Tonight at 9:45 pm ET, HBO presents a world title doubleheader from the StubHub Center in Carson, California, featuring the return of Miguel Cotto in the main event, as he battles Yoshihiro Kamegai for the vacant WBO junior middleweight title.
Cotto (40-5, 33 KO) hasn’t fought since a November 2015 loss to Canelo Alvarez, and will be giving up some significant size to Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KO). Still, he is expected to win, as it’s hardly the first time Cotto has given up size in a fight, and even with the absence, he’s the clear favorite.
The WBC super bantamweight title will be on the line tonight, too, with Rey Vargas (29-0, 22 KO) defending against Ronny Rios (28-1, 13 KO) in the co-feature, in what will be Vargas’ first title defense.
Wil Esco will be on the round-by-round call for both fights tonight, so join him, and escape the oppressive weight of Mayweather-McGregor if you so wish.
Miguel Cotto def. Yoshihiro Kamegai by unanimous decision (120-108, 118-110, 119-109)
Rey Vargas def. Ronny Rios by unanimous decision (118-110, 118-110, 115-113)
Miguel Cotto vs Yoshihiro Kamegai
Round 1: Cotto comes out and throws two jabs and a left hook. Kamegai walks forward but walks right into two body shots. Kamegai continues to press forward and lans a left hand to the body on Cotto. Cotto lands two jabs and two really hard shots to both side of Kamegai's body. Cotto lands an uppercut as Kamegai presses him to the ropes. NOw Kamegai goes to both sides of Cotto's body, but Cotto comes right back with three body punches! Lot's of body shots early, but Cotto's are better. Cotto throws three punches to the head and body and then another three punches that end with an uppercut to the head. Kamegai not taking a step backwards though and Cotto lands another hard left hook to Kamegai's head at the bell. Cotto 10-9.
Round 2: Kamegai comes out and shoots first with a body shot. Cotto comes back with four shots to the head and body. Kamegai not taking a backwards step though but gets caught with a clean left hook. Hard left to the body lands for Cotto! Then another left hook to the head. Kamegai continues to press forward. Now Kamegai lands a good left hook to the body, but you don't really want to hook with the hooker. Kamegai is bleeding badly from the nose and mouth already! Kamegai charges forward and Cotto happy to meet him with a couple of shots. Kamegai taking punishment but is coming forward non-stop and lands a clean shot every now and then. Kamegai walks into a left hook, then presses Cotto to the ropes where the fighters to war until the bell! Cotto 10-9, 20-18.
Round 3: Cotto comes out and throws a few hooks as Kamegai charges him. Cotto lands a straight right and left hook combination that lands clean but he's not deterring Kamegai, who basically runs right at Cotto afterwards. We've got a war at the StubHub, people! Can Kamegai continue to walk through all these clean shots? Kamegai lands a good uppercut to the body on the inside but Cotto turns him and walks him into a left hook. Cotto doubles up on uppercut to the body and head. Kamegai keeping the pressure on Cotto though. This is eerily familiar to Cotto-Margarito. Cotto throws a combination, Kamegai throws one back. Closer round but I still think Cotto edges it. Cotto 10-9.
Round 4: Kamegai comes out on the attack as Cotto looks to pick spots to return fire. Kamegai is not backing down and is throwing more and more shots back at Cotto. Hard right hand stuns Kamegai! Kamegai shakes it off and walks right back to Cotto. Kamegai again runs right after Cotto as Cotto attempts to dance away after a combination. Cotto throws a jab, uppercut to the body and head on Kamegai. Kamegai walks into two more big shots that momentarily stops his forward momentum. Kamegai is showing a really good chin but he's taking a lot of punishment early. Cotto lands three punches on Kamegai but Kamegai just won't stop coming. The fighters take the last five seconds off after a ridiculous pace. Cotto 10-9, 40-36.
Round 5: Cotto is dealing with a ton of pressure inside the ring even though he's landing the better shots. Cotto lands five shots on Kamegai to the head and body and Kamegai doesn't go anywhere! Kamegai lands a left hook to the body. Cotto returns fire with three punches and then pivots back to center ring. Kamegai comes right back after Cotto and walks into another left hook. Cotto pushes Kamegai back but Kamegai catches him with a straight right. Cotto lands a jab, a left hook, and a three punch combination on Kamegai, who slaps his gloves together and asks for more. More and more left hooks land for Cotto as the crowd goes wild! There's a ton of action in this fight! Five more punches land for Cotto at the bell. Cotto, 10-9.
Round 6: Kamegai is one tough son of a bitch! It appears his game plan is to apply pressure until Cotto wilts late. He better hope it happens because Cotto is landing a ton on punches in the interim. Kamegai lands a clean right uppercut. Cotto doesn't like it and throws four-five punches back at Kamegai. Cotto lands a right hook on Kamegai. Hard, hard right hand lands for Cotto upstairs. Kamegai shakes his head to say it didn't hurt. Three more punches land for Cotto. This is basically rinse and repeat, people! Kamegai keeps coming forward but is walking into a lot, and I mean a lot, of punches. Kamegai's rolls off some of the punches but he's still getting tagged quite a bit. I'm not sure if Cotto can keep up this pace. So far he is, though. Cotto 10-9, 60-54.
