eBy Jake Donovan
This weekend’s pay-per-view event at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas may not come with its usual nationwide rebate offer [a rebate is being offered for the Southwest states], but that doesn’t mean Tecate isn’t throwing all of it support behind a Top Rank promotion.
One night prior to Tim Bradley’s welterweight title defense versus Juan Manuel Marquez, the Thomas & Mack Center will play host to the ring return of unbeaten welterweight Jessie Vargas. The local contender takes on Ray Narh in a scheduled 10-round main event which will air live on UniMas – and also come free of charge to all fans in the area wishing to attend the fight.
Tecate serves as the sponsor for both events, but footing the bill for the UniMas card on Friday evening. Free tickets will be available courtesy of local representatives of the beer company to fans interested in attending.
“Tecate has always backed our events. They are a company that makes the greatest beer in the world,” insists Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, before eventually cutting to the chase. “On Friday night, we have a boxing show which Tecate is sponsoring and distributing free tickets to all boxing fans. We’re not charging any admission. Anyone who wants tickets can meet with a Tecate representative and get a free ticket.”
Vargas (22-0, 9KO) fights for the first time since his hard-fought, off-the-canvas points win over Wale Omotoso in a matchup of unbeaten rising welterweights this past March. The bout served as the HBO-televised lead-in to the year’s leading Fight of the Year contender, when Bradley was taken to hell and back in barely outlasting Ruslan Provodnokiv in the first defense of his welterweight belt.
The bout is Vargas’ fourth with Top Rank since signing with the company more than a year ago. Friday marks the third time during that stretch in which he fights during Fight Week of a major pay-per-view event. His Top Rank debut came last September in Las Vegas, airing live in a special edition of ESPN’s boxing series two days prior to Sergio Martinez’ decision win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Three months later, Vargas outpointed Vito Gasparyan in the main event of a card that came the night before Marquez starched Manny Pacquiao in their epic fourth fight.
Narh (26-3, 21KO) has lost two of his last three contests. Sandwiched in between knockout defeats to Mike Alvarado–who faces Provodnikov later this month–and Ray Robinson is his career-best win, an NBC Sports Network-televised upset of Ronald Cruz last September following a 28-month break from the ring.
Also appearing on Friday’s free-to-the-public show is unbeaten prospect Jessie Magdaleno (16-0, 12KO). The local super bantamweight seeks his fourth win of 2013 as he takes on squat Mexican journeyman Raul Hidalgo.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America.