to the jab to the body, Ali reciprocates. Both of these opening rounds are really close. I'm leaning towards Ali for his round ending combinations, stole the round for me. Ali 10-9.
Round 3: Both fighters trade clean left hooks in the opening minute. Sadam Ali sporting a bruise now under his right eye. Slow round, not much landing from either fighter. I'm going with Ali by outworking Vargas in this round. Ali 10-9.
Round 4: Ali trying to play a sake charmer with his rhythm. A fight is breaking out! Both fighters exchanging heavy shots, Vargas looked to get the better of it. Nice left hook to the body lands for Vargas, Ali grimaces. Jessie Vargas steadily coming forward, landing more shots this round. Both men trade jabs. Ali now throwing a lot of hard shots. Both fighters exchanging heavy body blows. Vargas had the better round overall, though Ali finishes strong. Vargas 10-9, 38-38.
Round 5: Both men a little more cautious heading into this round after both getting tagged at the end of the last. Vargas counters Ali with a nice jab, then throws a right hand to the body. Both men trading again with Vargas landing cleaner. Hard left hook lands for Vargas in an exchange. Ali staggers into the ropes, get his balance back together. Vargas throws a one-two, landing a hard straight right hand. Vargas 10-9,
Round 6: Hard right hand lands for Vargas, then a straight left. Vargas looks like he's showing his greater experience here. Vargas targeting Ali's body during the exchanges. Left jab lands again for Vargas, he smiles at Ali. Ali throws some more combinations, missing most of them. Another right hand lands for Vargas. Vargas 10-9, 58-56.
Round 7: Vargas landing more hard right hands. Ali trying to mount an attack, lands a couple right hooks. Both fighters missing a good amount of punches this round. Vargas throws a left hook to the body off the jab. Vargas makes a strong attack to end the round, winning it for him. Vargas 10-9.
Round 8: Two good jabs land for Vargas, Ali looking for a spot to land clean. Ali's right eye showing more damage. Both righters echange hard shots in the middle of the right. Now Ali is coming forward, trying to pin Vargas on the ropes. Vargas drops Ali hard with a hard right hand!!! Ali beats the 10-count. Vargas 10-8, 78-73.
Round 9: Vargas coming after Ali who is still on shaky legs going into the round. Vargas landing some more hard shots on a hurt Ali. Looks like this fight is coming to an end with Vargas landing a lot of shots. Vargas drop Ali again with another hard right hand!!! Ali again beats the 10-count. Ali is on his feet but he's hurt bad. Vargas lets some more shots go, Ali gets shaken up again, referee stops the fight. Vargas TKO-9.