Four weight World champion Mikey Garcia remained at Welterweight following his wide points defeat to Errol Spence Jr last year and soundly outscored Jessie Vargas over 12 rounds on his return in Frisco, Texas.
Garcia made the leap from Lightweight almost 12 months ago for a daring attempt at the IBF Welterweight title, but had a much simpler assignment here.
Vargas was lively in the opening few rounds, but was dropped to the canvas in the fifth with a crisply timed right hand. The sixth and seventh rounds saw the former two-weight world champion ship more punishment, with the referee close to stopping the action.
The 30-year-old did fire back as and when he could, but Garcia kept the pressure on as the contest went to the final bell.
Two scores of 116-111 and a third at 114-113 gave Garcia the victory and he now has his sights set on a meeting with WBA (Super) champion, Manny Pacquiao.
Birmingham’s Kal Yafai lost his WBA Super Flyweight title, as a resurgent Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez returned to form in devastating style with a one sided ninth round stoppage win.
Yafai was the longest reigning British world champion and had long called for a meeting with the division’s finest.
💥 CHOCOLATITO KO’s YAFAI! 💥
Roman Gonzalez proves that he’s still a world class operator by knocking out Kal Yafai with a huge right hand in the 9th round
📺 Mikey Garcia v Jessie Vargas is next on Sky Sports Arena! pic.twitter.com/UvIaJpTNVV
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) March 1, 2020
Gonzalez’ stock had dropped following back to back points and knockout defeats to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, but the four-weight world champion showed his class in overwhelming the stunned Yafai.
Yafai was the bigger man, but Chocolatito wasted no time in trading punches from the off and it was the accumulation of blows that was doing the damage from the fists of the Nicaraguan.
As he stepped up his assault in the middle rounds, Gonzalez stunned his foe in the seventh with several right hooks, with his dominance starting to show.
A short right hand dropped the champion in round eight as the end was surely near, and that end came a round later, with a huge right hand dropping Kal for a second time, but this knockdown was one too many for the referee, who stopped the fight.
Wales’ Jay Harris’ stock rose in a spirited points defeat to WBC Flyweight champion, Julio Cesar Martinez.
It was a breathless affair, with punches traded at regular intervals, but the Mexican was just a bit too busy and spiteful for the challenger. Martinez scored a knockdown in the tenth with a wicked body shot, but Harris rose and rallied to remain in the contest.
Scores of 116-111, 115-112 and a too wide 118-109 ensured the famous green belt remained with Martinez.
Joseph Parker returned to action after an eight month absence with a fifth round stoppage of the overmatched Shawndell Winters.
Former WBO Heavyweight Champion Parker scored a third round knockdown and followed this up with a big right hand that stiffened Winters’ legs, and the follow up attack sent the underdog crashing through the ropes, and the referee had seen enough.