With just seven fights to his name over the past five years, Jessie Vargas’ patience has truly been put to the test.
A good thing finally accompanied his wait, as the former two-time titlist prepares for a welterweight showdown versus Mikey Garcia. Their bout takes place February 29 at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, marking Vargas’ third fight with sports streaming service DAZN while California’s Garcia (39-1, 30KOs) makes his debut on the platform.
“This fight was mentioned to be in the past and it was one that I always liked,” Vargas (29-2-2, 11KOs) told BoxingScene.com. “Eddie Hearn (Vargas’ promoter) proposed it, I had no problem taking the fight. I wanted the fight last year, but when it couldn’t happen I was offered another and headlined the first DAZN-USA show (versus Thomas Dulorme, last October).
“Eddie has always come through, and he came through in a big way with this fight.”
Both boxers will enter following lengthy layoffs. Garcia has been out since a lopsided 12-round loss to Errol Spence in March, with the former four-division titlist having not fought in eight months prior to that point.
Vargas has been out since a 6th round knockout of Mexico’s Humberto Soto in their catchweight bout this past April. The 30-year old Las Vegas native went more than a year between fights following a November 2016 welterweight title-losing effort to Manny Pacquiao in November 2016. His win over Aaron Herrera in December 2017 was followed by a 2018 campaign in which he was held to 12-rounds draws with Adrien Broner and Dulorme, before trumping Soto in their fire fight earlier this year.
The latest win was supposed to serve as a transition from welterweight to junior middleweight, only for several opportunities to fall through. Now he finds himself back at welterweight, approving of the opportunity presented and confident that it will lead to where he hopes to return his career.
“We expected this fight with Mikey Garcia a while ago and I’m glad it’s happening now,” notes Vargas, who insists that making 147 again will not be an issue. “We had questions along the way. I certainly didn’t want to sit out the last eight months of 2019 but Eddie was always in communication. We were talking about fighting (then 154 pound titlist) Jaimie Munguia in September. That didn’t happen nor did a couple of other fights, but Eddie asked me for patience and to trust that a big fight would happen.
“Now here we are in this position of being able to establish myself and prove that I still belong at the top. My goal is to become a world champion once again. Beating Mikey Garcia will get me to that opportunity, and once my hand is raised in victory on February 29 it will have been worth the wait.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox