Madison Garden—Jessie Vargas promised he would wipe the smile off of Liam Smith’s face during their pre-fight weigh-in on Friday. But Smith got the last laugh.
The match began with an entertaining opener as the pair got up close and personal right away, exchanging hooks and uppercuts from round 1.
“I’m gonna beat him up and enjoy doing it,” Smith told reporters shortly after finishing his appearance for the fight week open workout Wednesday afternoon held at Chase Square at MSG. “Jessie claims he’s gonna destroy me. Come on. When was the last time he destroyed anyone? When was the last time he even beat anyone?”
Smith smiled after each round because there was nothing Vargas was able to do about it.
Smith (32-3-1, 18 knockouts) systematically took Vargas (29-4-2, 11 KOs) apart, stopping him in the 10th round of their scheduled 12-round junior middleweight bout on the Katie Taylor-Amanda Serrano undercard on Saturday night at “The World Famous Arena”.
In the second round, Vargas initially showed little-to-no ring rust despite the fact he hasn’t fought for over two years. After two, Smith appeared in command.
Smith suffered a cut over his right eye in the third as his opponent appeared to get the better of the early action.
With 1:20 left in the third, the crowd began chanting for Smith, it seemed to work because he went on attack and had Vargas trapped against the ropes in the last 40 seconds. The Brit continued marching forward and pushed his American opponent back against the ropes throughout round four.
In that same round Smith smashed Vargas with a right uppercut that backed Vargas back against the ropes again. But Vargas managed to get some counters off the ropes, catching Smith and opening a cut on his right eye. Vargas, meanwhile, was coping with a cut on his left eye.
By the fifth, both fighter’s white trunks took on a different color. Smith kept attacking the cut on Vargas’ left eye, and he made sure he finished the round smiling in Vargas’ face.
Smith dominated the first half of the sixth. He kept using the overhand right, mixed in with left and right uppercuts. Smith seemed to have Vargas in real trouble in the final 10 seconds of the sixth.
Smith once more ended the round with a smirk on his face and yelled to his fans as he returned to his corner after the round.
The seventh round followed the game plan of the first six. Smith crowded Vargas, who was getting hit with multiple uppercuts. The Brit was inserted his dominance on the fight.
Smith started the eighth fast, hitting Vargas at will and often. Vargas got hit with every punch Smith threw.
Referee Steve Willis began looked closely as Smith pounded on Vargas, who could not do anything to hold Smith off of him.
Vargas’ white short were turning as red as his waist band. With 45 seconds left in the ninth, an insurgent Smith, behind left hooks to the body and head, had Vargas leaning backward, taking more punishment. Willis began looking in again.
In the opening minute of the 10th, Vargas’ corner, with the legend Nonito Donaire working his corner, saw enough and waved it over at the same time Willis intervened.
The end officially came at :41 of the 10th.
Sometimes you don’t need to talk trash, you just let your boxing do all the talking for you. Smith’s boxing did just that loudly, Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.