Vargas vs Foster: Main Card Results
Two unbeaten heavyweights opened up the card tonight on Showtime. Lenier Pero of Cuba was up against Victor Faust of Ukraine. The pace was slow in the in the first few rounds, with both men feeling each other out. Faust took the initiative letting his hands go, while Pero looked for counter punches. At the end of round three, Faust landed a left hook that stunned Pero but he was saved by the bell. The cleaner, more effective shots were landed by Pero, but the activity of Faust built him up a lead on Steve Farhood’s unofficial scorecard.
In the eighth round, a right hook to the body landed flush and seemingly shut down the body of Faust as he was left standing but unaware of his surroundings. Pero followed up by landing a straight left hand, and a combination as Faust was pinned against the ropes which forced referee Rafael Ramos to waive the fight off. Pero improved to 9-0 with 6 KOs with the victory, while Faust falls to 11-1.
The co-main event was contested between fighters hoping to snap two fight losing streaks. Former WBA “regular” junior welterweight champion Mario Barrios was opposite of Jovanie Santiago in a ten-rounder. The punch output was low in the first few rounds. The jab and right hand of Barrios opened up his combinations, which backed Santiago up and left him in a defensive posture. The double left hook of Barrios, to the head and to the body, is a tool he likes to utilize and we saw him do just that a number of times tonight. Santiago began to get frustrated, holding Barrios more and hitting to the back of the head on the clinch. He also was warned for a low blow in the fifth.
Barrios did a great job mixing up his attack to the head and to the body, which made it hard for Santiago to anticipate what was coming next. A straight right hand hurt Santiago and almost dropped him, but he stayed on his feet. Shortly after, a combination to the body floored Santiago, and after the onslaught continued the corner stepped in to end the fight. Overall I was really impressed with what I saw from Barrios, there are a number of fighters under PBC that I would be interested to see him in there with after this performance. Barrios is now 27-2, with18 KOs, and Santiago is 14-3-1.
The vacant WBC super featherweight title was on the line at the Alamodome tonight in the main event. Reigning WBC featherweight champion Rey Vargas was matched up with #1 contender O’Shaquie Foster. Neither guy engaged much in the opening round, but Foster countered well when Vargas did let his hands go. The pace picked up in the second round. It appeared a jab to the body from Foster potentially scored a knockdown, but after seeing the replay it was clear he stepped on the foot of Vargas so the referee was correct in ruling it a slip. A clash of heads seemed to cut Vargas over the eye in round three. Vargas is the taller of the two, but with the reach being similar he wasn’t able to have success at distance like he normally does. He began to lunge in more, and Foster made him pay with counters.
Foster gained confidence as the rounds progressed, controlling the center of the ring and keeping Vargas on the back foot more than it was predicted he would. There were not a ton of landed punches, but each round Foster was getting the better work done. Vargas came out more aggressive in the eighth and ninth rounds, landing some punches to the body and gaining momentum. Vargas has made a habit of winning the championship rounds in his career, but Foster did not allow him to rally and close the show strong. Foster was awarded the unanimous decision victory, winning his first world title. He enhanced his pro record to 20-2, while Vargas drops to 36-1 after his first pro defeat. Foster said after the fight that he has mandatories to deal with first, but after he is open to a unification bout with any of the other three champions at 130lbs.