TIM BRADLEY VS JESSE VARGAS
By TOM WATT on June 19 2015
Tim Bradley is set to face Jesse Vargas next weekend in a fight for the apparently vacant WBO Welterweight Title - confusion as to whether this would be a title fight has flowed over the last few weeks after Floyd Mayweather U-turned on his decision to vacate all his belts, however Bob Arum last week stated that this fight would be for the WBO title as per his conversations with Paco Valcarcel, the president of the World Boxing Organisation.
It’s seems as though it has been a while since Tim Bradley has been in the spotlight, in his last fight against Diego Chaves, Bradley fought through a swollen cheek and seemingly controlled the fight, despite taking home a draw on the night. Since then Bradley has taken some time off, having had back-to-back wars with Ruslan Provodnikov, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez that seems legitimate enough but now ‘Desert Storm’ is back and he turns his attention to the undefeated Jesse Vargas (26-0-0, 9 KOs). Vargas is a highly rated fighter and with 26 straight professional wins it is easy to see why, Bradley has been here many times before though and will be confident of once again becoming a World Champion next weekend.
Bradley it seems, struggles to gain recognition for his achievements, his impressive resume includes wins over Manny Pacquiao (however controversial), Devon Alexander, Juan Manual Marquez, Ruslan Provodnikov and Lamont Peterson to name a few yet he finds himself constantly having to prove himself. As far as the welterweight division goes there are few who can hold a candle to the level of fighters Bradley has consistently faced over the last few years or the excitement his fights have generated once the bell goes, yet there is no mention of his name in the constant debate surrounding who will win the lottery to be Mayweather’s next opponent. A convincing win on the 27th will go a long way to once again establish Bradley’s legitimacy as an elite-level fighter.
That win is not by any means guaranteed though and Vargas will have grand ambitions of his own. With an impressive amateur record of 120-20, Vargas has been boxing since he was 8 years old and is now working with his fifth trainer as a pro in Mexican legend Erik Morales, having parted ways with Roy Jones Jr (pictured above) who was unable to commit to Vargas full time due to other commitments. Vargas has also previously trained with Roger Mayweather and spent 4 years being promoted by Floyd Mayweather’s ‘Mayweather Promotions’ before signing with Bob Arum’s Top Rank in 2014. Vargas is not known for being a power-puncher, with only 9 wins of his 26 coming through KO, and will be expected to out-work and out-box Bradley for the victory. Despite his impressive amateur record and having previously held the ‘regular’ WBA belt at Light-Welterweight, Bradley poses the biggest test in Vargas’ career by some margin and will be an indicator as to whether or not he belongs at this level.
A win for either fighter will see them become one of 3 Welterweight World Champions alongside Floyd Mayweather and Kell Brook, in a world where we can see 3 World Champions in one weight from a single sanctioning board, it is slightly ironic that the most competitive division has the fewest champions. The winner of next weekend’s bout will without doubt want to put their name in the hat to unify against Mayweather in his 49th and apparently final fight and will use their new-found World Champion status as ammunition for that argument although it seems that Andre Berto or Amir Khan are favourites to secure that payday in September. A unification fight with Kell Brook would see the next best option for Bradley and with the level of support Brook has in the UK, this could be a huge outdoor event next Summer in England should the Khan-Brook mega-fight fail to materialise.
Before any of that can happen though Bradley and Vargas must face off in California. Expect Bradley to showcase his famous work-rate and determination while Vargas will look to showcase his boxing skills. If Bradley tries to knock Vargas out as he did with Pacquiao in their second bout, this will be a long night for ‘Desert Storm’, however if he is able to drag Vargas into a war then he may be able to upset the undefeated fighter’s rhythm. With Manny Pacquiao nearing retirement, Top Rank will be looking for their next welterweight star and with Terence Crawford looking likely to make a move to 147lbs to fight the Pac-Man when he returns, perhaps a fight with the winner of Bradley Vargas later this year could be on the cards to pave the way for that one.
1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
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