The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire

Gatti gets bested, Vargas gets gold

By Boxing Rules

   It was an electrifying night at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The site of the Fight of the Year revisited and re-installed into the Best Fights of '98. It was also the site of Fernando Vargas getting his first piece of gold in the Sweet Science of boxing.      

   The first match displayed 21-year-old "Ferocious" Fernando Vargas in a match to decide his future. Tonight, he passed the test against battle-tested veteran Yory Boy Campas. Campas, a veteran of 74 previous fights, proved no problem for the incredible Vargas.  Vargas, 15-0 (15 KO's), started out by drilling Campas in Round 1. Fernando started fast by opening a small cut near the left eye of the defending IBF Jr Middleweight Champion.

   Yory Boy, 72-3 (62 KO's), was not intimidated by the quick start of Vargas. Campas, known for his slow starts, tried to show that he was back in the fight by the fourth round. He landed his trademark body shots and belted young Vargas to cause bruises both under and over his eye. Campas' assault lasted until Round 6. The challenger regained his momentum and took the round by wailing away on Campas in the corner.

Between rounds, a translator let the viewers know that Campas' cornermen were planning to stop the fight if he didn't win the next round. Yory Boy tried, but couldn't quite push the right buttons. Vargas started out fast by punishing Campas with piercing right hands. Fernando trapped the champion in the corner, but the courageous Campas would not go down, as he wanted to lose with dignity.

   As the round ended. The cornermen, about to stop the fight, were beaten to the punch by the veteran. Campas had enough, surrendering his title to the unrelenting challenger. Vargas, a 1996 Olympic Bronze Medallist, was the second man in the '96 U.S. Olympic Team to strike gold in the professional rankings.

   Though his future is not clear, Campas is a true warrior. His only losses coming to Felix Trinidad, Jose Luis Lopez, and now Vargas. The official CompuBox punch count was 202 of 403 punches for Vargas and 76 of 259 for Campas.

The Main Event, which satisfied as much as the original, proved that Ivan Robinson's victory over Arturo Gatti of 4 months ago was not a fluke.There is no questioning that after Ivan's unanimous points victory tonight.    Just like in the first fight, Robinson pounced on The Drama Prince from the first bell. His choice of style was unbelievable, but incredibly it worked. Gatti, also like before, was confused by the non-stop assault and it cost him a lot of the early rounds.

   After the first 3 rounds, Gatti's eye finally gave and a cut was produced. This was not surprising, though it was actually not much of a factor in the outcome. This only made Gatti fight harder.When Gatti finally caught up in Round 5, his chances of winning were cut thin. But, as always, "Thunder" never gives up. But Robinson was still in the fight, and it took Gatti until the 8th Round to finally wear down the gallant "Mighty Ivan".

   Gatti had booked the stanza until a point deduction from Referee Benji Estevez for repeated low blows blew his chances of winning from slim to none. Gatti continued to fight, however. He pounded the former USBA Lightweight Champion for the next 2 rounds, winning both frames but his chances of winning by points had become impossible. Now the crowd, on its feet, awaited the decision.

   Judge George Colon and Joseph Pasquale both had the fight a respective 95-94 in favor of Robinson, and Jean Williams had it 97-92. Incredibly it would have been a majority draw without the point deduction.

My analysis on Gatti is that he brought his power up to the Lightweight division, but it's just not as effective as it was at 130 pounds. Maybe Robinson just has his number. I think Gatti should retire now while he still has his senses. He is now 29-4.

Robinson now looks to bigger things like the winner of next week's huge match between Floyd Mayweather & Angel Manfredy. He might also be matched with IBF Lightweight Champ Shane Mosley. If I was Mosley, I would be praying on my knees for that fight. Robinson is made to order for a quick & sharp hard-hitter like Mosley.

   Well, that's it from me. Enjoy the rest of the articles.

Gatti-Robinson II / Vargas-Campas Report

By Chris Bushnell

Tonight in Atlantic City, New Jersey, one of boxing’s brightest stars may have burnt out for good just as a new one was born. Fernando Vargas staked his claim as one of boxing’s newest icons, while Arturo Gatti suffered his third consecutive loss in 1998. What a night!

With only 14 pro fights under his belt, 1996 Olympian Fernando Vargas was understandably considered a yeoman in the game of boxing. Especially when compared with the 74 fight career of rugged Mexican puncher Ramon “Yory Boy” Campas, the now-ex IBF junior middleweight champion. Boxing journalists, pundits, and fans questioned the logic in rushing Vargas into a title fight so soon, and with good reason. Although only recently a titlist, Campas had marked his career with tough bruising battles, with losses coming only from Tito Trinidad and Jose Luis Lopez. His granite chin, fierce body attack, and willingness to absorb punishment were all attributes absent from Vargas’previous competition. Many felt the brash Vargas had bitten off more than he could chew. They were wrong.

In the first round, Vargas showed Campas respect for about 30 seconds. Keeping his distance and flicking a rarely seen jab, Vargas circled the champion. After getting a good look at Campas, Vargas cracked with a sharp
one-two followed by a lead right. Campas was unfazed, but did not return fire. Vargas continued to use his footwork, slipping out of corners and turning Campas at will, all while firing quick sneak right hands that Yory Boy took on the chin. Easily winning the first frame, Vargas’ confidence grew.

Continuing his assault in the second, Vargas exploited his speed with lead right hands, throwing in the one-two often enough to keep Campas from timing him. Brimming with self assurance after six minutes of easy domination,
Vargas pointed to his head as if to tell Campas he had him all figured out.

Ferocious Fernando showed Campas another card in his hand when he debuted his left hook for the first time in round three. Following up his one-two with the logical next punch only further hurt Campas, who was staggered briefly, and later sliced over the right eye by the punch. The beating continued through the fourth and Campas’ face began to distort. His right eye, which bled badly at times, swelled first, followed by his cheek. But he fought on.

Vargas had doled out consistent punishment for the duration of the fight, and so when he tired in the fifth, it was not the biggest surprise. In fact, Vargas had never even been past six rounds in any of his fights, and Campas
had been banking on Vargas wearing out sooner or later. Campas seized the chance he was given, and let his left hand go. Tagging Vargas to the body repeatedly, Campas began to tire the upstart from Oxnard even further.
Bothered by the body assault, Vargas allowed Campas to get closer, and as a result he allowed Campas to dish out some shots of his own, including a big right hand in the sixth that elicited a roar from the crowd.

Just when he was doing his best, Campas had the tables turned on him. Countering the champion’s hooks, Vargas returned fire in the last minute of the sixth and further disfigured the right side of Campas’ head. As Campas
sat in his corner, he repeatedly said the word “No” and seemed to be indicating his desire to quit on his stool. His trainer, Miguel Diaz, held off the doctor and referee long enough to convince his man to go back out for round seven. Mistake.

Vargas ripped into Campas with controlled fury in the seventh, knocking out Campas’ mouthpiece several times, as he had a few rounds before. The blood from Campas’ eye was joined by blood from his mouth, and he might have been stopped had referee Eddie Cotton not twice halted the action to replace Campas’ gumshield. Neither time-out seemed to be in a lull, as the rules dictate, but it did not dissuade Vargas. He pummeled Campas up until the bell, and that was it. Campas returned to his corner intent on quitting, and walked away from his trainer when it appeared as though he might try and persuade him again to continue. Vargas TKO7.

There have been a number of fighters quitting on their stools in the last several months, and much discussion as to whether or not each was the right choice. Campas’ resignation should not be so questioned. Blood was pouring
from his mouth and his nose looked shattered beneath a grotesque swelling that had closed his eye and inflated his jaw. This was not a resignation of cowardice. Campas, had he wanted to continue, likely would have been stopped by the physician.

As Vargas had his championship belt put around his waist, he cried tears of joy. Like Olympic teammate Floyd Mayweather, he had beaten a more experienced and highly regarded pro, and made it look easy. While his defense lapsed briefly, he showed more than just power and precision. His footwork and ring generalship were excellent, his patience in the ring surprised, and his ability to execute a game plan must have pleased trainer Lou Duva. Now a recognized titlist, we should be hearing a lot more from exciting Fernando Vargas in 1999.

Next up was “The Sequel”. Gatti-Robinson II promised to be every bit as action packed as it’s predecessor....a fight that is unanimously considered Fight of the Year for 1998. In that fight, speedy but powerless Ivan Robinson
outpunched the defenseless Thunder Gatti, who served up his customary dramatics by staggering Robinson throughout the bout with come from behind hail-mary punches. Like most sequels, this one stayed close to the original script.

After one round of Gatti-Robinson II, I thought I was experiencing Deja Vu. Both men fired lightning fast punches, and each landed repeatedly. Gatti, who came through the ropes at 150, was the stronger puncher, but Robinson’s speedy combinations thudded on Gatti's melon. Like so many rounds of the first fight, Robinson took the round 10-9 based on his miraculously high output, although Gatti did plenty of work himself.

The best way for Gatti to avoid Robinson’s high volume was defense. Absent in the first match, new trainer Ronnie Shields had promised to reinstall Gatti’s head movement and slipping ability. To his credit, Gatti did get low much more often, and made Robinson miss. But that all ended in the second round. At some point in that round blood appeared over Gatti’s left eye. As it began to bother him, he began to drop more bombs. Many landed, but clearly the war had begun. Again blinded in one eye, Gatti knew only war. And so he reverted
to his typical style.

It was a bad cut, too. Not particularly deep, but located inside the fold of his eyelid, the blood dripped directly into his eye, which would gradually swell throughout the fight until it was closed a few rounds later. As he has
been in most of his last half a dozen fights, Gatti was betrayed by his face. With only one eye, he simply had to try for the knockout, especially as Robinson’s 100ish punches per stanza were tallying him round after round on
the scorecards.

Gatti was successful in the third and fourth in getting Robinson to fight inside, and in those moments Robinson was hurt by big Gatti body shots. But Ivan Robinson played some of the best possum seen in years. Several times in
these rounds, and then again towards the end of the fight, Robinson would let Gatti fire, feign to be on wilted legs, and then when Gatti smelled knockout, Robinson would absolutely explode with six and seven punch flurries that would bounce Gatti’s head like a speedbag.

The struggle continued with Gatti getting the worst of it. He was able to avoid some punches, and even land significant shots of his own, but Robinson was beating him as consistently as he had the first time. By mid bout,
Gatti’s chances seemed to fade even more as he tired noticeably. Nearly punched out, and probably exhausted from dehydrating to make weight, Gatti’s weary punches had little steam. He continued to work the body, but all while Robinson tattooed his face with accurate punching.

When Gatti returned to his corner after the seventh round, Duva threatened to stop the bout. And with good reason: In the seventh round, Ivan Robinson threw a hearty 117 punches and landed a deadly 77 of them. As Gatti’s corner contemplated resignation, Robinson’s own corner was telling him that he was way behind in the fight. Although he seemed like he had a comfortable lead, his corner didn’t want him to take a moments rest.

Fearful of defeat, Gatti stormed out in the eighth and ninth and made what amounted to a final attempt to end the matter at hand. He punished Robinson exclusively to the body, thudding lefts and rights through Robinson’s guard
and hurting him. More than a few shots strayed below the belt, and having being warned earlier in the fight for going south, Gatti was deducted a point in the eighth for straying low. Since points meant little to Gatti’s plan, he
continued to fire downstairs, and twice in the ninth Robinson looked as though he might fold from the crippling work Arturo was doing on his midsection.

But he didn’t fold. Ending the ninth with a flurry of his own, Robinson survived Gatti’s attack and would again see the tenth and final round. By then, Gatti was completely spent, and it was clear that he was not conditioned to launch the final seconds barrage that had closed the first meeting of these two warriors. Robinson outboxed Gatti in the tenth and seemed to have an easy and decisive unanimous decision awaiting him. He got it...sort of.

Although Robinson won the unanimous decision, the scores were a surprisingly close 95-94 (twice) and a more realistic 97-92. Had Gatti not lost a point for low blows, he would have survived with a majority draw. It would have been a robbery. Exhausted, battered, bloody and, well, looking just like Gatti usually looks after a fight, Arturo dropped his third consecutive loss. Robinson improved to 27-2 (10).

Robinson was thrilled to have proved himself again. So emboldened was he in victory, that he called out pound for pound entrant Shane Mosley. Although Mosley would be heavily favored in that match, Robinson’s handspeed, conditioning and output are difficult obstacles, and if not with Mosley, Robinson deserves to be in with the top names at 135.

Gatti said that he would fight again, but it is going to be a long hard road back. The first problem Gatti has is weight. He hinted at moving up in weight while talking with Larry Merchant, but that seems to be a foolish move.
The power he had at 130 hasn’t moved up with him to 135, and it’s hard to think of Gatti being hit so often by someone like Kostya Tszyu. Walking around at 160 between fights doesn’t help, either. Next on the list of
problems is his face, which has been swollen and cut in nearly every fight. Finally, HBO boxing chief Lou DiBella was quoted as saying before this bout that Gatti would not be allowed back on HBO if he lost, especially if he took a severe beating. Gatti did both.

