By Keith Idec
Jessie Vargas’ significant size advantage over Adrien Broner was on full display after they made weight Friday afternoon in Brooklyn.
The 5-feet-10 Vargas towered over the 5-feet-6 Broner as they stood face-to-face and playfully talked trash one last time before their 12-round, 144-pound main event Saturday night at Barclays Center (Showtime).
Las Vegas’ Vargas, who came down three pounds from the welterweight limit for the opportunity to box Broner, got on the New York State Athletic Commission’s scale at 143¾ pounds. Cincinnati’s Broner officially weighed 144 pounds after stripping naked because he was 144.2 pounds on his first trip to the scale.
“I’ve never missed weight and this wasn’t gonna be any different,” Vargas told Showtime’s Steve Farhood after making weight. “I’m hungry, I’m thirsty and the minute I saw that I hit 144, or 143.8, I was excited because now I can rehydrate and I’m looking forward to this fight. All the hard work is done. Now, all I’ve gotta do is have fun Saturday night, enjoy myself, entertain my fans, and it’s gonna be a lovely night.”
Broner was supposed to oppose Omar Figueroa Jr. in the main event Saturday night. He agreed to fight Vargas last month once Figueroa (27-0-1, 19 KOs) pulled out of what was scheduled as a 12-round, 140-pound fight, reportedly due to a shoulder injury.
The 28-year-old Vargas (28-2, 10 KOs) hasn’t boxed below 147 pounds since November 2014. The former WBO welterweight champion still is a slight favorite over Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC), who will try to bounce back from a decisive defeat to undefeated four-division champion Mikey Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs) in their 12-round, 140-pound bout July 29 at Barclays Center.
This is considered a make-or-break bout for the 28-year-old Broner, who continues to draw high ratings for Showtime. Losing to Vargas would mean Broner’s last three fights resulted in defeats to Vargas and Garcia, and a debatable split-decision victory over Adrian Granados (18-5-2, 12 KOs) in February 2017.
“We had a hell of a camp,” Broner said, referring to working with new head trainer Kevin Cunningham for the first time. “It’s very different. It’s my first time doing a full camp for one of my fights with Uncle Kev, is what I call him. Well, Coach Kevin Cunningham, as you know him as. And, you know, it was very militant, but we got through it.”
Before Broner and Vargas weighed in Friday, Jermall Charlo and Hugo Centeno Jr. made weight for the second of three bouts Showtime will televise Saturday night (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Charlo, 27, officially weighed in at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds. Centeno, also 27, stepped on the NYSAC’s scale at 158½ pounds.
The winner between Houston’s Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) and Centeno (26-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC), of Oxnard, California, will win the WBC’s interim middleweight title and become the mandatory challenger for whoever emerges from the Gennady Golovkin-Vanes Martirosyan fight two weeks later. Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) and Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KOs), of Glendale, California, will meet May 5 in an optional defense of Golovkin’s titles at StubHub Center in Carson, California (HBO).
Centeno is a huge underdog against Charlo. Several Internet sports books list Charlo as a 50-1 favorite.
Baltimore’s Gervonta Davis (19-0, 18 KOs) and Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar (28-2, 21 KOs) also made weight without issue Friday for the opener of Showtime’s telecast Saturday night.
Davis, 23, weighed 129 pounds for their 12-round, 130-pound fight for a vacant version of the WBA’s super featherweight title. Cuellar, 31, was 129¼ pounds.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.