The DC Armory featured longtime heavyweight contender and D.C. native Tony Thompson unsuccessfully taking on Luis Ortiz.
Ortiz, the significant favorite, immediately took control of the fight in the first round by landing a straight left out of the southpaw which put Thompson on the canvas. Thompson managed to beat the ref’s count and survive the round, but Ortiz made his point. He’s simply the better fighter.
The second round featured more of the same with Thompson (40-7, 27KO) too timid to try to mount an attack and Ortiz (25-0, 22KO) playing with his opponent. An overhand left hand put Thompson down for the second time during the third round and once again Thompson managed to survive the round.
The Cuban heavyweight took his time, winning rounds four and five by keeping Thompson off-balance with the jab and landing good shots to the head and body almost at will. Thompson fought back, but only in spots and most of his shots fell short of their target.
Ortiz finished things off in round six by landing yet another overhand left hand as Thompson threw punches that once again fell short. The referee halted the fight at that point.
Although it was a solid performance from Ortiz, it didn’t show us anything new from the 36-year-old. Thompson failed to put any pressure on Ortiz, so aside from the Jennings fight it’s unclear how good Ortiz’s stamina really is. However, Ortiz did show off his power and general boxing skills by using the jab to set-up his attack. Thompson isn’t exactly an elite fighter, but Ortiz’s performance against him showed us he very well may be one of the elites. Only time and the right matchups will tell.
On the undercard, Jessie Vargas pulled off a mild upset by scoring his first knockout since 2011 against former Olympian Sadam Ali to capture the vacant WBO welterweight title.
Ali fought off the back foot during the first round and landed enough quick pot shots to win the round. Vargas (27-1, 10KO) stayed composed, but it took him a few rounds to really throw combinations and beforehand he seemed satisfied landing his own single shots on Ali.
A left hook and a slip in the second round made Ali (22-1, 13KO)
look temporarily off-balance, but it showed Vargas could land his power shots. Experts believed Ali would be too fast for Vargas, but that argument lost legitimacy by the end of the second round.
The two continued to trade blows throughout the third round. Ali settled into landing quick right hands while Vargas seemed to be focused on landing his left hook.
By the end of the fourth round, Ali’s right eye began reddening and closing from the left hooks, but his right hands landed more frequently and seemed to win him the round.
The fight went back and forth until the end of the eighth round when Vargas feinted Ali and landed a terrific right hand which dropped his opponent. Ali took almost the full count before rising and was saved by the bell. He clearly looked dazed and confused as he walked to the wrong corner before finally resting on his stool.
Ali didn’t look much better in the ninth round as he took several right hands and left hooks before going down for a second time. Ali tried to survive, but Vargas managed to trap him in the corner and land another right hand which prompted the referee to wave the fight off.
Vargas has shown underrated power in his last two performances, nearly knocking out Tim Bradley in his last fight and stopping Ali on Saturday. He called out Bradley, insisting he deserves a rematch after losing a decision to him last June.
Who are we to argue?