Just moments ago we saw a new WBC Featherweight champion being crowned as Filipino Mark Magsayo (24-1, 16) lost the title in his first defense, losing a split decision to unbeaten Mexican Rey Vargas (36-0, 22), who becomes a 2-weight champion.
On paper the bout had the potential to be something really ugly, given that Vargas has a reputation for making stinking bouts and Magsayo being very hot and cold. Thankfully however we ended up with a genuinely solid, exciting, entertaining bout that had a bit of everything, including drama late on, a high tempo early on, and some really good back and forth action.
The first two rounds were really close as both men started well, and fought each other tit for tat whilst finding their groove. We felt Magsayo did the better work in round 1, but that Vargas seemed to find his groove in round 2, as he started to establish control of range, and land clean, hard shots to Magsayo.
Through the middle portion of the bout Vargas took control of the action, seeming dominating from round 3, as he made Magsayo look very flawed. Vargas regularly stood his ground, landing clean, heavy shots, he was busier than Magsayo, he was more accurate and whilst it seemed his shots didn't have nasty power on them they certainly appeared to take a toll on Magsayo who was clearly slowing down in rounds 5 and 6, a result of the sweeping body shots of Vargas. Magsayo wasn't just taking shot, he was also being made to miss with his own, looking really raw and crude at times.
The one thing Magsayo had going for him was his power, and he certainly showed that in round 8. He was out landed again, but did manage to land a really good right hand late in the round. The shot was essentially a warning of what was to come in round 9, when a huge right late in the round dropped Vargas. It was a huge moment in the fight, the biggest in fact. He beat the count but looked buzzed for the rest of the round. He appeared appeared to be hurt in round 10, though Magsayo foolishly didn't press the issue, instead giving Vargas the space and time he needed to clear his head and get his feet underneath himself.
Magsayo's failure to jump on Vargas was a huge mistake and by round 11 Vargas had recovered his legs, which proved vital as he re-established control in the final 2 rounds. Those were key for him in the eyes of the judges, as they decided that he had done enough to edge the decision, with scores of 115-112, twice, in his favour against a dissenting card of 114-113, in favour of Magsayo.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.