“I’m very happy to be back after a long layoff,” said Vargas. “It was a long time off and I felt the ring rust. I stayed patient and tried to stick to my distance. The inconsistencies affected me more than I thought it would and Herrera kept pushing the fight.
“I was setting him up and waiting for him to punch before attacking him. I expect more in my next performance and I’m disappointed I didn’t finish him, but a win is a win. We’ll get back to the drawing board. I showed I have the power with the knockdown, I just have to finish it off next time.”
Vargas was effective early and often, landing a strong lead left hook to the head of Herrera at the end of round one before controlling the second round with series of combinations. Herrera slowly increased his output as the fight went on, but was never able to slow down the attack of Vargas.
Midway through round six, Vargas sent Herrera to the canvas with a left hook that initially stunned him and a combination that put him down. Herrera rose to the canvas but continued to be picked apart by the skilled and composed Vargas.
“I felt relaxed in the ring,” said Vargas. “I was trying finish him with the hook. His head movement threw me off and kept him in the fight. We have to keep improving and look better in the next fight.”
After 10 rounds, Vargas earned a unanimous decision by the score of 100-89 three times in his first fight in 13 months as he seeks another title in the welterweight division.
“I’m ready for anyone,” said Vargas. “I’m going to start preparing tomorrow for anyone. I’m looking forward to facing Keith Thurman, the Errol Spence Jr. vs. Lamont Peterson winner, or Danny Garcia. I’m back and I’m ready to stay busy and get back in the ring as soon as possible to reach my goals.”
The co-main event saw once-beaten welterweight Jamal James (22-1, 10 KOs) earn a third-round knockout over veteran contender Diego Chaves (26-3-1, 22 KOs) with a sensational left hook to the body that gave James the most impressive victory of his career to date.
James used his jab and significant height advantage from the outset in an attempt to set up combinations, while Chaves looked to attack the body and close the distance. Both fighters traded attacks early, but it was James who broke through first with a barrage in the third round.
After stunning Chaves with a right hand, James went on the attack as his opponent stopped throwing punches. He took full advantage of the opportunity by perfectly placing the left hook to the body that sent Chaves down and eventually counted out by referee Tom Taylor.
In an action-packed super lightweight showdown, John Molina Jr. (30-7, 24 KOs) delivered a fourth round stoppage of Ivan Redkach (20-3-1, 16 KOs) after both men hit the canvas in the first three rounds.
“It was a great fight,” said Molina. “I was a little rusty, but it’s not an excuse, Redkach was a really tough guy. We got the job done and never gave up. A fight is a fight, it’s not over until it’s over.”
Both men came out looking to throw power punches from the start, and it was Redkach who struck first, pinning Molina in the corner in round two before dropping him with a combination. Molina was able to drastically change the tide of the fight in round three fight a perfect right hand that landed flush as Redkach was already off balance and sent him to the canvas.
Redkach was able to survive the round, but Molina connected again in round four with a right hand that stunned Redkach and a clubbing left hook that put him down again. This knockdown prompted referee Eddie Hernandez to wave off the bout 1:27 into the fourth round, giving Molina a big victory with his family watching ringside.
“You always dig deep with your family watching,” said Molina. “You never want to lose in front of your family. I’m always going to fight until the very end. I had a tough opponent in front of me but I did what I had to to get the victory.”
The opening bout of the telecast saw Wale Omotoso (27-3, 21 KOs) score a unanimous decision victory over Freddy Hernandez (34-9, 22 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight contest.
Hernandez had success early in the fight, hitting Omotoso with counter left hands consistently and using his range effectively. As the fight wore on Omotoso increased his pressure and broke through in round eight with a straight right hand that stunned Hernandez.
Omotoso was unable to score a knockdown, but had success throughout the final three rounds on his way to earning the decision by scores of 96-94, 97-93 and 100-90.