Anthony Dirrell scores statement knockout on Canelo vs Plant

Anthony Dirrell

Amanda Westcott

In the co-main event to Canelo vs. Plant, Flint, Michigan’s Anthony Dirrell (34-2-2, 25 KOs) scored a stunning, highlight-reel knockout of Marcos Hernandez (15-5-2, 3 KOs) just seconds into the fourth round.

Dirrell wound up and unleashed a vicious right uppercut to send Hernandez flat on his back and score the one-punch KO. Hernandez beat the 10-count, but referee Celestino Ruiz called off the fight when the clearly injured and wobbly fighter rose to his feet.

“It was a spectacular knockout,” said Dirrell. “And it was a punch we were working on. It wasn’t that wide. I used to use that punch way back when. I came up with the shot, and he never saw it coming. My brother [Andre] was yelling at me, and I said, ‘I got it.’ I saw it, and I had to take advantage of it. I had to take it away from him.”

Dirrell, the former super middleweight titleholder, successfully rebounded from the disappointing draw against Kyrone Davis in February and did so stylishly. The 37-year-old even capped off the KO with a celebratory backflip. Before that pivotal punch, Hernandez held a slight 46-40 edge in punches landed.

“I expected to stop him. I did,” continued Dirrell, who SugarHill Steward trains.”But I thought I was going to catch him with a right hand over the top, honestly.

“And I knew he thought I would throw that, so I just came up with the uppercut. I came out here and made a statement.”

VARGAS

Former WBC Super Bantamweight World Champion Rey Vargas (35-0, 22 KOs) showed no signs of ring rust in his first fight in over two years, cruising to a unanimous decision over Leonardo Báez (21-5, 12 KOs) in a Mexico vs. Mexico matchup in the second fight of the telecast. Two judges scored the fight a shutout, 100-90, while the third judge scored 99-91.

Fighting for the first time at 126 pounds, Vargas used his significant height and reach advantage to dictate the pace of the entire matchup. Vargas’ vicious body attack – he landed 71 body shots in the ten-round fight – broke down the much smaller and overmatched Báez, whose awkward style led to several accidental head clashes throughout the bout.

“We knew what we were in for,” said the 30-year-old Vargas. “We were prepared for a strong fighter. And we planned to outbox him. We had a lot of good exchanges, and there were moments when I stood in front of him and landed my punches. I’m more of a technical fighter and not a brawler. The plan was to fight and to box and punch without getting punched. I had to stand there and throw big punches. But that’s part of the game.”

Already a former champion at 122 pounds, Vargas now has his sights set on becoming a two-division champion. “I was surprised he went the entire distance. He’s a good fighter, and I don’t take anything away from him. I’m looking forward to my next fight being for a world title.”

ELVIS

In the opening bout of the SHOWTIME PPV telecast, the hard-hitting Elvis Rodriguez (12-1-1, 11 KOs) bounced back from his first career loss in scintillating fashion, scoring a fifth-round knockout over the previously undefeated Juan Pablo Romero (14-1, 9 KOs) in a super lightweight bout scheduled for ten rounds.

The Dominican southpaw Rodríguez landed a straight left hand that sent Romero to the canvas for the second time in the fight, and the second time in his career, at 2:49 in the fifth round. Resigned to defeat, Romero sat and watched as referee Robert Hoyle reached the count of 10. Rodríguez’s powerful left hand was also responsible for flooring Romero in the fourth round.

“I am fully aware that I started slowly in the first two rounds, but then I saw signs of wear and tear on his face, and I gained the upper hand,” said the 25-year-old Rodríguez, who Hall of Famer Freddie Roach trains. “Romero is a fast starter by nature, but I’m the other way around. Then I was able to straighten out.”

After his slow start, Rodríguez out-landed Romero 47-36 in the fourth and fifth rounds. 159 of the 169 combined landed punches in the slugfest were power shots.

“I’ve got to give my opponent credit. It’s never just about you,” said the 31-year-old Romero, who represented Mexico in the 2016 Olympics. “I decided not to put my health on the line anymore to come back and fight again in the future. Tonight just wasn’t my night.

“The division already knows who I am after having seen most of my fights,” Rodríguez added. “However. I suffered a little setback, but I think that everyone knows that Elvis Rodríguez brings powerful, quality punches in each fight.”

World Boxing News has had over one billion views since its inception in 2010. Follow on social media @worldboxingnews.