Jessie Vargas respects Mikey Garcia, but he feels that he has the superior skills needed to stop the much smaller Garcia in his tracks when they faceoff Feb. 29 in Texas.
“My technique and speed is going to be a key factor and benefit for me. I feel that I’m the faster fighter, and I have to use that to my advantage,” Vargas told BoxingScene.com in an interview.
“I have to make sure to use my size advantage … I have to make sure to fight my fight and not pay attention to how other fighters fought him. Styles make fights, but I will look at some tape to capitalize on his mistakes.”
The 30-year-old Vargas’ (29-2-2, 11 KOs) two career losses have come to the hands of Manny Pacquiao in 2016 and Timothy Bradley Jr. in 2015. He knows that a career-best victory over the 32-year-old Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs) will put him in a prime position to take yet another step up in fighting a name and game opponent.
“Whoever is victorious will have big things ahead of them, and I plan to be that man, and get a world title shot after it,” said Vargas. “This fight is going to elevate both of our games. I just have to work really hard. The sky's the limit.”
Vargas is a 12-year professional who is based in Las Vegas. He said he’s making extra sacrifices to make the 147-pound limit. His last fight against Humberto Soto in April, a sixth-round stoppage, came at a 151-pound catchweight.
If Vargas is victorious against Garcia, his next big shot might have to come as a super welterweight.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at email@example.com.