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Sunday, 15 September, 2002, 06:46 GMT 07:46 UK
De la Hoya wins grudge match
De la Hoya (right) rocks Fernando Vargas with a left hook
De la Hoya (right) proved too good for Vargas

Oscar de la Hoya beat bitter rival Fernando Vargas by TKO in the 11th round of their WBA and WBC light middleweight world title fight.

The fight was even until the 10th when De la Hoya wobbled Vargas right on the bell.

In the 11th he knocked him down for the first time with a perfect left hook and when Vargas got up he was pinned in a corner by a barrage of blows.

Referee Joe Cortez stopped the fight and there were no complaints.


Vargas was a very, very strong puncher
Winning fighter
Oscar de la Hoya

The end came after a fight that saw both fighters take the advantage at various times before a passionate crowd of 11,425 at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino in Las Vegas.

De La Hoya was ahead on two scorecards and behind on the third when he caught Vargas.

De La Hoya not only retained his WBC title, but added the WBA title Vargas held and came out on top in the bitter feud between the two rivals from the Los Angeles area.

"Vargas was a very, very strong puncher," De la Hoya said.

"I had to be patient, go to the body, feint, use combinations. The strength really surprised me."

Fernando Vargas (right) pins Oscar de la Hoya on the ropes
Fernando Vargas (right) had his moments
Vargas had said he would rather die in the ring than lose and he never gave up.

But he was defenceless in De la Hoya's corner and taking a beating when Cortez finally stopped it.

Both fighters were bleeding and both were landing big punches, but De la Hoya turned the fight around after a bad fifth round.

He was the stronger and faster fighter from then on.

Vargas had seemed to be on the verge of dominating the fight in the fifth when he landed right hand after right hand to De la Hoya's head.

But the older man reached deep into his reserves and secured a sweet victory which takes his career record to 35 wins and two defeats.

Vargas now has 22 wins and two defeats.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
WBC champion Oscar De La Hoya
"Now I want to secure my boxing legacy"
BBC Sport Online has indepth coverage of the world light-middleweight title fight between Oscar de la Hoya and Fernando Vargas.

The fight

Profiles

Our Man in Vegas

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