He should retire. He has taken too many beatings and made plenty of money. The road back is filled with low paying tune-ups and a lot of work in the gym losing weight correctly and relearning the skills that brought Gatti to the top in the first place. It can be done, but why? So that he can thrill us again? It’s asking too much. Gatti-Patterson I and II. Gatti-Rodriguez. Gatti-Ruelas. Gatti-Manfredy. Gatti-Robinson I and II. It’s been more than enough. Thank you for the thrills Arturo. You’ve done more than your share already.

......Chris Bushnell

Robinson Beats Gatti, Vargas Becomes Champ!
By Francis Walker

In what had to have been the 1998 "Fight of the Year," Ivan Robinson, On Saturday, December 12, at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, once again defeated former IBF junior lightweight champ Arturo Gatti. The rematch was an exact duplicate of the original fought this summer. Only this time, Robinson (27-2, 10KOs) unanimously out-pointed the former champion on all three scorecards.

However, a controversial point-deduction cost Gatti (29-4, 24KOs) a draw. In the Co-feature: 1996 US Olympian Fernando Vargas, after only 15 professional contests within two years, became world champion at 154 pounds. Vargas (15-0, 15KOs) looked sensational in his seventh round TKO of IBF junior middleweight titlist Yori Boy Campas (72-3, 62KOs).

Robinson-Gatti II was close on two of the three judges scorecards, until Benji Estevez docked Gatti one point in the seventh for hitting below the belt. At the end of ten rounds, judge Jean Williams scored the fight lopsided at 97-92. However, Joe Pasquale and George Colon scored it 95-94 (each), all in Robinson's favor. Adding the point taken off, two of the three officials would have had it 95-95. Thus, ruling the bout a majority draw.

Taking nothing away from one of the best fights this decade, Robinson-Gatti II exemplified what real boxing is all about. Although both fighters were close friends and trained together at one time, Robinson and Gatti, in front of a
sold out crowd of 4,396 fans, gave their all. Unlike many fights this year, Robinson's and Gatti's all was indeed good enough....

As oppose to their first encounter, Gatti, a 26-year-old, Jersey City native, came out more aggressive. Fighting behind faster hands and quicker feet, Gatti, noticeably bobbing and weaving, attacked Robinson with vicious left and right-hand flurries. But just as the first fight, Robinson, 27, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, countered Gatti's improved onslaught with left-jabs and two-handed barrages of his own.

Gatti, so fast, spun behind Robinson and tossed him in a neutral corner in the second stanza. Moments later, Robinson stopped Gatti in his tracks with a series of single left jabs. Gatti, missing wildly with his counter-shots,
tasted leather, as Robinson connected flush with power shots to his rapidly swelling left eye. In the third, Gatti stunned Robinson with a solid left hook to his chin. Robinson, wise enough to hold on during the clinch, again paused Gatti's attack - landing a sensational barrage of punches that had Gatti on rubbery legs. Gatti, who actually ran away from Robinson toward the end of the session, was nearly knocked through the ropes.

The fifth round though, was a seesaw battle. Almost like a life or death struggle. Despite having absorbed so much punishment upstairs, Robinson and Gatti mocked and taunted one another. Robinson and Gatti went at one another from pillar to post, until a hard right-uppercut from Robinson stopped Gatti dead in his tracks.

Having been docked a point in the seventh, Gatti continued his assault nearly knocking Robinson through the laps of fans at ringside. In the eighth, Gatti, with his left eye swollen and bloodied almost shut , had Robinson on queer
street. The effects of Gatti's relentless body attack, who many writers at ringside felt were low, took its toll on Robinson. But the warrior Robinson proved he was in Robinson-Gatti I, showed up in the rematch. Robinson kept coming at Gatti behind his left-jab, and alter emerged victorious.

The victory puts Robinson in a position where he can challenge undefeated IBF lightweight champ Sugar Shane Mosley or Israel Cardona, who is scheduled to meet Mosley early next year. Or maybe the winner of the upcoming showdown between WBC super featherweight champ Floyd Mayweather and Angel Manfredy.

As for Gatti, despite going 0 for 3 in '98, his career is not finished! In fact, "The Gatti Legacy," which consists of epic battles against Manfredy (TKO by 8), Gabe Ruelas (TKO 5), Calvin Grove (TKO 7), Wilson Rodriquez (KO 6), and two decision victories over Tracy Patterson (W 12) as opposed to two decision losses to Robinson (L 10), continues - Win, lose, or draw!

