By Francisco Salazar
After fighting in back-to-back draws, both which could have gone his way, welterweight contender Jessie Vargas is not deterred about his future in the sport.
Fighting under a new promoter, network and trainer has given Vargas more motivation to continue being one of the top fighters in the welterweight division.
Vargas will face Humberto Soto in a crossroads clash Friday night at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The 10-round bout will be part of the stellar Matchroom Boxing card that will stream live on DAZN (7:30 p.m. ET/ 4:30 p.m. PT).
Friday night will mark the second time fighting under the Matchroom Boxing banner. The first occurred on Oct. 6, when he fought to a majority-decision draw against Thomas Dulorme in Chicago. His previous fight on Apr. 21 was also a majority-decision draw against Adrien Broner.
Vargas, who resides in Las Vegas, will be facing a fighter in Soto who has seen his best days behind him, but notched a convincing victory over Brandon Rios on Feb. 23 in Tijuana.
Vargas (28-2-2, 10 knockouts) is favored to win Friday night, but is not overlooking Soto.
“Soto is a two-division World Champion, too,” said Vargas at Thursday’s press conference. “He is a veteran. We are two Mexican warriors and we are going to go to war on Friday night on DAZN. Shout out to Soto for springing the upset against Brandon Rios to make this fight happen.”
The 29-year-old Vargas credits trainer Freddie Roach, who he began working with several weeks ago, for reinvigorating his career. Vargas believes Roach has pushed him to be his best.
“I need to take care of business against Soto,” said Vargas, who first signed a promotional deal with Top Rank. “I have trained properly but nothing is certain. I want to get a title in my third weight division. I left Vegas for camp for the first time in my career to train in Los Angeles. I had a great training camp with my amazing trainer Freddie Roach and I am ready for Friday night.”
Vargas, who is ranked in the top five in three of boxing’s major sanctioning bodies, including a No. 2 ranking by the WBA, believes a world title bout is around the corner should he defeat Soto.
Most of the world titleholders at 147 pounds are with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), where he fought two of his more recent fights. Vargas is counting on promoter Eddie Hearn to follow through in putting him in the best fights possible and fighting on DAZN.
“Matchroom and DAZN are changing boxing and I am excited to be a part of this. Eddie had promised me things and he continues to come through with each and every thing that he has said.”
“I am happy to be back in the ring. I can’t wait (for Friday night).”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing