Luis Collazo edges Samuel Vargas for third straight victory

Collazo goes the distance with Vargas for third straight win (1:54)

Luis Collazo holds off Samuel Vargas in the Top Rank Boxing co-main event by split decision at the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden. (1:54)

Former welterweight titleholder Luis Collazo, blood streaming down his face from a cut over his left eye for much of the later rounds, stayed relevant with a split decision over Samuel Vargas in a hard-fought, 10-round battle. Two judges scored the fight for Collazo 96-94 and 98-92 and the third went for Vargas 96-94.

It was a toe-to-toe fight for most of the first half of the fight. Vargas, a Colombian living in Toronto, bullied Collazo into the ropes and whacked away with body shots from both hands.

Collazo (39-7, 20 KOs) of Brooklyn, New York, ripped home accurate counters to the head, making good use of his left hook. The fighters traded rounds back and forth, with both having moments of success.

As the fight progressed, Collazo began to use crafty legwork to prevent Vargas (30-5-2 14 KOs) from pinning him on the ropes. He boxed at long range and landed enough punches to stay ahead.

Both fighters shared in the applause at the final bell. It was, however, Collazo's veteran wiles that allowed him to outpoint his younger opponent and keep his 19-year career alive.

The 37-year-old Collazo won a welterweight title by decision over Jose Antonio Rivera in April 2005, but lost it to Ricky Hatton in his second defense in May 2006. He's had three title shots since then, but lost all three. He's hoping that the victory over Vargas will lead to a final shot at a title.

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    Mojica bloodied Barnes' nose with a left hook in the first round and knocked him down in the second with a left hook to the liver. Barnes, his face covered in blood, rallied in the second half of the fight, but couldn't overcome Mojica's early lead.

  • Junior welterweight John Bauza (12-0, 5 KOs), 20, of North Bergen, New Jersey, dominated Ricardo Maldonado (8-9-1, 1 KO) 30, of Arlington, Washington, to win a unanimous six-round decision by scores of 60-54, 60-54 and 60-54. Maldonado, who suffered a bloody nose, was game but outclassed.

  • Vladimir Nikitin (3-0), who won a controversial decision over Michael Conlan in the 2016 Summer Olympics, tallied a six-round majority decision over Juan Tapia (8-3, 3 KOs) of Brownsville, Texas, by scores of 59-57, 59-57 and 57-57 in a featherweight bout. Tapia gave Nikitin, of Verkhnyaya Maksakovka, Russia, a tough fight that featured a number of give-and-take exchanges.

  • Joseph Adorno (12-0, 5 KOs), 20, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, won a six-round unanimous decision over Victor Rosas (10-9, 4 KOs), 30, of Laredo, Texas, by scores of 58-54, 58-54 and 58-54.

    Adorno was content to lie back and look for a big punch for much of the fight, but didn't find it until the fifth round, when he clipped Rosas with a left hook for a flash knockdown.

    Rosas went all out in the sixth to salvage the fight, but although he outworked Adorno, it wasn't enough to overcome Adorno's lead.

  • In a battle of left-handed junior welterweights, Lee Reeves (3-0, 2 KOs), 24, of Limerick, Ireland, won a unanimous four-round decision over Edward Torres (1-2) of Dallas. Torres landed well at times, but Reeves' greater volume gave him an edge in every round.