Moving ahead: The 21-year-old Vargas, who never fought more than six rounds is his career, yet was ranked No. 1 by the International Boxing Federation, took Campas, 27, Sonora, Mexico, apart limb from limb. Vargas, a resident of Oxford, California, relying on his quick feet and rapid head-movement, danced circles around the champion. Landing at will with left jabs and straight-rights, Vargas opened a nasty gash next to the left side of Campas' right eye. The intensity of the opening left a river of blood across his face.

At this point, it was clear that Campas needed a knockout to win!

Campas managed to hurt Vargas with a relentless body-attack, ending with double-left hooks within the clinches. But Vargas was too determined, as a series of unanswered combos backed Campas into his own corner. Campas, with bloody facial swellings, including a deep cut across the bottom part of his mouth, kept fighting back. But it did little good as Campas' cornermen refused to let him start the eighth round.

At the time of the stoppage, all three judges had Vargas ahead 59-55 (twice) and 60-54. Of the 18 official rounds on the combined 36-round scorecard, Campas only won two.

Now Vargas joins former US Olympic teammate, and WBC 130-pound champ Mayweather as the first two fighters from the '96 Olympics in Atlanta to win a world championship.

Gatti Falls Again, While Vargas Rises

By Thomas Gerbasi

I can't say that I truly enjoyed Arturo Gatti's latest war of attrition with Ivan Robinson. Sure, it was action packed, and it had the usual Gatti requisites of blood, drama, and lack of defense. But as Robinson pounded and pounded his way to a ten round unanimous decision, I got the feeling that "The Human Highlight Film" had seen his best days fly by him, and in the process had become a parody of himself.

A new trainer (Ronnie Shields) tried to instill in Gatti the importance of defense and head movement. But as Mike Tyson so eloquently stated, "Everyone has a plan until they get hit." And once Gatti tasted the jabs and combinations of Robinson, the hands down, throw 'em from the bleachers war monger returned. And don't get me wrong. It makes for great television, and as I've stated before, I'll take a thousand Gattis in boxing anyday. But there comes a time when you have to say that enough is enough.

In three fights this year, Arturo Gatti has had his face mangled and head scrambled. And we seem to overlook the fact that the fighters doing this to him are not known as heavy hitters. Angel Manfredy and Ivan Robinson will never be confused with Alexis Arguello in terms of punching power. They're accurate punchers, but neither will take you out with a single blow. We can even go back further to the Wilson Rodriguez fight. Gatti brought himself up from the depths to win a life and death struggle with Rodriguez, another boxer not known for his power. Could you imagine what a Shane Mosley would do to him?

Arturo Gatti has given us some of boxing's best moments this decade. Unfortunately it seems to me that he is unable to win at a world class level anymore. And that's sad. Because while the word "warrior" is the most over used adjective in the boxing world today, Arturo Gatti fits the warrior-mold to a T. We've recently seen a benefit held for Gerald McClellan. I don't want to have to attend a benefit for Gatti in ten years.

Scoring note: In a fight I had Robinson winning handily, 97-93, two of the ringside judges had the bout scored in "Mighty Ivan"'s favor, 95-94. Remember that Gatti lost a point for a low blow in a round that he probably won. Give him back that point, and we would have had a draw. This fight was no draw. Forget instant replay in the NFL. We need it in boxing.

In the HBO co-feature in Atlantic City, Fernando Vargas became the second 1996 US Olympian to win a world championship, as he annexed the IBF junior middleweight crown with a seventh round stoppage of Mexico's Yory Boy Campas. Campas was outclassed by the younger and faster Vargas from the opening bell, and by the end of the seventh round, his face had become a swollen and bloody mess. And discretion being the better part of valor, Campas decided to call it quits as the seventh stanza concluded. This seems to be the latest trend in boxing (Chavez, Hernandez), and it is a disturbing one.

But that should not distract attention from the dominating performance turned in by the 21 year old "Ferocious" Fernando. Vargas moved well behind his jab and a sneaky right cross, and while his effective body punching was not on display, it was obviously not needed as he continuously halted Campas' forward progress with jarring head shots. Vargas (15-0, 15 KO's) can now look to the future, and an anticipated late-1999 showdown with friend and fellow Olympian, David Reid. I'm ready, are you?


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