Jessie Vargas Vows To Beat Broner, Doubts Thurman Steps Up


By Thomas Gerbasi

After a victorious return to the ring in December after a 13-month layoff from the ring, former two-division world champion Jessie Vargas expected to take a couple months off from serious training, but his team told him to stay ready just in case something came together sooner than expected.

He did. Then the phone rang with the type of fight he was hoping for – an April 21 main event in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center against Adrien Broner.

“The minute I got the call, it was perfect for me,” said Vargas, who replaced Omar Figueroa against Broner. “I don’t like long training camps. I’m not one of those fighters anymore. I am old enough and mature enough to really adapt my body and I don’t need long camps. They can affect me more than benefit me, and for that reason, short camps are always more beneficial. I push it to the limit, and when you do it for so long, it can affect you. Seven weeks to prepare for this fight is all I need to perform at my best. That’s what I had when I fought Sadam Ali. Sometimes when you’re young, you’re so anxious and you push it so hard that sometimes it works against you.”

Those are the words of an experienced fighter who has seen it all in the ring, and while Vargas hasn’t seen everything since turning pro in 2008, he likely has more notches on his experience belt than most 28-year-olds. Yes, despite it feeling like Vargas has been around forever, he hasn’t even reached 30 yet. 

“(Mayweather Promotions CEO) Leonard Ellerbe said it best, he’s like, ‘Man, you’re a young veteran.’ And I said, ‘You know what, you’re right,’” Vargas laughs. “I’m a veteran because I gained a lot of knowledge and experience throughout the years, and I was thrown in with the wolves early on in big fights and I had to learn as I went. That’s what I did, and now I feel that I’m an accomplished fighter, I know what I want, I know the style that I have, and my strengths, which are many. It has to do with the team as well. If you don’t have a good team behind you that you trust, it makes it more difficult. Thankfully Mike is a very good trainer, very knowledgeable, and I have a good team behind me.”

Mike is Mike McCallum, the legendary “Bodysnatcher” who won world titles in three weight classes en route to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and in his first full camp with Vargas, the Las Vegan is excited to be taking his game to the next level alongside one of the sport’s greats.

“We’re doing a great job together,” Vargas said. “He’s bringing out the best in me, he’s perfecting some things that could have been done better, and I’m very happy to have the team that I have. Mike was a tremendous fighter himself and a three-division world champion. He has several strengths in his style that he’s bringing over to me. The confidence inside that ring is one, and there’s the thinking game. I’ve always been the type to accept that boxing is a thinking man’s game, but when it comes to Mike, he was above and beyond when it comes to that. He really thought things through, and he reminded me what it takes to stay composed and to keep winning every round.”


If McCallum can keep Vargas on the track he’s on and also evolve his attack, the potential for big things in the sport’s hottest division is huge for the 28-2 fighter who is a dark horse at 147 pounds despite a body of work that includes wins over Josesito Lopez, Antonio DeMarco and Sadam Ali, as well as high-profile bouts against Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley. That status as the “under the radar” guy may explain why Vargas has a different view than most when it comes to the development of a fighter.

“It’s gonna help your fan base if you’re at 30-0 with 30 knockouts, because people are gonna say, ‘Damn, this guy is a killer,’” he explains. “But then who has he been up against? I feel proud to have been brought up the hard way, but if I was a promoter, I’d probably choose the route that everyone else is taking. No one really acknowledges the fact that you beat this guy and that guy when you were 7-0 or 8-0. It’s rare. A lot of the fights I’ve been in, I challenged undefeated fighters and I took them down and they were actually entertaining fights. I’ve always been proud to present myself as an entertaining fighter and a fan-pleaser. But at the end of the day, your first 20 fights, no one really pays attention. But I was glad I was able to learn early on and all those experiences made me the fighter that I am today and for that reason, I wouldn’t change anything.”

At the very least, Vargas is confident that his fighting education will serve him well as he approaches his prime years, and he’s confident that he’s going to get the ball rolling with a win on April 21 against an enigma who did throw a curve ball at him by taking the bout.

“I was surprised that he accepted the fight,” Vargas said of Broner. “Just thinking that (Keith) Thurman refused to fight me because he was advised not to, according to him, it says a lot about Broner and, for that, I’ve got to respect him and give him credit. It still doesn’t change anything about me coming April 21 to beat him, but I do give him credit. He is a fan-pleaser and an entertainer, and I am as well. We both acknowledge that this is an entertaining fight for the fans, and I’m coming to win for sure.”

