ANALYSIS: What went wrong in Magsayo’s title defense vs Vargas

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 13 2022 05:52 AM

Filipino boxer Mark Magsayo ahead of his WBC featherweight title defense against Mexico's Rey Vargas in San Antonio, Texas. Rey Vargas won by split decision and became the new champion. Ryan Hafey / Premier Boxing Champions
Filipino boxer Mark Magsayo ahead of his WBC featherweight title defense against Mexico's Rey Vargas in San Antonio, Texas. Rey Vargas won by split decision and became the new champion. Ryan Hafey / Premier Boxing Champions

Conditioning remains to be a problem for Mark Magsayo.

Fight commentator Nissi Icasiano felt that the Filipino boxer could have finished his challenger Rey Vargas if he did not fade in the later rounds of their WBC featherweight title bout over the weekend.

"The very obvious (issue) is his conditioning. It was a problem during his fight against Julio Ceja fight and Gary Russell," cited the analyst. "In this fight against Vargas, nagpakita ito ulit e."

Icasiano said Magsayo, who failed to defend his crown, was starting to lose steam against Vargas in the 6th of their 12-round title tiff.

Magsayo was able to knockdown Vargas in the 9th, but did not have enough strength to finish the Mexican off.

"Especially when he made the knock down in the 9th round as it seemed he didn't have enough energy to make a follow up e. There are moments after the 6th round when his explosiveness was no longer there," he said.

"It's something that he and coach Freddie Roach have to revisit because Mark is now fighting at the upper echelon of the 126 pounds."

Another factor that led to Magsayo's defeat was Vargas' height and reach advantage.

While Magsayo was able to land heavy shots in the first two rounds, the 5-foot-11 Vargas was able to make adjustments with his range.

"(Magsayo) had a decent first 2 rounds and did what he needed to do as a defending champion. He pressed the action, even bombarded Rey Vargas with his signature right hand and hooks," said Icasiano.

"The problem was when Vargas made adjustments starting in the third round and found the beauty of his range... Rey Vargas used his range efficiently and made Magsayo miss on several occasions. His unique physical attribute gave Rey Vargas the benefit of foresight."

As a result, Vargas walked away with a split decision win over Magsayo. He became the new WBC featherweight champion.

Still, Magsayo's effort was admirable.

"It's unfortunate he fell short in his bid to extend his reign as WBC champion. Sa akin it still deserves our admiration," said Icasiano.