Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley was savoring his victory Sunday after he scored a unanimous 12-round decision over previously undefeated Jessie Vargas at StubHub Center to win the interim World Boxing Organization welterweight championship in a fight that ended in confusion.

Referee Pat Russell stepped in between the two fighters with about seven seconds remaining in the 12th round, leading Vargas to believe he was stopping the fight, prompting Vargas to begin celebrating as if he had won.

Russell told HBO’s Max Kellerman “It was very loud in the 12th round and I thought I heard the bell” to signal the end of the round.

“I made the call that I made based on what I heard,” Russell said. “That’s all that I can say. It was an honest call on an honest issue.”

Vargas said Russell made “an honest mistake on his part” in the Saturday night event.

“We all acknowledge that, but those 10 seconds possibly cost me the fight,” Vargas after his record dropped to 26-1.

Vargas said he will request that the California State Athletic Commission and WBO to overturn the result, including trying to have it declared a no contest.

Bradley called Vargas’ attempt to have the result overturned “sour grapes.”

Bradley also dismissed Vargas’ request for an immediate rematch.

“I’m not in the rematch business,” Bradley said.

Vargas rocked Bradley with a punch to the chin in the final 30 seconds and continued to pursue him.

Bradley called the punch “a great shot” that hurt him, “but I would have finished.”

“I held on to him,” Bradley said. “I was squeezing him so tight like his mom was hugging him.”

Bradley won 116-112 on judge Max DeLuca’s scorecard, 117-111 on Rocky Young’s and 115-112 on Kermit Bayless’ to win his fifth world title. There were no knockdowns.

Bradley connected on 232 of the 676 punches he threw, 34 percent, according to statistics compiled by CompuBox. Vargas connected on 203 of 630 punches, 32 percent.

The world championship is the fifth for Bradley (32-1-1 with one no contest and 12 knockouts). The 31-year-old from Palm Springs has also held versions of the super lightweight and junior welterweight titles.

Bradley said before the fight this title would be for the youngest of his five children, a son born three months ago.

“I got a vision in mind of what I want my Christmas cards to look like,” Bradley said at Thursday’s news conference at StubHub Center.

“I want all my kids wearing a strap,” Bradley said, referring to the championship belts given for world titles. “That’s what I want. I’m envisioning that in my head and that’s going to make me fight even harder.”

The victory ended Bradley’s first two-fight winless streak of his professional career. He lost to Manny Pacquiao on a unanimous decision on April 12, 2014.

In Bradley’s next fight, he fought Diego Chaves to a split draw on Dec. 13. Each fighter won on one of the judges’ scorecards and the third scored the fight, 114-114.

Vargas, a 26-year-old who was born in Los Angeles and lives in Las Vegas, has held the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Organization light welterweight titles.

—City News Service

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