By: Hans Themistode
With Josue Vargas slowly moving from top prospect to world title contender, the slick New York, native found himself in a slugfest early on against Willie Shaw. The two battle it out in Kissimmee Florida, at Silver Sports Arena on the undercard of WBO featherweight champion, Emanuel Navarrete vs Christopher Diaz.
For the vast majority of his short career, Vargas started each and every one of his contests the same. The Puerto Rican native would blast his opponents early and often while avoiding the oncoming onslaught of his opposition. This time around, however, the slippery style of Vargas did him no favors.
Shaw (13-3, 9 KOs) came out aggressive in the opening frame. He pushed his man back and forced him to fight on the inside. While Vargas attempted to use his skills and abilities to turn things into a boxing match, Shaw would hear none of it as he forced him to fight from close distance. With a clear round one for Shaw, Vargas wasted no time in getting it back. The 22-year-old came out boxing and bouncing on his toes after his father/trainer urged him to do so.
Despite Shaw holding both a height and reach advantage, he couldn’t find the mark in round two as more and more of his shots hit nothing but air. Vargas (19-1, 9 KOs) continued his momentum into round three, landing shots at will while proving to be nearly impossible to hit.
As Vargas began banking rounds, Shaw grew more and more desperate. In round six, he once again forced Vargas to fight at a much faster pace. At the midway point of the round, Shaw landed an awkward looping right hand that wobbled the legs of Vargas momentarily. Outside of the opening frame, it was Shaw’s best work yet.
Uninterested in allowing Shaw to build any momentum, Vargas got right back to his boxing in round seven. A visibly tired Shaw plodded forward as his face began swelling from the hard shots landed by Vargas.
As their contest continued, the New York native appeared more content with fighting in the middle of the ring. To the surprise of no one, Vargas continued to land shot after shot while walking away from exchanges unscathed.
As the championship rounds rolled by, it became clear that Shaw needed a miracle to knock off Vargas. While he attempted to empty the tank in the final frame, Vargas merely smiled as he cruised to the final bell.
Although boxing is often known as the theater of the unknown, there was nothing surprising about the end result as Vargas jogged around the ring holding his hand in the air. His initial thoughts were officially confirmed as he was handed a wide decision victory by the scores of 98-92 and 99-91 on the two remaining scorecards.
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