TSL Presents: Takeaways From An Explosive Weekend In Combat Sports

If you missed the 4/20 weekend of combat sports then you also missed living your best life. Both boxing and MMA delivered knockouts and as usual Adrien Broner was his gloriously ratchet self. Can someone scream WORLDSTAR!

Four-division world champion Adrien “AB” Broner and two-division world champion Jessie Vargas fought to a highly entertaining 12-round majority draw Saturday night in front of 13,964 fans at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The back-and-forth battle was a tale of activity vs. accuracy. Vargas was by far the more active fighter, throwing 839 total punches, 300 more than his opponent. Yet the flashy Broner was supremely accurate, connecting on 44 percent of his power shots and 38 percent of his total punches, compared to just 27 and 24, respectively, for Vargas.

Many fans were frustrated that Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) came on strong in the second half of the fight, picking up rounds eight through 10 on all three of the judges’ scorecards. Broner came off the stool last every round and attempted to steal rounds with late action towards the latter half of each round. The 12th round was crucial in determining the draw, which was scored 115-113 Broner by judge Julie Lederman and 114-114 twice. The judges agreed on eight of the 12 rounds but couldn’t agree on the final round, which was ruled differently by the two judges who scored the fight a draw.

Vargas (28-2-1, 10 KOs) worked off the jab and was incredibly effective with his body shots in just his second fight with trainer and former world champion Mike “The Body Snatcher” McCallum.

Former 154-pound champion Jermall Charlo sent a statement to the middleweight division in the co-main event, knocking out previously once-beaten Centeno Jr. to capture the interim WBC 160-pound title. Charlo is now the mandatory for Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and didn’t shy away from calling out the WBC, WBA and IBF Middleweight World Champion.

Jermall Charlo KOs Hugo Centeno Jr. | SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

Jermall Charlo remains undefeated as he knocks out Hugo Centeno Jr. in round 2 to claim the WBC’s interim 160-lb title.

“It’s been an amazing journey to get here,” said Charlo, the twin brother of WBC 154-pound champion Jermell Charlo. “I’m a two-time world champion. Bring on ‘GGG.’ I want that fight. I’m 27-0 with 21 knockouts. Everybody sees it. What more can I say?”

Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs) proved that his power translates to middleweight as he knocked out his second opponent since relinquishing his title and moving to 160 pounds. The Houston native has now won via knockout in five of his six bouts since initially becoming champion in 2015. A series of shots opened up a huge left hook in the opening minute of the second round, flooring Centeno (26-2, 14 KOs), who failed to beat the 10-count and was counted out at :55.

Gervonta Davis became a two-time world champion, righting the wrongs of his failed weight cut for his fight on the Mayweather vs. McGregor undercard. In empathic fashion, the Baltimore native won via third-round TKO of former champion Jesus Cuellar to capture the vacant WBA 130-pound World Championship.

Gervonta Davis defeats Jesus Cuellar via TKO | SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

Gervonta “Tank” Davis becomes a two-time world champion as he defeats Jesus Cuellar via TKO in round 3.

The undefeated Davis (20-0, 19 KOs), who lost the IBF 130-pound title on the scales last August, scored three knockdowns in less than three rounds to win his second title in the super featherweight division. The 23-year-old connected on 49 percent of his power shots in his first bout with new trainer Kevin Cunningham.

“On the undercard of the Mayweather-McGregor fight, I just wasn’t focused,” Davis said. “It was the second time fighting on Mayweather’s card so it got to my head and it showed. After the fight, I went home and talked to my team and we decided it was time to leave Baltimore. I’m focused and it showed because I’m a champ again.

Davis utilized a combination of body shots, uppercuts and effective counterpunching to break down Cuellar, a former titlist at 126-pounds. Baltimore’s Davis floored Cuellar with a body blow in the second round and didn’t relent from there. The southpaw pressed forward in the third, stalking Cuellar against the ropes and sending him down for the second time with a series of combinations. Cuellar (28-3, 21 KOs) got up, but was in serious trouble and referee Benjy Esteves stepped in to halt the contest at 2:45 with the Argentine falling to the canvas for the third time.

“I want the IBF belt back and I’m ready to unify it with whoever wins the [Tevin] Farmer vs. [Billy] Dib fight.”

In MMA, Kevin Lee (17-3) dominated Barboza (19-6 MMA, 13-6 UFC), save for a third-round spinning head kick that landed for Barboza, en route to a fifth-round TKO stoppage when the cageside doctor waved the fight off due to a big cut over Barbozas right eye. The end came at the 2:18 mark of the final frame.

The catchweight bout (Lee missed the lightweight limit) was the main event of UFC Fight Night 128 show at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.