History | Aug 26 2017

On This Day: Fernando Vargas spits on Ross Thompson during grudge match thrashing

Matt Christie reflects on the spiteful August 26, 2000 events between Fernando Vargas and Ross Thompson
Fernando Vargas
Fernando-Vargas  |  Action Images/Reuters/Steve Marcus

1.WHAT started out as a routine defence for IBF light-middleweight champion Fernando Vargas against Ross Thompson escalated into a grudge match as their August 26, 2000 scrap approached. The challenger – a hefty 15-1 underdog – took offence to Vargas’ earlier comments stating he had never heard of Thompson. “Who is this guy?” the champion asked.

2. THOMPSON, the undeserving mandatory challenger, boiled over at the final press conference two days before the fight. After labelling the unbeaten star “all hype”, “overrated”, and a “bum”, he launched across the table in an attempt to punch him. He was then knocked off the platform by a counter left hand from Vargas. Thompson was raging. He flew back on stage and fired a shot at promoter Gary Shaw that drew blood.

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