With a win, Vargas will likely have a very interesting rest of 2018, a time in which he hopes to get a shot at some gold, particularly the belts held by Mr. Thurman.

“On April 22 I look forward to being with my family and celebrating and leaving it (the future) all to my advisors,” he said. “I have them next to me and they have my back for a reason. I trust them and whatever decision they make for my next fight and what route we’re gonna take, I’m gonna respect it and I’m gonna go that way. If it was up to me, I’d love to have those WBC and WBA titles. He (Thurman) has two of them and we can kill two birds with one stone – I want both of those titles and one fight will give them both to me. But he did refuse to fight me in the past and I’m not sure if he’ll be willing to fight me after I beat Broner either.”

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by siablo14 on 04-05-2018

Strip Thurman and allow him to be first in line to fight for the titles when he gets back.

Comment by John Locke on 04-05-2018

[QUOTE=OctoberRed;18638838]Didn't confuse me. Broner accepted on short notice, while Thurman ran for the hills.[/QUOTE] retarded comment

Comment by Metho_4u on 04-05-2018

Lol delusional kid still talking...

Comment by Herdis on 04-05-2018

**** off you ****

Comment by Boxfan83 on 04-05-2018

[QUOTE=LetOutTheCage;18642302]What does that have to do with what I said? Thurman dances rings around this guy and punishes his mistakes[/QUOTE] Jessies only lost to guys that brought it to him. Thurman fights similar to Sadam Ali. Of course i think…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (25)
Top Headlines Machado: Everyone Knows I'm Real WBA Champ, Not Gervonta Davis Tommy Fury, Tyson's Brother, Aims To Be a World Champion Anthony Yigit Warns Ivan Baranchyk To Expect To Get Shocked Brant's Promoter Says Murata Rematch is Real Possibility Neeco Macias vs. Jesus Soto Karass - Nov. 8, Golden Boy on ESPN Christopher Diaz is Back: November 24 in San Juan, Puerto Rico Canelo, Golden Boy Deal Extended By Four Fights, Says Gomez Photos: Hughie Fury Hits Sofia as Kubrat Pulev Clash Looms Photos: Sullivan Barrera, Seanie Monaghan - Putting in Work Hearn: How Can Mayweather Hold Back Davis From Making More Money? Hughie Fury Not Bothered By Likely Hostile Crowd in Sofia Michael Conlan Officially Added To Frampton-Warrington Card UK News: Tommy Fury Debut, Jack Brubaker, Bob Yalen Jake Ball Injured, Withdraws From Craig Richards Fight Pacquiao: I Want To Face Top PBC Fighters For Rest of Career Arsen Goulamirian Breaks Down, Stops Mark Flanagan in Nine Gloferson Ortizo Secures Split Nod Win Over Mario Esparza Felix Cash Goes For WBC Regional Title at Copper Box Arena Jorge Linares Likely To Return on Canelo-Fielding Undercard Hearn Agrees With Arum on Showtime Leaving Boxing like HBO Canelo On Cut Over Left Eye: If It Opens Up, We'll Close It Again Rodriguez-Moloney, Dorticos-Masternak: WBSS Afterthoughts Hearn: If Wilder-Fury Does 1 Million+ Buys, I'll Give Wilder 50-50 Frank Warren: I Thought We Had Deal For Yarde-Monaghan DeGale: I Finally Get a Chance To Outclass Eubank, Shut Him Up Wilder Predicts Very Brutal KO of Fury: His Entire Body Will Spin! Carl Martin Defends WBA Asia Belt Against Chul Suh in Ifugao Tomoki Kameda vs. Abigail Medina Lands on Abema TV A 'Monster' Awaits Rodriguez After Victory Over Moloney Spence: I'm Now #1 at 147, Keith Thurman Must Face Me! Video: Tevin Farmer Talks Gervonta Davis Showdown Video: Sugar Ray Leonard on Pacquiao-Broner, Canelo-Andrade Katie Taylor: Amanda Serrano Doing Everything To Avoid Me Hearn: For Golovkin, The Biggest Fight is Canelo Trilogy at DAZN Video: Eddie Hearn Reacts To Canelo-Andrade, Murata's Loss Video: Brant's Promoter Reacts To Big Win Over Murata Video: Lomachenko Talks Pedraza Fight, Linares Rematch Video: Rob Brant Reacts To His Big Win Over Murata Photos: Tevin Farmer Blasts Out James Tennyson To Retain Michael Conlan: Now I Want Real Opponents - Top 10, Top 15

Latest Active Forum Threads