By Jake Donovan
Talks have surfaced of unbeaten prospect Jessie Vargas landing the opening slot of the May 5 pay-per-view event headlined by his mentor and promoter Floyd Mayweather Jr, who faces Miguel Cotto.
Vargas acknowledges the fact that his name has been linked to the show but would much rather focus on the present and his Shobox headliner on February 24 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in his Las Vegas hometown.
More specifically, the 22-year old rising star would love to know who the hell will be standing in the opposite corner come fight night.
“We’ve been training hard for seven weeks for this fight, and I still have no idea who I’m fighting,” Vargas told Boxingscene.com on Sunday evening, 12 days away from fight night. “I’ve heard about the guys that didn’t want to fight me. I’m not worried. We have a great time, and I’m confident they will find someone to step up.”
Vargas will appear in the ring for the first time since his 10-round war with Josesito Lopez last September, in which he survived his toughest test in taking a hard-fought split decision. The bout served as the televised pay-per-view opener to Mayweather’s 4th round knockout of Victor Ortiz.
Rest and relaxation was on the itinerary for the remainder of 2011 for Vargas before focusing on his 2012 campaign. The hunt has been on since early January for what marks the Showtime-televised debut for Vargas, who was a member of the 2008 Mexico Olympic boxing squad before turning pro later that year.
Difficulties in landing an opponent in timely fashion has been a recurring theme in his career, to where he’s grown accustomed to it by now.
“I’m kind of used to it, to be honest,” Vargas says. “Ever since my 6th fight or so, it’s always happened where two or three opponents will pull out and we don’t know who we’re fighting until less than a month before the fight. It doesn’t matter. Whoever showed up, we always performed and put on a show. February 24 won’t be any different.”
The only frustration this time around is that it serves as an unnecessary hurdle in looking down the road.
“Of course we have plans for down the road. But first thing’s first and we still have to take care of things on February 24. But I have my own ideas for May 5. Robert Guerrero is calling out a lot of guys. He was calling out Floyd, but you have to make a statement first before you get the best. I’d love that fight. If you (Guerrero) like it, let’s make it happen.”
First, Vargas and his handlers have to make a fight happen on February 24. They have the slot, but now just need to fill in the blank.
“Whoever it is, I just want a solid fight,” said Vargas, who will be campaigning at the welterweight limit. “It’s our first Showtime fight, and we’re headlining. Whoever my handlers find for me, I promise that we will make a statement.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected].