By Keith Idec
Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s company once promoted Jessie Vargas, thus Mayweather knows just how tough of a fight Adrien Broner has accepted.
Broner was supposed to oppose Omar Figueroa on April 21 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Once the undefeated Figueroa withdrew from their 12-round, 140-pound main event early in March, reportedly due to a shoulder injury, Broner agreed to face Vargas.
“Jessie Vargas is a hell of a fighter,” Mayweather told FightHype.com during an interview posted Monday night. “One thing about Jessie Vargas, he’s not no pushover. He can fight.”
Mayweather, whose company is a co-promoter of the April 21 card, questioned why the Broner-Vargas fight will be contested at a catch weight of 144 pounds. The retired superstar sees the catch weight as an advantage for Broner because the 5-feet-10 Vargas will have to lose three more pounds than usual.
“Me, myself, I don’t understand why it’s at a catch weight,” Mayweather said. “I seen when he fought Paulie, he fought Paulie at 147. So he fought Paulie at 147. I think he should fight Jessie Vargas at 147. I feel like skills pays the bills. If you good, you good. If you’re not, you’re not.”
Las Vegas’ Vargas (28-2, 10 KOs) has been a full-fledged welterweight for his past four fights, starting with the 28-year-old contender’s unanimous-decision defeat to Timothy Bradley in their June 2015 fight for the then-vacant WBO 147-pound championship.
Cincinnati’s Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC), who’s about four inches shorter than Vargas, has fought at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds three times. Those fights resulted in split-decision victories over Paulie Malignaggi and Adrian Granados and a unanimous-decision loss to Marcos Maidana.
Broner, 28, also lost a 12-round unanimous decision to former IBF welterweight champ Shawn Porter in his only fight contested at the 144-pound catch weight at which he’ll battle Vargas.
The former four-division title-holder has repeatedly stated, though, that he is best suited to compete at 140 pounds. In his last fight, unbeaten four-division champion Mikey Garcia out-boxed Broner to win their 12-round, 140-pound bout by unanimous decision July 29 at Barclays Center.
“I think the fight should be at 147,” Mayweather said. “This is just me, honestly speaking. They didn’t ask Paulie to fight at a catch weight.”
Broner-Vargas will headline a Showtime tripleheader a week from Saturday night.
Before their main event, Houston’s Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) and Hugo Centeno Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC) will fight for the WBC’s interim middleweight title. The telecast also will include a bout between Baltimore’s Gervonta Davis (19-0, 18 KOs) and Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar (28-2, 21 KOs) for a version of the WBA’s super featherweight title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.