During their pre-fight weigh-in on Friday, Jessie Vargas promised to wipe the smile from Liam “Beefy” Smith’s face.
Maybe that’s why Smith smiled after each round because Vargas couldn’t do anything about it.
Smith (32-3-1, 18 KOs) systematically dismantled Vargas (29-4-2, 11 KOs) in the tenth round of their 12-round junior middleweight contest on the Katie Taylor-Amanda Serrano undercard at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
Smith took the position of the stalker in the opening round, slamming Vargas in the face with a right in the dying seconds of the round. After the second, Smith took command.
Vargas had little choice but to grab and try to be useful from the outside. He tapped Smith several times, however, most of the taps were on Smith’s gloves. The very passionate Smith crowd began roaring for Smith with 1:20 left in the third, and Smith appeared to be listening because he seemed to step up his attack and had Vargas trapped against the ropes in the last 40 seconds.
Smith popped Vargas with a right uppercut with 1:16 left in the fourth, with Vargas’ back against the ropes once more. Vargas, on the other hand, was able to counter some of Smith’s attacks from the ropes, catching him and cutting his right eye. Vargas, on the other hand, had a cut on his left eye.
By the fifth round, both fighters’ white trunks had turned reddish. Smith continued to use his right hand to assault Vargas’ left eye cut, and he made sure to end the round smiling in Vargas’ face, a dare Vargas had issued during their furious weigh-in.
The early half of the sixth round was controlled by Smith. He continued to use the overhand right, as well as left and right uppercuts. In the closing 10 seconds of the sixth, Smith appeared to have Vargas in serious danger.
As he returned to his corner after the round, the Brit finished the round with a smile on his face and called to his fans.
The concept of the first six rounds continued in the seventh round. Vargas was getting rocked through his high guard with cleaving uppercuts until Smith crowded him. Smith had put on an extraordinarily dominating performance up to that time.
Smith got off to a good start in the eighth, striking Vargas repeatedly. With every punch he threw, he couldn’t help but hit Vargas.
As Smith hammered on Vargas, referee Steve Willis began gazing in carefully, unable to do anything to keep Smith off of him.
It was getting to the point where Vargas’ corner had to consider calling it a day.
Vargas’ white shorts had turned the same color as his waistband. With 45 seconds left in the ninth, an attacking Smith had Vargas reeling backward and taking additional punishment, thanks to left hooks to the body and head. Willis re-entered the room.
Vargas’ corner, which included all-time great Nonito Donaire, saw enough in the first minute of the tenth and waved it over at the same time Willis intervened.
At 10:41 p.m. on the 10th, the game was officially over.