LOS ANGELES — The first few bouts here at the Staples Center happened in front of a fairly sparse crowd that trickled in slowly, though not without the odd cheering section.
In the opening bout of the card, Randy Caballero stayed unbeaten at 15-0 (8 KO) with a 5th round technical knockout of Jamal Parram, 5-6-1 (4 KO). Shots to the body brought about the end, with Parram taking a knee twice before the end.
Up next, Omar Figueroa made quick work of Alain Hernandez with a TKO victory at 1:34 in Round 1. Figueroa also stayed unbeaten with a 18-0-1 (15 KO) ledger, while Hernandez fell to 18-11-2 (10 KO). Late in the round, Figueroa unloaded, which was apparently enough for the ref.
In the third bout of the evening, Jermell Charlo kept his 0 intact with a 5th round stoppage of Denis Douglin after some solid action. Charlo, 18-0 (9 KO), weathered some nice countering from Douglin in the fist two rounds, though seeming to do most of the damage. Douglin had a nice final minute of the 1st. Round 3 saw Douglin do well inside when he could, but the 4th featured long right hands from Charlo that appeared to sting. In the 5th, Charlo lined Douglin up for a right hand that put him on his back. Rising on baby giraffe legs, Douglin was halted officially at 1:12 of the round. Douglin’s record goes to 14-2 (8 KO).
A lot of downtime between bouts thus far, including plenty of house DJ work that’s about as creative as a “Got any excuses tonight, Roy?” jokes about missing Showtime commentator Antonio Tarver.
Before the main event, Michael Finney had some work cut out from him against Joel Vargas, who came out swinging in the 1st as if he knew time was limited one way or another. Finney fought at a measured pace, but nailed Vargas with longer, straighter shots as action warmed up. Vargas wasn’t messing around in going to the body though, and the two traded hooks at a few points. Round 2 began with a more countering-friendly tip, but Finney cracked Vargas to the body with body hands and with right uppercuts, and for the most part didn’t let up. A right hand from Vargas opened a cut on Finney’s left eyebrow, though Vargas appeared winded, and likely from the downstairs business.
Wider and wider came Vargas’ punches, and he was meeting right hand counters head-on throughout much of Round 3. To begin the 4th, Finney’s foot was tangled with the referee’s causing him to stumble and subsequently eat a number of sloppy ones from Vargas. Finney righted things though, evening matters with his own body work, though he took a few firm rights before round’s end. Vargas seemed to get the crowd behind him with some clowning, and admittedly he was hanging tough when he could.
Finney scored a unanimous decision, climbing to 9-0 (7 KO), while Vargas falls to 3-7-1 (3 KO).