FRISCO, Texas – Jessie Vargas wasn’t necessarily surprised that Mikey Garcia decided to remain at welterweight.
Vargas just thinks the former four-division champion made an enormous mistake by choosing him as the opponent for Garcia’s second fight at the 147-pound limit. The former WBO welterweight title-holder stands five inches taller than Garcia and is certain that his power will be one of the deciding factors in their 12-round main event Saturday night at Ford Center at The Star, the Dallas Cowboys’ training facility.
“I’m gonna come to win and I’m sure he’s gonna give it his all as well,” Vargas told BoxingScene.com. “But I’m gonna make sure he feels my power. I’m gonna be the faster man and not only the faster man, but the stronger man. And I’ll make sure to use my intelligence, my ring IQ, inside the ring.”
The 30-year-old Vargas has knocked out only 33 percent of his pro opponents. The 5-feet-11 Vargas has a significant size advantage, however, and has fought at welterweight for nearly five years.
The 32-year-old Garcia, meanwhile, hasn’t boxed in nearly a year.
In his last fight, Garcia’s welterweight debut, IBF/WBC 147-pound champion Errol Spence Jr. (26-0, 21 KOs) soundly defeated him in a 12-round bout. The bigger, stronger Spence won all 12 rounds on each judge’s scorecard last March 16 at the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in nearby Arlington.
Vargas suspects that the one-sided nature of Garcia’s loss to Spence has impacted his confidence about succeeding within the welterweight division.
“I’m sure he has his doubts on how he’s gonna feel fighting at welterweight again,” Vargas said. “But he decided to come back for his second fight at welterweight with the wrong fighter, and I’m gonna prove it come February 29th. He’s a good fighter. I take nothing away from him. I’m making sure I don’t underestimate him based on his size. But I’m coming in 100 percent. I’m strong, I’m fast.”
The bout between Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs), of Moreno, Valley, California, and Las Vegas’ Vargas (29-2-2, 11 KOs) will headline DAZN’s stream in the United States (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) and a Sky Sports telecast in the United Kingdom (1 a.m. GMT). In the 12-round, co-featured fight, England’s Kal Yafai (26-0, 15 KOs) will defend his WBA world super flyweight title against Nicaragua’s Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (48-2, 40 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.