WBO world welterweight champion Jessie Vargas is in a bullish mood ahead of his November 5 clash with Manny Pacquiao and intends to “surprise the world” by beating the Filipino icon.
Earlier this week Pacquiao confirmed that he will end his short-lived retirement to fight Vargas after meeting with Bob Arum, who promotes both fighters.
A media tour is expected to take place in September to officially annouce the fight, and Vargas revealed there a still a few minor details to sort out – though the fight is definitely on.
“I spoke to Bob about three weeks ago, maybe a month ago and we spoke about this fight but, as you know, nothing was confirmed until Bob went to the Philippines and Manny and Michael Koncz confirmed it was set,” he told Boxing News.
“The only thing we need to do is sit down with Bob and sort out the details. I’ll have to sit down with him once again, get a few details done but everything’s pointed in the right direction, the fight is set.”
Vargas, who won the vacant WBO title in March when he stopped Sadam Ali in a career-best performance, is already in training for the biggest fight of his life.
Last year he was outpointed by former Pacquiao victim, Timothy Bradley, but the Las Vegas-based Californian also holds decent wins over Khabib Allakhverdiev and Antonio DeMarco – both at super-lightweight.
“It’s the biggest fight out there and a fight that could catapult me to the top, that’s what I’ve always wanted,” he continued.
“My fans are happy that I’m in this fight with Pacquiao, they know I always come to fight, I always come to give them a great performance. Everyone’s excited, I can’t wait. I won’t let my fans down and I won’t let the boxing world down because I’ll make it a great fight.
“This is my chance, this is my time. I can’t wait to show why it is I hold the WBO world title.
“We’re in camp now and everything’s running smooth, my trainer is already focused on the task at hand and we’ve been working on the gameplan of how to beat Manny Pacquiao and I can’t wait to implement that.”
Vargas will enter the ring as an underdog against Pacquiao, who has won world titles in multiple weight classes and is an international superstar.
When news broke of Pacquiao’s comeback, there was significant clamour for him to fight unified super-lightweight champion Terence Crawford, who is also promoted by Top Rank.
While Vargas acknowledged he can’t control some of the criticism aimed at his fight with Pacquiao, he intends to silence those who doubt him.
“I am the WBO welterweight champion, I don’t know why a fighter would fight someone from another division,” he said.
“People will always say something negative, no matter what. If he fights a lighter fighter from a lighter division and he wins, ‘well he was supposed to win because he was a lighter fighter.’
“I’m going to surprise the world, I’m going to let them know who Jessie Vargas is.
“Crawford’s a super-lightweight champion, I’m the welterweight champion – isn’t Manny Pacquiao a welterweight? Why would he be negotiating to fight a super-lightweight?
“Tune into the fight November 5, I’m going to beat the s*** out of Manny Pacquiao and then I’ll be the next star, everyone will be talking about me. It’s plain and simple.”
Vargas, 27, was previously linked to a unification fight with IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook, however the Sheffield fighter will instead jump to middleweight and fight Gennady Golovkin on September 10.
It looked as though that move had left Vargas high and dry, however he now has a scheduled meeting with boxing’s most famous active fighter.
“I’m a fighter, we as fighters know that sometimes negotiations fall through and fights don’t happen when they should, so I wasn’t really bummed out about the Brook fight, it wasn’t that big a deal, I just knew that I’m world champion,” he mused.
“When you’re world champion, you don’t have anything to worry about when it comes to your career because it doesn’t matter who you face, you’ll always have an opponent. Who doesn’t want to fight for the world title?
“It wasn’t a factor to me, I knew I’d stay busy and I just wanted the biggest fights out there because I know that’s what the fans want. My fans want me to be in the biggest fights possible, unification fights are very important and that’s my goal to accomplish – I want all the titles. Now, with Manny Pacquiao, that’s the biggest fight out there so I’m very happy.”