By Victor Salazar
Washington DC - It may have been one of Jessie Vargas’ last attempt to prove that he belongs at the top of the welterweight division. Vargas was coming off a decision loss to Timothy Bradley where he stunned Bradley late in the 12th round. Referee Pat Russell stopped the fight with 5 seconds to go because he mistakenly thought he heard the final bell.
On Saturday night, Vargas took the first step in getting a rematch with Bradley as he stopped previously undefeated Sadam Ali and won the vacant WBO world welterweight title.
If his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank had his choice, Vargas would be in line to fight the winner of the April 9th’s trilogy fight between Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley.
“Maybe we’ll wait for the Bradley fight so see if we can put Ali in there with the winner of Bradley-Pacquiao,” Arum told BoxingScene.com.
"It’s up to the winner of the fight but it’s definitely the fight I want to make, Vargas vs the winner of Pacquiao-Bradley.”
When Vargas left Mayweather Promotions and signed with Top Rank, Arum saw potential and star power and it all came together on Saturday.
“This was the best performance of his career,” Arum said of Vargas’ performances. “We always knew he had this in him. I think he had a great training camp and it showed in his performance. We knew he had punching power but he could never let his hands go. You seen it in the last round of the Bradley fight that his power was there and you saw it tonight.”
Arum says a lot of credit has to go to trainer Dewey Cooper.
“Trainer deserves tremendous credit. We saw what they were doing in the training camp, they had great chemistry and we knew based off that we felt he was going to put on a performance.”
In terms of fighting another Top Rank fighter, WBO junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford, Arum said, “I got other paths for Crawford.”