Brandon Rios defeated Diego Gabriel Chaves by disqualification in Round 9 on Saturday night at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, bringing a rough but exciting fight to a very dissatisfying conclusion.
It was clear from the early going that the two fighters didn’t much care for one another, and that was reflected in the vicious approach each man brought to the action. Chaves was most effective from the outside, while Rios did better at close quarters.
Both Rios (32-2-1, 23 KO) and Chaves (23-2, 19 KO) had points deducted by referee Vic Drakulich—Chaves had two taken—for various fouls before the ending came in Round 9.
With the two men in a clinch—Rios’ head was down—Drakulich immediately stepped in, calling a sudden halt to the contest and awarding an incensed Bam Bam the victory. Rios had to be forced back into his corner, furious with Chaves, but no explanation—at least from the referee—was given to clarify what prompted the stoppage.
In post-fight comments to HBO’s Jim Lampley, Rios claimed that he had been poked in the eye during the clinch, and that Chaves had been guilty of the foul several times during the course of the fight.
At the time of the stoppage, Chaves was ahead 75-74 on two cards, while Rios was favored by the same score on the third.
In the co-featured bout of the evening, Jessie Vargas retained his WBA Junior Welterweight Championship with a unanimous-decision victory over previously unbeaten Anton Novikov.
Scores were 118-111, 118-111 and 117-111 for Vargas.
Bleacher Report scored the contest 115-113 for Novikov.
Vargas (25-0, 9 KO) was in control in the early rounds, using his long jab to keep Novikov at a comfortable distance and picking him off on the way inside. But the fight seemed to turn around in the middle rounds, with the Russian’s volume and aggression getting him back into the contest.
It was the type of fight that could legitimately have been scored for either man, and the wide cards don’t accurately reflect the competitive nature of the bout.