HBO Boxing presented a dual-site, tripleheader on Saturday night, with Brandon Rios vs. Diego Chaves, Jessie Vargas vs. Anton Novikov, and then across the continent, Sergey Kovalev vs. Blake Caparello. Right here, you’ll find live HBO Boxing results for all three fights. Take a look.
Rios vs. Chaves Results
Brandon Rios won at 1:26 of the 9th round when referee Vic Drakulich disqualified Diego Chaves. It was a good bout and certainly a rowdy one, but in the end, it was an overzealous referee who infused himself into the fight and decided to be the one who determined how the fight was decided. The exact transgressions were unclear and it seemed that Drakulich was swayed by the histrionic reactions of Rios more than anything he personally observed. Rios goes to 32-2 (23 KOs), with Diego Chaves falling to 23-2 (19 KOs).
The two 28-year old welterweights took to ring center and got right down to swapping shots. A squishy-looking Rios took some body shots, with Chaves reeling off some nice combos toward the end of round one. Nice right hands and left hooks from a peppy Chaves in the second. Rios was winging, but the shots of Chaves were making more of an impact. Rios was doing some good work to the body in some sequences, taking it upstairs to some effect in the last minute of a close second round.
Good action in the third round. Chaves ripped off some nice shots, with a defiant Rios in pursuit. Suddenly, Vic Drakulich deducted a point from Chaves for holding. It seemed abrupt, though Chaves had been holding. And still no warning for Brandon Rios’s billy-goat tactics, as he rams his cranium into Chaves’ face during every clinch. Still, for the most part, Chaves was doing well at long-range, getting off first with quick shots while smothering Rios on the inside.
Rios looked to do a better job getting inside to begin the fifth. He managed to wallop Chaves’ body, before throwing him down to the canvas. Drakulich took a point, in what seemed to be an “even-up” move from the Chaves point-deduction in the third. By the fifth, action had become chippy to say the least. Rios was still getting peppered from the outside, but started timing Chaves better in another close round, even as Rios suffered a point deduction.
The 6th saw more heated action. Chaves was effective from outside, but Rios started really digging to the body, while clubbing Chaves to the head on occasion. Rios received a warning after again ramming his head into Chaves’ face. A few big shots by Chaves in the final minute. Big right by Chaves with :30 left. Rios kept plugging away. Some good exchanges in the 7th, as the bout played out as a dual-themed fight, with Chaves landing on the outside, before Rios charged in to bang the body and head. On an on it went at a fast pace, but with neither fighter able to really hurt the other. The more telling shots, however, were clearly landed by Chaves, especially with the right hand.
Drakulich lost it by the 8th. After another chippy break, he took a point from Chaves, with a close bout now being decided by the arbitrary rulings of the referee. The exchanges of fouls, if anything, have seemed mutual and non-integral to the fight. The 8th was another close round. In the 9th, after another clinch, Rios started swearing at Chaves, with Drakulich then disqualifying Chaves, the cause not being entirely clear, but presumably holding. It was an unfortunate result. Drakulich should have seen that both fighters were fouling and acted accordingly. Instead, the bout was decided by a trend that seems to be picking up steam–referees not relying on their own vision, but rather relying on the reactions of the fighters themselves to detect fouls.
Kovalev vs. Caparello Results
Sergey Kovalev moved to 25-0-1 (23 KOs), as he scored a 2nd-round TKO over previously unbeaten Blake Caparello at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City. Time was 1:47. After a promising first round, Caparello simply got run over by the rampaging light heavyweight slugger. Three knockdowns in the second round sealed the deal, as Caparello fell to 19-1-1 (6 KOs).
Just before the fight, Kovalev signed a contract to fight living legend Bernard Hopkins, with him winning this fight being a condition. If Kovalev felt pressure, it didn’t show. Kovalev, 31, stalked the lanky southpaw Caparello. The unbeaten Aussie showed good length and was at least a difficult target for Kovalev. Then, Caparello hit Kovalev to the body and followed with a straight left to the head and Kovalev went down, appearing to trip a bit on the way down. He got up smiling. He tried to nail Caparello for the rest of the round, but fell short. Replays showed Caparello was stepping on Kovalev’s foot at the time of the knockdown.
