By Francisco Salazar
INDIO – In a foul-filled bout, junior featherweight Rey Vargas won by unanimous decision over Franklin Manzanilla of Venezuela.
Vargas, who successfully defended his WBC title for the fourth time, was dropped by a left hook to the head in round two. Vargas was not visibly hurt from the punch, getting up and finishing the round.
It took Vargas a round or so to find a rhythm, but once he did, he was able to outland several combinations to the head of Manzanilla. A left hook to the head momentarily wobbled Manzailla in round four, but he was not able to follow up.
As the bout progressed, Manzanilla increased his aggression, learning to several clenches between the two fighters. Referee Raul Caiz, Sr. deducted a point from Manzailla in round seven for hitting behind the head and again in round eight, this time for throwing and landing a punch at the break.
Sensing he was down in the fight, Manzanilla closed the distance, recklessly attacking Vargas and inadvertently butting him in the head, opening up a cut along his right eye.
Vargas again established the jab during the last two rounds, following them up with several right hands to the head of Manzanilla.
All three judges scored the bout 117-108 for Vargas, who improves to 33-0, 22 KOs.
Manzanilla, who knocked out contender Julio Ceja in his last fight on May 26, falls to 18-5, 17 KOs.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing