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Bruno on Boxing

Joe Bruno - Former Vice President of the New York Boxing Writers
Association and the International Boxing Writers Association

August 28, 2000

News Item: Fernando Vargas, shuts Ross Thompson’s mouth, then spits in his

    I knew there was trouble brewing when Biting’ Mike Tyson, his hand on
Fernando Vargas’ shoulder, led WBC junior middleweight champ Vargas into the ring, Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. If Tyson’s your opponent’s confidant and advisor before a fight, hide your children, hold your ears, cover your face and get a gun. I guarantee you, it will not be a pleasant night.

    Vargas’ opponent was an unknown named Ross Thompson, who after he was stopped by Vargas in the fourth round, will now forever be more of an unknown. Thompson, somehow ranked number one by the (We Be Crooked) WBC, showed his best right hand at the pre-fight weigh-in the day before, when he nailed Vargas with a sneak punch right hand to Vargas’ lips. As his mouth trickled blood, Vargas screamed like a maniac at Thompson and vowed to “carry Thompson” and make him suffer.

    At the pre-fight instructions in mid ring before the fight, Vargas refused to touch gloves with Thompson, until referee Joe Cortez told Vargas the fight would not start until he performed such courtesy.

    That was the last decent thing Vargas did to Thompson all night.

    After a fairly even first two round, with the best shots landed by Vargas being rabbit punches to the back of Thompson’s head, Vargas got down to business. Ref Cortez had just taken a point away from Vargas for hitting Thompson behind the head for about the sixth time, when Vargas unleashed a right cross that nailed Thompson on the left temple. Thompson crumbled  to the canvas for the first time in his career. He got up at the count of two.

    Vargas bull-rushed Thompson against the ropes near Thompson’s corner and fired a six-punch combination that dropped Thompson just as the bell rang ending the round. Thompson pulled himself to his feet, then staggered to his corner and tried to sit down on the ring stool. But Cortez would not allow this respite until he had finished counting the mandatory eight count. Twice, Thompson almost sat on air, as in a scene right out of the Three Stooges, his
corner kept putting and pulling the stool in and out of the ring.

    Vargas rushed out of his corner in the fourth round intent on ending things quick. Another ferocious combination dropped Thompson against the ropes. Before the ref could jump in and direct Vargas to a neutral corner, Vargas hovered over Thompson, and adding insult to injury, he heaved a lungee right into Thompson’s battered and confused face. Thompson got up and yelled back at Vargas. He should’ve punched back instead.

    As soon as Cortez finished his third mandatory eight count of the night, Vargas pushed Thompson to the ropes again and fired eight unanswered punches, most of which which were  caught on Thompson’s gloves, which were held high protecting his spat-upon face. Thompson was not fighting back, so Cortez jumped in and waved the fight over.

     “I had him hurt, so it was a matter of waiting for a good shot," Vargas said after the fight. "I had to show him what type of fighter I was. He said I was a chump. He was definitely trying to psyche himself up. Now we're moving on to bigger and better things."

    These bigger and better things are a junior middleweight unification fight against WBA champ Felix Trinidad, possibly in December. Whomever the referee is in that fight, especially if Mike Tyson rears his ugly head again, the pre-fight instructions must be, “Listen to my commands at all times. No hitting and holding. No hitting on the break and no low blows. No rabbit or kidney punches. No biting off ears. No eating people’s children. And oh yes, please no spitting. Thatsa no nice.”

    Calling boxing a cesspool is giving cesspools the world over a bad name. Boxing never had aristocratic blood to begin with. But in the year 2000, you’ll find a better class of individual in a state, or federal prison.    



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