Former welterweight titleholder Jessie Vargas got back in the ring for the first time in 13 months and had no trouble outboxing opponent Aaron Herrera in tonight’s PBC on FS1 main event.
Vargas (28-2, 10 KO) won all 10 rounds quite clearly and easily in this one, scoring a shutout from all three judges, 100-89. BLH also had it 100-89 for Vargas.
This was Vargas’ debut under the PBC banner, and he was working with new trainer Mike McCallum, too. He admitted after the fight that he felt some ring rust, but he scored a sixth round knockdown and did look to finish things in the 10th and final round.
It didn’t happen, but Vargas said he’d aim to look better next time out. Here’s the knockdown:
Vargas, 28, is still in his prime years, and could be an interesting matchup for plenty of PBC welterweights in 2018. You’ve got Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Errol Spence Jr, Lamont Peterson, Andre Berto, Devon Alexander, and others involved in the weight class from the PBC crew, so there are plenty of fights to be made.
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In the night’s co-feature, Jamal James (22-1, 10 KO) impressed with a third round body shot knockout of Argentina’s Diego Chaves (26-3-1, 22 KO).
Chaves, whose previous blemishes came against Keith Thurman, Brandon Rios, and Tim Bradley, was fighting in the United States for the first time since 2014, and looking to get back into the welterweight mix.
Instead, it was the 29-year-old James, a big, rangy welterweight who stands nearly 6’3”, who made the statement. It was competitive for a couple of rounds, then Chaves was caught with a good right hand that pushed him back. James uncorked a series of chopping rights to follow up, then snuck in a wicked left hook to the body that put Chaves down for the 10 count.
There was talk during the fight on commentary of the winner being a potential title challenger in 2018, and that could come to pass. James is a dangerous fighter — he’s got more power than his KO percentage might lead you to believe, and his lone loss came on short notice against Yordenis Ugas, who is on a bit of a tear.