Round 7: Kamegai sneaks a nice left hook to the body behind Cotto's elbow. Cotto jabs Kamegai several times and then goes downstairs with two hooks to both sides of the body. Cotto has literally hit Kamegai with everything, EVERYTHING, and Kamegai is still standing and coming forward. The same three-punch combination keeps landing for Cotto over and over. Kamegai chases Cotto down again and Cotto meets him with two more body shots that land cleanly. Two hooks upstairs land for Cotto now. If you could win rounds by taking punishment, Kamegai would be winning by shutout. Cotto 10-9.
Round 8: Kamegai comes out and throws two shots that Cotto blocks. Clean uppercut lands for Cotto who walks off very pleased with himself. Kamegai literally chases Cotto down again but Cotto is just meeting him with punches time and again. Kamegai must be banking on Cotto collapsing under non-stop pressure because he's not winning any rounds so far. Now Kamegai lands a clean right hand. Hard four punch combination lands for Cotto! Lord have mercy, Kamegai is taking a lot of hellacious shots and continues to run after Cotto. Cotto 10-9, 80-72.
Round 9: Kamegai starts out with a right hook to the body. Cotto turns Kamegai and throws three punches that Kamegai partially blocks. Three more punches come from Cotto who lands a straight right at the end. Cotto lands two hooks that snaps Kamegai's head in both directions. The crowd oohs and ahhs! Kamegai rushes after Cotto and one again walks into a hook. Kamegai looks to be showing some sign of fading now as Cotto lands a hard, clean straight right hand. Kamegai comes back after Cotto and throws two punches with Cotto along the ropes. Cotto 10-9.
Round 10: Cotto has a small cut on his forehead which appears to have come from an unintentional headbutt. Kamegai lands a right hook to the body as Cotto takes a bit of a breather this round. He's earned it. Now Cotto lands two jabs and moves back to center ring. Kamegai continues to come forward and walks into hook after hook after hook. Kamegai's durability is on max! Cotto loads up on three punches to the head and body. HBO announces that Cotto has just broken his records for most power punches thrown in a fight. Kamegai lands two hard shots to end the round but it's probably not enough, unless you just want to give Kamegai a round. Cotto 10-9, 100-90.
Round 11: Hard left hook lands for Cotto! Kamegai continues to eat these shots, which is pretty impressive in its own right. Cotto works both sides of Kamegai's body and Kamegai runs right after Cotto again. Hard left hook lands for Cotto and Kamegai brushes his hair as if to say it was nothing. Hard left to the body lands for Kamegai. Cotto gets it back, though, and then adds a right hook to the body for good measure. Cotto 10-9.
Round 12: Last round. Kamegai is still game but he's getting worked over. Cotto throws more of the same and lands more of the same. Kamegai is undeterred is continues to walk Cotto down, although he's really just walking into one shot after another. Hard jab lands for Cotto. Three more punches land for Cotto! Kamegai keeps coming forward though and Cotto pushes him back so he can get off another three punch combination. Three jabs land for Cotto, and then another combination. This was a whitewashing. Cotto 10-9. BLH Scores it 120-108
Rey Vargas vs Ronny Rios
Round 1: Both fighters slow to meet at center ring. Rios looks to be at a serious height and reach disadvantage. Rios times a hard straight right to the body. Vargas lets go two haymaker right hands that are partially blocked by Rios. Hard right hand to the body lands for Vargas. Vargas standing tall and throwing a number of three-punch combinations, even if they aren't all landing cleanly. Vargas getting really aggressive early in the fight. Rios charges back and pushes Vargas into the corner. Vargas expended a good bit of energy in the first but it wins him the round. Vargas 10-9.
Round 2: Vargas comes out pumping a long jab like Dhalsim. Hard uppercut lands for Vargas. Man, the range on Vargas is something else for a super bantamweight! Vargas tries to go back to the well with a hard right hook that just misses. Rios having a fairly hard time closing the distance early, especially with Vargas throwing a ton of punches from range. Rios lands a jab to the body, tries another but comes up short. Now Vargas tries to counter it with an uppercut to the body. Vargas strafes the body with several body punches as Rios just has to cover up and take them. Vargas in control. Vargas 10-9, 20-18.
