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Vargas Beats Wright in Decision

December 5, 1999

LINCOLN CITY, Ore. (AP) _ Fernando Vargas retained the IBF junior middleweight title Saturday night, outpointing Ronald ``Winky″ Wright on a majority decision at Chinook Winds Casino.

Vargas (18-0) was forced to go the distance for the first time in his career, ending his string of 17 knockouts.

Wright (39-3, 24 KOs) fought to a 114-114 draw on one of the judge’s cards. The others had Vargas winning 115-113 and 116-112.

On the undercard bout, Diego Corrales successfully defended his IBF junior lightweight title with a unanimous decision over John Brown.

Wright didn’t back down against Vargas, who was the overwhelming crowd favorite. When Vargas landed a combination to the body in the opening round, Wright stepped back and motioned with his hand at Vargas for more.

In the third, Vargas dodged Wright’s attack on the ropes, bobbing around the left-hander’s punches. But by the sixth, Wright had timed him, and landed a left hook that hurt Vargas. But the challenger didn’t follow up quickly enough, and Vargas came back with a combination just before the bell.

Vargas regained the momentum in the seventh, landing several combinations. But in the ninth, as the crowd began to chant his name, Wright backed Vargas into his own corner and hit him with a straight left that knocked the champion’s mouthpiece out.

This time, Wright followed with a right-left combination before the referee broke them up, and Vargas was allowed to replace his mouthpiece.

Vargas came back and dominated the 10th round, wearing Wright down with left and right uppercuts that had him staggering before the bell sounded. In the 12th, the 21-year-old Vargas tired Wright with precise punches, and Wright didn’t retaliate.

Corrales (30-0), who fought with a torn ligament in his right hand, used his left jab to hold off the scrappy Brown, who won support from the crowd with his aggressive style.

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