Rey Vargas could hold the WBC featherweight and super featherweight titles simultaneously if he beats O’Shaquie Foster on February 11.
Vargas won the WBC featherweight championship from Mark Magsayo in his last bout, but he didn’t need to relinquish it to move up, perhaps temporarily, to the 130-pound limit to fight Foster for the WBC’s unclaimed super featherweight belt. Mexico’s Vargas (36-0, 22 KOs) and Houston’s Foster (19-2, 11 KOs), the WBC’s number one contender in the super featherweight division, will fight for the aforementioned championship in a “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event at Alamodome in San Antonio.
If Vargas wins, he isn’t sure whether he’ll remain in the 130-pound division for his following fight or return to the 126-pound limit for a defense of his WBC featherweight crown.
“The featherweight title is absolutely still mine,” Vargas said Wednesday during a virtual press conference, according to his translator. “So, no worries about that. As far as 130, this is definitely an interesting challenge, an interesting place to be. We haven’t really decided what we’re gonna do afterwards, but we’re focused on the moment right now. Let’s focus on this fight, on this great crowd that we’re gonna be in front of, and then whatever happens, it will come after this fight.”
The 32-year-old Vargas edged the Philippines’ Magsayo (24-1, 16 KOs) by split decision to take the WBC featherweight title from him July 9 at Alamodome.
Shakur Stevenson gave up his WBC and WBO 130-pound championships at the scale September 22, when he came in overweight for a 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over Brazil’s Robson Conceicao (17-2, 8 KOs) the next night at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The WBC then approved a Vargas-Foster fight for the title stripped from Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs).
Vargas thought there was a chance he would face four-division champion Leo Santa Cruz next in what would’ve been a featherweight title unification fight. The Otumba, Mexico native still wants to box Santa Cruz (38-2-1, 19 KOs), but he is focused for now on becoming a world champion in a third weight class.
“The Leo Santa Cruz fight is definitely something that we have been meaning to do for years now,” Vargas said. “But as the process got more complicated and other stuff just kept getting in our way, this door opened for us, where it was definitely an interesting challenge, something that can be as good as the Leo Santa Cruz fight.
“[I’m] in a new division, the super featherweight division, where I can test myself. Yes, it’s not my division per se, but I’m always up to new and exciting challenges, and this is definitely one of them. So, even though this isn’t the Leo Santa Cruz fight, it can definitely live up to the hype just as that one would.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.