Round 3: Rios is staring to reach early, seemingly getting a little desperate. Vargas lets him come forward though and Rios throws several punches with Vargas on the ropes. Vargas fights Rios off the ropes and the puts himself back on the ropes as Vargas calls him to come forward. Vargas digs some body shots but Rios is trying to press forward and look for a way inside of Vargas' long arms. Vargas throws about five straight uppercuts on Rios! StubHub Magic! Rios is trying to maintain his composure and lands a left hand on Vargas' body shot that echos throughout the arena. Better round for Rios but I think Vargas still takes it with the uppercut onslaught. Vargas 10-9.
Round 4: Vargas tries to time a counter right hook that misses. Vargas continues to stand tall and use his height and reach, but don't get it confused, he's more than willing to mix it up. Rios jabs to the body, then tries a right upstairs that misses. Vargas lets go with four punches as Rios goes into a shell. Vargas lands a right hook to the body, Rios comes back with a jab downstairs. Vargas has landed about 60 more punches than Rios according to CompuBox stats thus far. Rios is trying but having a hard time. Vargas 10-9, 40-36.
Round 5: Vargas comes out and throws a half-dozen jabs from the outside. Rios stalks forward and throws two punches to both sides of the body. Vargas backs him off with a hard uppercut to the body. Rios gets a stern warning for punching Vargas while having him in a headlock. Rios lands a hard left hook to the body. Hard left hook to the chin lands for Rios. Vargas shakes it off and throws three punches back. Vargas has doubled RIos' punch output at this point in the fight. Vargas is winning clearly off activity. Vargas 10-9.
Round 6: Rios takes a dozen shots to open the round, but he comes back and throws a few body shots. Vargas is mostly treating Rios like a heavy bag, getting off a ton of shots at will. Rios throws a no-look-hook which predictably misses. Vargas catches Rios with left hook but Rios catches Vargas with a clean left hook to the body. Vargas lands another uppercut from the outside. Vargas 10-9, 60-54.
Round 7: Rios comes and lands a few good shots to the body and head. Rios pushes Vargas down to the matt. Vargas continues to let his hands fly to the head and body as the smaller Rios has to cover up and try to walk into punching range. Vargas tries a check hook to catch RIos coming in, but Rios is able to evade it. He's not evading enough, though. Now Vargas catches Rios with a check hook and is almost shadowboxing as he waits for Rios to come to him. Vargas is supremely comfortable in the ring. Vargas 10-9.
Round 8: Rios' corner is getting really anxious in the corner, yelling at Rios to throw more punches and get inside on Vargas. Rios comes out strong and tries a big left hook to the body. Rios lands a couple shots now but Vargas is laying back and trying to meet Rios' forward momentum with punches. Rios lands a clean lead right. Two hard body shots lands for Rios. Vargas throws four-five punches and then lands a clean uppercut. Big left hook lands for RIos and it stuns Vargas who holds on for dear life! Vargas looks like he survived the moment but he doesn't want to take another one of those shots. Rios 10-9, 73-79.
Round 9: Rios' trainer is yelling at him to stay inside on Vargas as they are expecting Vargas to fade. Rios tries a big right hook that whiffs. Another big right lands low and behind Vargas' back. Vargas isn't throwing nearly as many shots as he was earlier. Rios continues to press forward and get inside on Vargas, but he's following him too much as opposed to cutting off the ring. Rios appears to be taking a little bit of a breather now and Vargas capitalizes flurry a few punches. Rios tries another huge left hook that just misses. Now Rios is backing up, trying to lure Vargas to come to him. It doesn't work. Close round but I think Vargas takes it on ring generalship. Vargas, 10-9.
Round 10: Rios comes out and is pressing forward again, and Vargas plays the matador. Now Vargas touches RIos with a few jabs as Rios finally gets inside and lands a chopping right. Vargas flurries a half-dozen punches and Rios tries to return the favor. Rios lands a hard body shot and Vargas feels like he has to go back downstairs which can be a sign that it hurt. Vargas takes a walk around the ring and then stops and pops three punches as Rios walks right to him. Hard right hand lands for Vargas. Rios lands a sneaky right hand of his own on as the fighters get tangled. Vargas 10-9, 99-91.
Round 11: Vargas still using his legs and reach to keep control of the fight from the outside. Vargs throws a few punches and Rios badly lunges with a hook that misses. Vargas throws another flurry and Rios is whipping hard shots that are missing as he isn't getting in range before he throws. Now Vargas lands a left hook to the body that RIos complains was low, the referee tells him to continue. Rios lands a left hook to the body but misses on the next two follow up punches. Vargas 10-9.
Round 12: Rios' corner tells him he needs a knockout to win. Vargas going back to his familiar pattern of using his height and reach on the outside to meet Rios with punches. Rios whiffs on a few shots at range. Vargas is being a little more conservative in this round as he looks to wind down the clock. Now Vargas throws three jabs, but Rios lands a big right hand inside! Vargas looks like he took it well, though, and is back to moving and boxing on the outside. Hard right hook to the body lands for Rios. Vargas throws three punches that land and it's enough to win the round. Vargas 10-9. BLH scores the fight for Vargas, 119-109.