| Ringside report and photos by Chris Cozzone
No one wanted to see Vivian Harris get brutally knocked out.
Especially Vivian Harris – which is why the former champ quit last night after a single round of weathering the storm that was Jesse Vargas.
A possible portent on the eve of the Erik Morales vs. Marcos Maidana fight proving that old guys don’t hold up well to the young and hungry, Harris checked in the “Vicious” portion of his moniker, tied up and clinched, wobbled and prayed, then nearly went down at the bell as he sought to clear the cobwebs from his head before round two.
He never got that far, for, in between rounds, Harris was lucid enough to know he’d seen enough, retiring, hopefully for good.
The near good-night, three-minute wake-up call was a scheduled ten-rounder on a Telefutura-televised card promoted by Golden Boy at Buffalo Bill’s Star Arena in Primm, Nevada, 50 miles from the Strip.
The first punch thrown by Vargas sent a tremor down Harris’ slim pins. Tying up and playing a rough game of survival, Harris was harassed non-stop by his aggressive victor, who was determined to end things quickly. With his back to the ropes for most of the round, Harris was mauled and bulldozed, his legs dipping dangerously at least twice before the round ended.
Seconds before the clanging of the second round bell, Harris informed referee Joe Cortez that he’d seen enough, handing Vargas a well-deserved though thoroughly expected win.
After a career of racking up wins over journeymen, Vargas, now 15-0, 8 KOs, adds his first former champ to his resume.
Harris, unwon since 2008, falls to 29-6-1, 19 KOs.
Gomez sweats win
For the first two rounds, it looked like Bronx welterweight Eddie Gomez (4-0, 3 KOs) was going to score his most meaningful win yet with flair and ease, over determined Roberto Lopez (4-2-2, 1 KO), of Kissimmee, Fla.
Controlling the space and speedily countering everything Lopez had to offer, Gomez hit his foe with every kind of shot, even staggering him in the second. The stage was set for a statement win.
But in the third, Gomez started to play with his opponent, who continued moving forward, trying to jab his way in and land a straight right. What looked like a posing and waiting, however, was more like fading, for it was a gassed Gomez that showed himself in the fourth and fifth. Gomez ran the entire fourth round, then tied up and sloppily defended against a rejuvenated Lopez in the fifth.
In the sixth, Gomez looked more like the guy who’d come out in rounds one and two, and having put away a second wind from his off rounds, he outboxed Lopez for the round, and bout.
Scorecards ranged from 60-53 to 59-54 and 59-55. Fightnews had it four rounds to two, 58-56, Gomez.
Beast of a battle
Clearly the showstopper on the card was a six-round battle of middleweight monsters Bastie “Beastie” Samir (10-0-1, 10 KOs) of Ghana by way of Vegas, and Lester Gonzalez (11-3-2, 6 KOs), of Cuba and San Diego.
Having mowed down ten set-up victims, Gonzalez was the first opponent for Samir with a winning record. The Cuban lefty, on the other paw, had earned his record the hard way, but was coming off three straight losses. Their meeting ground was an unforgettable one for the thousand or so who’d made the journey from the Strip.
Round one was tactical, the Cuban southpaw edging the clumsier Samir by outboxing him from the outside. In the second, a great fight emerged when Samir’s cornermen unleashed Bastie’s beastie side. He charged out windmilling shots from all angles – and Gonzalez met him halfway, firing back. Though Gonzalez’s shots were cleaner, Samir’s brute force evened the score.
Round three was an insane slugfest, nearly non-stop and with neither fighter backing down. Gonzalez’s precision edged out the beast in Samir. One round later, the Cuban fine-tuned his control by playing lion tamer, keeping “Beastie” at the end of a well-honed jab and cracking him with a whip of a left hand.
Gonzalez tried to keep Beastie caged in the fifth, but tearing out of his corner, he was all over Gonzalez, hurling his gloves like clubs. Sheer aggression snagged Samir the fifth and sixth, preventing Gonzalez from boxing and forcing him to brawl back in several thrilling exchanges.
The judges were torn, from 58-56 apiece to 57-57, making it a well-deserved split draw that screams for a rematch.
Girls close the show
The only shame in the four-round female finale was that half the audience, including Oscar De La Hoya and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, had split for the Strip, for the girl fight equaled Samir-Gonzalez in intensity.
There’s a reason why Mike Tyson himself has christened Tatina Anderson (3-1-1, 3 KOs) “Little Tyson.” With her scary deadpan focus and beefy build, Anderson throws more hooks and body shots than any guy did on last night’s card.
Coming in a close second was her opponent, Lissette Medel (2-1-1), who matched Anderson’s brutal aggression head-on while spicing things up with foot movement to warrant a well-deserved draw.
Anderson picked up the first two rounds with body shots and hooks in the pocket while Medel turned things around in the last two frames, returning the body shots and adding points from outside the phone booth that Anderson forces on her foes.
The third round was a toss-up, urging one judge (and Fightnews) to rule it for Anderson, 39-37, while the remaining judges had it a draw, 38-38.
Both fighters were coming off layoffs and losses: Anderson on the bench a year, and Medel, disbelievingly, five years.
Like Samir-Gonzalez, a rematch is a must.
Not quite living up to the hype, former football player, heavyweight Quadtrine Hill (4-2, 1 KO), of Sunrise, Fla., showed his limitations in losing to unbeaten Californian Alexander Flores (4-0, 2 KOs).
Flores proved himself the superior boxer by outhustling the loopy-punching, off-balance Hill in the first. Hill brawled and mauled in the second and third, making them closer rounds, but Gonzalez took over in the final frame, his punches finding their mark with ease on Hill, who was in trouble at the end.
The highlight of the fight was a spill taken by ref Joe Cortez, who fell backward from the middle of the ring, tucked and rolled his way to the ropes, then sprung to his feet without missing a beat in the action. The athletic manuever earned him a round of applause between rounds.
Scores were 40-36 and 39-37 twice, for Gonzalez.
In the four-round lightweight opener, Paul Green (2-1) of Compton, Calif., outpointed Tokyo’s Kai Zama (5-3, 3 KOs).
Green’s loaded hooks earned him the first two rounds. Zama finally established his jab and one-two attack in the third and fourth, but Green’s late counters in the final round sealed him the win.
Scorecards read 39-37 across the board, two for Green, one for Zama.