2001-09-22 Fernando Vargas w rsc 7 Jose Flores, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WBA

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2001-09-22 Fernando Vargas w rsc 7 Jose Flores, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WBA. Referee: Joe Cortez. Having lost the WBA title to Felix Trinidad earlier, when the latter handed his belt back in to move up amongst the 160lbs men Vargas (153½) was matched to meet Flores (153½), his former sparring partner, in order to find a new champion. After making a tentative start and being knocked off balance in the second round, Vargas came back immediately with a cracking left uppercut to the head to drop Flores on one knee. Although Vargas was finding it difficult to get himself up for the fight and was being hit more than he would have liked he eventually found the punches to finish it after lambasting Flores throughout the sixth. Coming out for the seventh, it was clear that Flores, his right eye badly swollen, would not be around much longer and after Vargas smashed in blows to head and body he sunk to the floor to be rescued by the referee with one second of the session remaining. Despite the WBA calling it a kayo win for Vargas, the referee actually called the fight off before the count was completed.

On 10 August 2002 at the Gaston Defere Skate Park, Marseilles, France, Santiago Samaniego stopped Mamadou Thiam in the 12th round to land the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title.