Rey Vargas (30-0, 22 KOs), the undefeated 122-pound champion from Mexico City, Mexico, will make the second defense of his WBC World Super Bantamweight Title against NABF Bantamweight Champion Oscar "El Jaguar" Negrete (17-0, 7 KOs) of Tierraalta, Colombia in the 12-round co-main event of the showdown between Miguel Cotto and Sadam "World Kid" Ali for the WBO World Junior Middleweight Title on Saturday, Dec. 2 at Madison Square Garden. The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Vargas is a 26-year-old champion who brings a considerable height and reach advantage in every fight, which he has used to nullify all of his previous opposition. In February 2017, Vargas traveled to the United Kingdom to defeat Gavin McDonnell for the vacant WBC Super Bantamweight Title. For this fight, Vargas enlisted the help of Hall of Fame trainer Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain, who has been training him ever since. In August, Vargas defended his title for the first time against longtime super bantamweight contender Ronny Rios via a decisive unanimous decision, and will look to defend again in his Madison Square Garden debut on Dec 2.
"I feel privileged to be fighting at an arena where some of history's best fighters have fought," said Vargas. "I know that Oscar Negrete is a brawler and that this is a fight between two undefeated fighters. Negrete is a young man who pushes forward hard, and his 17-0 record and his place in the rankings demonstrate that he's a great rival. Also, it will be an honor to share the card with Miguel Cotto, and I know that the arena will be filled with a lot of emotion for his last fight. And, just as a star is making a grand exit, I hope that a new star is born, and his name is Rey Vargas."
Negrete, a 30-year-old native of Tierraalta, Colombia, has been a staple of Golden Boy events on the west coast after making his United States debut in June 2014. Since then, he has appeared over ten times in the California, steadily defeating tough opponents in both the bantamweight and super bantamweight divisions. In his last outing, Negrete moved down to 118 pounds to defeat Sergio Frias for the NABF Bantamweight Title in the main event of the June 30 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN. Negrete, who will debut on the east coast at Madison Square Garden, will move up again to take on the toughest test of his career.
"I am super happy for this opportunity," said Negrete. "I am not only seeing one dream come, true but two dreams. It's been a dream of mine to fight for a world title and a dream to fight at Madison Square Garden, and on December 2, I'll be doing both. I know Rey Vargas is a great fighter, but I've always wanted to fight the best. If I'm going to fight for a world title, it has to be with a great rival who is worth it and whom I can be proud to fight."
"Vargas and Negrete are both undefeated Golden Boy Promotions fighters who will bring a tremendous fight to Madison Square Garden on Dec. 2," said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. "Both are coming off tough fights earlier this year and will risk their undefeated records in a co-main event that will look to steal the show."
"Vargas is a young champion with a huge physical advantage over his opponents," said Oswaldo Kuchle, President of Promociones del Pueblo. "Vargas is way too much for his division. Vargas also possess extraordinary qualities, but most of all a seek-and-destroy mentality in the ring. With a win over Negrete, Vargas could solidify his status as the best fighter in his division."