Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada– The WBC’s top ranked middleweight contender, Marco Antonio Rubio (53-5-1, 46 KOs) walked away from the ring at the Mandalay Bay Friday night with a TKO win over Matt Vanda (44-14, 24 KOs), but is leaving the WBC’s annual convention a loser.
On Thursday, Rubio’s hopes of facing middleweight titlist, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a February title bout were dashed when Sergio Martinez and his management team forced the WBC’s hand and leveraged a previous agreement into a title bout mandate.
So, Rubio will have to settle for a tune-up win and a firm promise to face the winner of Chavez-Martinez, unless some backroom shenanigans go on and Chavez’s promotional outfit, Top Rank, can convince Martinez to make some sort of side deal.
As for Friday’s fight, Rubio had little trouble with Vanda and ripped the Minnesota club fighter upstairs and downstairs while walking through anything offered in return.
Vanda, who gave Chavez Jr. a legitimately tough time in a 2008 split decision loss, seems genetically engineered to be a boxing journeyman. He’s durable enough to give rounds to the betting favorite and skilled enough to make his opponent break a sweat.
However, fans in attendance saw what happens when a top ten middleweight faces a middleweight journeyman. Rubio put a serious beating on Vanda, who was in full survival mode beginning from the second half of the first round. Mercifully, referee Kenny Bayless stepped in to wave off the mugging at 2:42 of the fifth round.
In the co-feature, Dominican featherweight prospect, Javier Fortuna (18-0, 13 KOs) passed his first real test as a pro by taking a comfortable ten round unanimous decision win over veteran, Miguel Roman (37-9, 28 KOs).
Fortuna’s hand and foot speed made all the difference in this bout as Roman came forward, as expected, looking to brawl, but was never able to corral his opponent and force a slug fest.
Fortuna scored a knockdown in the first round with a glancing blow to the side of Roman’s head and both fighters had points deducted from them for hitting behind the head– Fortuna in the fourth and Roman in the eighth.
Other than the flash knockdown and the point deductions, though, the fight was fairly uneventful and merely a case of speed trumping flat-footed aggression. The judges’ scorecards were right on the money with scores of 96-92, 96-91, and 97-90– all for Fortuna. The Boxing Tribune scored the bout 97-90, also in favor of Fortuna.
On the undercard:
— John Jackson (12-0, 11 KOs), son of former world titlist, Julian Jackson, stopped Keandre Leatherwood (9-1, 6 KOs) in the sixth round to win the vacant WBC Youth super welterweight tile.
— Panama’s Azael Cosio (13-1-2, 10 KOs) stopped Ronnie Warrior Jr. (13-6-1, 4 KOs) in the sixth round to win the vacant WBC Latino welterweight title
— Samuel Rogers (11-0, 6 KOs) took the vacant WBC FECARBOX junior middleweight title by stopping Jamar Freeman (9-1, 5 KOs) in the tenth and final round.
— In a light heavyweight contest, Badou Jack (9-0, 8 KOs) stopped Adam Collins (10-5, 7 KOs) in the first round of their scheduled six rounder.
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