By Thomas Gerbasi
Josue Vargas is back home, this time he hopes to stay.
“I’m planning on staying in New York,” said the Bronx junior welterweight, who fights Victor Vazquez this Saturday in Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre. “Vegas wasn’t too bad; it’s just that I couldn’t be with my team and my father, who’s my trainer. I’d rather be in New York, where I have my friends, my fans, my supporters, and my coaches. It’s where I’m comfortable at.”
The 19-year-old Puerto Rico native has been no stranger to traveling since turning pro in 2015. He fought his first four pro bouts in Mexico, picked up a couple wins in New York, and then fought three of his next four in Las Vegas as he worked with the Mayweather Promotions team. Now, he’s continuing his career in New York, where he defeated Zack Ramsey in March, and he’s happy to be staying busy and getting a main event slot this weekend.
“It’s a great thing,” he said. “It’s another dream come true for me being the main event. The last fight I was the co-main event. Now this time I’m the main event, so I’m more excited than ever.”
As for the distractions that come with living and training at home, Vargas says that’s not an issue.
“When it’s fight time, people know not to hit me up or text me or take me out on the weekend. They know I’m focused and they know I’m gonna say ‘No’ to that. To be honest, I don’t really like going out. I don’t really like partying, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink. Sometimes, I like having fun here and there, like after my victory I like celebrating. But besides that, I barely go out. I just like to stay focused on boxing, and every time I have a fight coming up, I just think about my fight. I gotta get this win in order to get a step closer to a world title and to get on top. That’s my dream, becoming a world champion. So I always stay in the gym, even if I don’t have a fight coming up. I go to the gym four times a week just to stay in shape, running, doing my sparring.”
A couple of those sparring sessions came against Yonkers’ Vazquez, who has won three straight heading into Saturday’s bout.
“I’ve been in the ring with him and we sparred two times,” said Vargas. “We’re friends, but I haven’t seen him fight in a minute, so I looked up one video of him and that’s all I needed to see. I already know his style and I know what he’s coming to the table with. He’s a pressure fighter, so I’m ready for that.”
That’s Vargas’ usual pre-fight scouting procedure: a quick look, then back to the gym to focus on what he needs to do to win.
“It all depends on who I’m fighting,” he said. “If I know the opponent, I don’t really study him too much. If I don’t know you or never heard of you, I’ll study you a little bit, for like an hour, and that’s all I need to see.”
And with that glance, Vargas has whatever he needs to get the job done. It’s been working for him so far, whether as an amateur with a 72-8 record or as a pro, where he’s gone 10-1 (six KOs), with the only loss coming by way of disqualification against Samuel Santana in October 2016. He’s put together four wins since then, and this week, as always, winning is all he’s thinking about.
“I don’t think about losing, ever,” Vargas said. “I’m always confident. I don’t care who I fight. I could be fighting Floyd Mayweather next week and I know I’m gonna win. That’s all that’s in my mind: winning, winning, winning. Never losing. Every time I’m in training, I think about winning. Every time I get into the ring, I think about winning. I’m always confident. I know what I’m about in the ring, I know what I can do, I know I got the skills and I know I train hard, so there’s no way I’m losing.”