Former junior welterweight title challenger Alex Saucedo nabbed his second straight win tonight on ESPN, widely outpointing Sonny Fredrickson in the Top Rank main event from Las Vegas.
Saucedo (30-1, 19 KO) won on scores of 98-92, 99-91, and 100-90, going a 10-round distance for the first time in his career, and past the eighth round for the first time, for that matter.
BLH had the fight 97-93 and 98-92, both cards for Saucedo.
The 26-year-old Saucedo lost a WBO title shot against Maurice Hooker in 2018, split with trainer Abel Sanchez, and came back last November to stop Rod Salka in the first round. Tonight, he went deeper with Fredrickson (21-3, 14 KO), who found himself a good bit out of his depth overall, even if he won a couple of rounds. It’s a second straight loss for Fredrickson, who dropped a decision to Samuel Teah in his last bout, also last November.
There was a lot of talk coming in of Saucedo changing up his style and looking to be less reckless, but the ESPN commentary team overstated that early, and found themselves having to say, “The old Saucedo is back!” as the fight wore on. Known as a warrior, Saucedo may well have only looked “better” defensively in this fight because Fredrickson is nowhere near as good as Maurice Hooker. And even if the intent is there, fighters kind of are who they are, and Saucedo has the instinct and nature of a warrior, and he admitted he still wasn’t what he wanted to be defensively.
“I felt a little better than before. My movement was better, but I still got caught with some punches that I didn’t want to get caught with. So we’ve got some work to do,” he told Bernardo Osuna post-fight.
Asked if he’s looking to get another title shot, Saucedo answered about as you’d expect. Of course he wants another title shot.
“We’ll see what happens and what they offer, I feel like I’m ready,” he said.
Josue Vargas UD-10 Salvador Briceno
The big and constantly repeated story of this fight was that Vargas’ father, who is also his trainer, violated the bubble last night by going down to the casino floor at the MGM without a mask on, seemingly an absent-minded mistake, and was thus barred from cornering his son in this one. Josue was pretty emotional about it earlier in the night, but it wound up having zero real impact on the actual fight, as Vargas cruised to a decision win on scores of 99-91, 100-90, and 100-90. BLH had a double shutout, 100-90 on two separate cards for Vargas.
Briceno (17-6, 11 KO) had a couple moments of some success early on, particularly in teh third round when he got Vargas (17-1, 9 KO) to trade inside, but that didn’t last. The 22-year-old Vargas, a southpaw junior welterweight from Puerto Rico and now fighting out of the Bronx, was too skilled, too quick, and just too good for the plodding, one-dimensional Mexican, a 25-year-old who has done some decent prospect checking in the recent past.
Vargas did suffer a cut on his eyelid on a sixth round clash of heads, and he got his front few teeth knocked out, but it was a solid performance from him once he really settled in, and manager Raul Rivas filled in capably in the corner.
“My teeth got knocked out. I’ve got veneers, it wasn’t real teeth,” Vargas said, showing off his wounds post-fight. “But I fought through that, and with a cut and a headbutt. I’m a warrior. That’s what I’m in the sport for.”
Vargas did admit it wasn’t the same without his dad, and credited Rivas with filling in.
“He gets something out of me that nobody else can. There are little things in the corner he can tell me and I just start pressing and punishing my opponents,” the fighter said. “But it was important to have my manager Raul Rivas in the corner, I’m always around him. It was a blessing to have him.”
John Bauza UD-8 Larry Fyers
Bauza (14-0, 5 KO) is a solid 22-year-old prospect, a southpaw Puerto Rican junior welterweight, and he showed his superior skills against the game but limited Fryers (11-3, 4 KO), an Irishman who fights out of New York. There wasn’t a lot to this one; Fryers couldn’t get much of anything done against Bauza, whose speed and footwork gave him huge edges.
Scores were 79-73, 80-72, and 80-72 for Bauza, an easy enough win for him. Should be noted this is Bauza’s sixth straight decision win, and whatever round judge Patricia Morse Jarman gave Fryers was the first round Bauza has officially lost in those fights.
Isiah Jones MD-6 Donte Stubbs
There was really no debate in this fight, at most you could have found two rounds for Stubbs, which judge Adalaide Byrd did, more realistically Jones won five of six, which Eric Cheek had. And then there was Tim Cheatham, who scored it 57-57.
Detroit middleweight Jones (9-2, 3 KO) is the first repeat fighter within the bubble, as he lost two weeks ago to Nika Sekhniashvili via wide decision over six. In that fight, the 25-yerar-old Jones showed a good chin and some spoiler ability, but once he felt Sekhniashvili’s power, he didn’t seem that eager to engage.
In this one, he came in saying he felt better conditioned, and he worked behind a jab that kept the 26-year-old Stubbs (6-1, 2 KO) from being able to get any rhythm. Stubbs also is a late comer to boxing, has dabbled in MMA a bit, and his heavy feet were notable. Stubbs seems to have power when you listen to his shots, but his KO rate doesn’t indicate a ton — albeit those were all four-round fights before tonight — and Jones didn’t seem worried about the power much at all, boxing his way to a deserved victory.