Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley scored a unanimous 12-round decision over previously undefeated Jessie Vargas Saturday night at StubHub Center to win the interim World Boxing Organization welterweight championship.
Bradley won 116-112 on judge Max DeLuca’s scorecard, 117-111 on Rocky Young’s and 115-112 on Kermit Bayless’. There were no knockdowns.
Vargas appeared to rock Bradley with a punch to the chin in the final 30 seconds and continued to pursue him. Referee Pat Russell stepped in between the two fighters with about seven seconds remaining in the round, leading Vargas to believe he was stopping the fight, prompting Vargas to begin celebrating.
Russell explained to HBO’s Max Kellerman that he thought he had heard the bell to signal the end of the round.
“I made the call that I made based on what I heard,” Russell said. “That’s all that I can say. It was an honest call.”
The world championship is the fifth for the Bradley (32-1-1 with one no contest and 12 knockouts). The 31-year-old has also held versions of the super lightweight and junior welterweight titles.
Vargas’ record drops to 26-1. The 26-year-old has held the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Organization light welterweight titles.
Bradley said before the fight this title would be for the youngest of his five children, a son born three months ago.
“I got a vision in mind of what I want my Christmas cards to look like,” Bradley said at Thursday’s news conference at StubHub Center.
“I want all my kids wearing a strap,” Bradley said, referring to the championship belts given for world titles. “That’s what I want. I’m envisioning that in my head and that’s going to make me fight even harder.”
The victory ended Bradley’s first two-fight winless streak of his professional career. He lost to Manny Pacquiao on a unanimous decision on April 12, 2014.
In Bradley’s next fight, he fought Diego Chaves to a split draw on Dec. 13. Each fighter won on one of the judges’ scorecards and the third scored the fight, 114-114.