By Keith Idec
If this seems familiar, it should.
A fighter from Toronto spoke during a press conference Thursday in England about having more than enough time to prepare and all the motivation he needs to upset heavily favored Amir Khan. Phil Lo Greco made almost identical statements when his fight against Khan was announced in January.
Lo Greco lasted all of 39 seconds in his scheduled 10-round, 150-pound fight against Khan on April 21 at Echo Arena in Liverpool. Bolton’s Khan knocked Lo Greco (28-4, 15 KOs) to the canvas twice and recorded a first-round technical knockout to make a spectacular comeback from his devastating defeat to Canelo Alvarez nearly two years earlier.
Samuel Vargas recognizes the pre-fight similarities, but he guaranteed Thursday that he is nothing at all like Lo Greco and will give Khan (32-4, 20 KOs) a much tougher fight September 8 in Birmingham, England. The Colombian-born Vargas (29-3-2, 14 KOs) resides in Toronto, Lo Greco’s hometown, but Vargas insists that’s all they have in common.
“Mark my words, we might both be from the same city and country, but I am nothing like Phil Lo Greco,” Vargas said. “That’s a guarantee. I’m going to give Amir hell.”
Vargas was knocked out by the two best opponents he has fought.
Errol Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KOs), who has since won the IBF welterweight title, stopped Vargas in the fourth round of their April 2015 fight at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Former WBC welterweight champ Danny Garcia (34-2, 20 KOs) also beat Vargas by seventh-round technical knockout in November 2016 at Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.
The 29-year-old Vargas battled to a 10-round majority draw with Argentina’s Mauro Godoy (30-3-1, 16 KOs) in his last fight, June 2 in Niagara Falls, Canada.
The 31-year-old Khan knows, though, that he can’t look past Vargas, toward more meaningful, profitable fights.
“I am excited to step in the ring with Amir Khan on September 8,” Vargas said. “I am very pleased that my promoter, Lee Baxter, and Eddie Hearn from Matchroom Boxing could come to an agreement fairly easily and make this fight happen. I have been granted more than enough time to properly prepare for Amir and you will see the best Samuel Vargas to date.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.