In the second, Kovalev started to get loose. Then a straight right to the body knocked Caparello down. It was an unexpected shot that really stung. Caparello shook it off, but Kovalev swarmed and started smartly digging the body. A few head shot wobbled Caparello, who again went down. He got up and Kovalev moved in. He started winging shots. Some landed as Caparello slumped to the canvas, with the referee waving it off. Another dominant performance bu Kovalev, who just mowed down the unbeaten challenger. Next up is Bernard Hopkins in what could be a career-defining fight.
Vargas vs. Novikov Results
In a battle of unbeaten 140-pounders in Las Vegas, Jessie Vargas won a unanimous decision over Anton Novikov. Scores were 118-111 (twice) and 117-111. There were several close rounds, but the scores seemed to be out-of-whack. ProBoxing-Fans.com had it 115-113, Novikov. For two judges to give Novikov only two rounds is a startling assessment. Not that the Russian was expecting to get the benefit of the doubt against the Vegas-based Vargas, but it was clear he needed to win by KO because he wasn’t going to get a decision tonight–no matter what. Vargas is now 25-0 (9 KOs), with Novikov falling to 29-1 (10 KOs).
The southpaw Novikov, who entered the ring 9 pounds heavier than Vargas, 25, according to HBO scales, opened with a pesky style. Vargas’ jab, however, began to find its mark at the halfway point. A couple sizzling combos were certainly felt by Novikov in the final minute. Novikov, 26, found some success with his southpaw left, but the crisper Vargas had control of the second round with his piston-like jabs and straight rights. A gap of talent was evident from the beginning. Vargas was looking good–poised, quick, and very sound fundamentally.
Novikov picked it up in the third, getting the better of a flatter Vargas for the first time in the third with his straight left and a few body shots. Nothing dramatic, but a good sign for Novikov. Some more snappy work by Vargas in the 4th, though hardly exciting. But as the round finished, the fight fell into a well-contested bout with little to separate the fighters. Vargas was more fluid, but Novikov was applying constant pressure.
A straight Vargas right in the 5th rattled Novikov for the first time in the fight in the best punch of the fight up until that point. Novikov bounced back nicely, continuing to get off first with his southpaw left. Novikov poured it on and likely took the fifth after landing a lot of clean shots on a suddenly-fatigued Vargas. Novikov, whose trainer Ernesto Zavala retired after losing to Vargas 4 years ago, continued to press in the 6th and bother Vargas with his greater activity. A hard right buckled Novikov again, as Vargas again landed the right and then yet again. Novikov continued hitting Vargas to the body in a close round in a fight that was gradually picking up steam.
The gritty Novikov moved his hands fluidly in the 7th. Though having little to no power, Novikov was clearly bothering Vargas with his workrate. Vargas was still landing, but was being put in a reactive mode by Novikov, who was really cruising in the 7th. By the start of the 8th, Vargas may not have even been behind, but was facing a momentum issue that needed urgent attention.
Whereas the battle of jabs was being won by Vargas, Novikov was the one jabbing and landing by the middle rounds. Novikov was also doing subtle things with distance, laying just outside of the reach of Vargas when not punching, then getting in range when it was time to do damage. Though Novikov entered the fight with 10 KOs in 29 wins, Vargas was feeling his shots. All the southpaw lefts and the body shots, and perhaps something else, had Vargas looking hurt. Or at the very least uncomfortable. Vargas was still throwing and trying, but seemed aimless in his pursuit by round 9, sort of groping his way to victory at this point.
Vargas tried to string together some nice combos in the 10th and by by the final minute of the round, was sponging punches from Novikov and looking discouraged. Still, a close round. The 11th saw Vargas still struggling for answers, but unable to land anything substantive. Not that Novikov was overwhelming him, but the pressure was making it look like he was controlling the fight. 11th was all Novikov.
The 12th saw both men trying to make a closing statement, but it was Novikov landing and in control, as he had been for the second half of the fight. Then Vargas suddenly starting throwing with more vigor and landed some telling shots. It may have been enough to win the round in a well-contested bout.
Thanks for stopping by for our coverage of the HBO Boxing results from tonight’s tripleheader. Be sure to check back with us over the next few days as we update our rankings, and provide more aftermath and post-fight coverage of the Rios vs. Chaves and Kovalev vs. Caparello results.