Liveblogging the WBC Super Bantamweight Championship Fight

It's been awhile since I've done any liveblogging for my column, and I don't believe I've done any boxing liveblogs, so let's give that a whirl with a fight that aired on HBO last Saturday.

The match features the impossibly tall (for a 121-pound super bantamweight) Rey Vargas, at 5'10 1/2. He's 31-0 and taking on Azat Hovhannisyan (14-2) from Armenia, trained by the famous Freddie Roach. At Roach's gym, Hovhannisyan has earned the nickname "Crazy," Jim Lampley tells us, which tells you something about his style and possible fouling potential. Vargas is the clear favorite and he will be defending the WBC super bantamweight belt.

Round 1Very close and exciting first round, with both fighters landing plenty of big punches — none of that cautious "feeling each other out" stuff emblematic of so many first rounds. I give a slight edge to Hovhannisyan. 10-9, Hovhannisyan.

Round 2 — Also very close, with Vargas landing a lot low and Hovhannisyan landing high, but this time I think Vargas had the edge. Again, they are both landing a LOT. 19-19.

Round 3 — Vargas wins another close round, albeit this round wasn't as close as the first two. 29-28, Vargas.

Round 4 — Vargas is slowly, slooowly starting to assert himself against Hovhannisyan. The stat sheet tells us he's landed 24 body shots to Hovhannisyan's 1. 39-37 Vargas.

Round 5 — Hovhannisyan is reasserting himself and he hit Vargas with a stunner late in the round. It wasn't enough for him to win the round to me, but enough to tie it. 49-47, Vargas.

Round 6 — I wouldn't say Vargas is tiring, but this was the most decisive round of the fight so far, and it goes to Hovhannisyan. He started with a flurry and Vargas didn't really accomplish much of anything. 58-57 Vargas.

Round 7 — Hovhannisyan gets a warning for head-butting. Earlier, he got warnings for hitting behind the head and hitting low. Again, I give the round to Hovhannisyan, although not as decisively as the last round. Lampley, Max Kellerman, and Roy Jones, Jr. are more impressed with Vargas, who they call the "classier" fighter, than I am. 67-67.

Round 8 — The Compubox numbers say Hovhannisyan landed almost twice as many punches as Vargas that round, including a combo of body shots that sent Vargas staggering backwards. Vargas is bleeding above the left eye pretty badly, blood streaming down his cheek like war paint. 77-76 Hovhannisyan.

Round 9 — Best round from Vargas yet, and considering how late it comes, this is bad news for Hovhannisyan. Vargas started the round disciplined and resolute, and finished it with flurries that had Hovhannisyan unable to effectively answer. 86-86.

Round 10 — Vargas wins the round comfortably, although not as dominantly as the previous round. Hovhannisyan still throwing a lot of haymakers and landing some, but you know what? Vargas is the classier fighter, and that's starting to show itself to be meaningful. 96-95, Vargas.

Round 11 — Much better from Hovhannisyan, who landed a bunch more power punches than Vargas, but Vargas's pressure combos continue to be effective. Let's call it a draw. 106-105, Vargas.

Round 12 — Vargas is bleeding profusely from above both eyes to the point where the doctor has to take a look. He lets Vargas continue. Afterwards, Hovhannisyan tries to punish Vargas's face even more, with limited success, but he still wins the round for my money. That means I have the match as a draw, 115-115.

Compubox says Hovhannisyan landed more punches despite throwing fewer, giving him a significantly better punch percentage. However, HBO's unofficial scorer, the ebullient Howard Lederman, gave the fight to Vargas 115-113 and I'm guessing the official judges are about to do the same; there's a touch of what I call "favorite bias" in boxing judging; it's not epidemic, but it does exist. At any rate, considering I have the fight as a draw, I can't be too upset if Vargas wins.

And sure enough, the judges gave it decisively to Vargas, 118-110, 117-111, and 116-112. How someone gave just two rounds to Hovhannisyan is beyond me, but again, favorite bias.

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