By Keith Idec
Jessie Vargas’ manager usually doesn't partake in hyping fights.
Cameron Dunkin isn’t known for bold predictions or for talking trash about his fighters’ opponents. Dunkin almost always is a bundle of nerves when big fights approach.
That’s why when he spoke so confidently during a conference call held Thursday to discuss the Vargas-Manny Pacquiao fight that Bob Arum joked, “Cameron, you should speak more often.”
Based on the differences Dunkin has noticed in Las Vegas’ Vargas during this training camp, he is convinced Vargas will upset Pacquiao, a 7-1 favorite, when they fight November 5 at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
“Jessie, when I started managing him, this is all he talked about,” Dunkin said. “He talked about wanting to be at this level, wanting to be at the highest level. And thank you, Bob [Arum] for putting him here. He really deserves it. He’s getting better every fight.
“And I think there’s a shocker coming with him. I really believe he’s gonna win this fight. I mean, I really believe he’s gonna win this fight. And he’s so dedicated, he’s training so hard, he’s so focused. And like I said, he’s getting better every single fight. And I just think there’s going to be some surprised people. As you know, when this was announced, everybody was like, ‘Oh no! Oh no! Not Jessie!’ Well, they’re gonna have a lot of Jessie on the fifth.”
The 27-year-old Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) is the defending WBO welterweight champion, but generally is not considered powerful enough or good enough to knock off even this 37-year-old version of the Filipino superstar.
He is, however, coming off an impressive performance against Brooklyn’s Sadam Ali (23-1, 13 KOs). He dropped Ali, a 2012 American Olympian, twice during their March 5 fight in Washington, D.C., where he won by ninth-round technical knockout to become a two-division champion.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.