The co-feature has been solidified for Showtime’s telecast headlined by Jermall Charlo and Juan Macias Montiel on June 19.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that Mexican lightweights Isaac Cruz and Francisco Vargas have agreed to meet in a 10-round fight that night at a venue to be announced in Houston, Charlo’s hometown. Cruz-Vargas will be part of a three-bout broadcast.
Mexico City’s Cruz (21-1-1, 15 KOs) topped previously unbeaten Argentinean Jose Matias Romero (24-1, 8 KOs) by unanimous decision in his most recent fight. Showtime televised that 12-rounder March 13 from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
In Cruz’s previous appearance, he knocked out Las Vegas’ Diego Magdaleno (32-4, 13 KOs) in the first round October 31 on the Gervonta Davis-Leo Santa Cruz pay-per-view undercard at Alamodome in San Antonio.
The 24-year-old Cruz is the IBF’s second-ranked contender for its lightweight champion, Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs). Lopez will make a mandated defense of his IBF belt June 19 against Australia’s George Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs), thus Cruz must remain active against other opponents and continue winning to get a shot at that title.
Cruz also is ranked third by the WBA and 13th by the WBO. Lopez owns the WBA’s “super” championship in the 135-pound division, too.
The 36-year-old Vargas is a faded former 130-pound champion who has won back-to-back bouts by technical knockout against unknown opponents since Mexican rival Miguel Berchelt stopped him in their rematch two years ago.
Mexico City’s Vargas has lost only twice during his 11-year career, though, both times to Berchelt (38-2, 34 KOs) in WBC super featherweight title fights.
Berchelt beat the 2008 Olympian by technical knockout after the sixth round of their rematch in May 2019 at the Tucson Convention Center in Tucson, Arizona. Vargas (27-2-2, 19 KOs) was an undefeated champion when Berchelt knocked him out in the 11th round of their first fight in January 2017 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
The strong, younger Cruz should be a heavy favorite to beat Vargas, who tends to cut easily. Mexico’s Montiel (22-4-2, 22 KOs), the WBC’s fourth-rated middleweight contender, also is a big underdog in his 12-round fight against Charlo (31-0, 22 KOs), who will make his fifth defense of the WBC 160-pound championship.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.