By John J. Raspanti
What happened last June seemed inevitable.
Orlando Salido and Francisco Vargas don’t do boring.
They do fighting.
Even Oscar De La Hoya, like most promoters full of hyperbole, knew what was coming.
"This is going to be the fight of the year," De La Hoya told ESPN.com when the bout was announced. “I didn’t like it at first because Salido is a dangerous guy for anybody, but Vargas proved that he can take on anybody. We all discussed it and we all gave it the thumbs-up. It’s an amazing fight, especially at the StubHub Center, which is known for all of the great fights that have been there."
The StubHub Center in Carson, CA, an outdoor arena, once a former venue for soccer, has become in recent years a mecca for potential fights of the year.
It started in 2007, when Israel Vasquez and Rafael Marquez traded leather in a remarkable bout. Four years later, Brandon Rios, rallied to halt a game Mike Alvarado.
Soon after, Timothy Bradley went to hell and back with Ruslan Provodnikov. Lucas Matthysee and John Molina Jr. stood toe-to-toe in 2014, producing an instant classic.
Salido (43-13-4, 30 KOs), a three-time world champion, is a rough and tumble veteran who rarely takes a step back. His brawls with Roman Martinez were unforgettable.
Vargas (23-0-2, 17 KOs) was coming off an incredible comeback victory over determined Takashi Miura six months before. Knocked down in Round four, and unable to see out of his right eye, Vargas rallied and halted Miura in the ninth round.
On June 4, 2016, Orlando Salido, and Fernando Vargas added to the StubHub lore--going the rock-em sock-em route for 12 thrilling rounds.
It took the combatants two minutes to warm-up in the opening stanza.
What followed was thirty-four minutes of sustained brutality. Vargas had the edge in the early rounds, but Salido was tagging him with right hands and vicious shots to the body.
Vargas, 31, rocked Salido with a perfect right hand in Round six. But Salido furiously battled back in Round eight--connecting with counter shots that bothered Vargas.
They fought the championship rounds at a brutal pace, both fighters leaving their defense at ringside.
By the end of the match, the fans, in a frenzy, cheered the warriors as they fought down the stretch.
Disappointing to both fighters, the bout was judged a draw, but the decision seemed appropriate since there were no losers that night at StubHub Arena.
The Orlando Salido vs. Francisco Vargas match is the 2016 Maxboxing fight of the year.