TWO-WEIGHT world champion Jessie Vargas will be keeping a close eye on the outcome of this Saturday’s (April 9) Las Vegas rubber match between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley, as he holds hopes of facing the winner later this year.
When asked about the likelihood of him fighting the Pacquiao-Bradley victor, Vargas told Boxing News, “I believe there’s a good possibility of me fighting the winner. I’m the WBO welterweight champion, after all. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see who the winner is, and then after that, hopefully we can make the fight before the end of the year.”
Regarding the Pacquiao-Bradley clash itself, Vargas is anticipating a keenly contested match-up. The Californian 26-year-old described the bout as “a 50-50 fight.” He continued: “I know Bradley won the first fight, but it was controversial, so this is Bradley’s best chance of really beating Pacquiao. I wish them both the best of luck. It’s going to be an intense fight, with fireworks and back-to-back action.”
Of course, Vargas is very familiar with Bradley, considering he fought him just 10 months ago. Jessie suffered his first, and so far only, professional defeat during the contest, but is proud of the way in which he bounced back in his next outing – an impressive ninth-round stoppage of Brooklyn’s previously unbeaten Sadam Ali for the vacant WBO welter crown last month.
Vargas stated: “It felt great winning again. I always stayed mentally strong and I always believed in myself, even after losing to Bradley. I knew I’d accomplish great things again. I had faith, and it happened. Now I’m just looking to the future. I’m looking to achieve a lot more success in this sport.”
Having previously reigned as a WBA titlist at super-lightweight, Vargas feels that he carries greater power at welter, although he does not attribute this solely to the added poundage.
“Without a doubt, I’m punching harder at 147lbs compared to 140,” Jessie said. “I feel very comfortable at 147, but [the increase in power] is not only because of the extra weight. It’s also because my team [led by trainer Dewey Cooper] have been able to bring out the best in me in training. I’ve been perfecting my technique and working on my power.
“I’m very happy to be fighting at welterweight. There’s a lot of competition, which is great. All the fans want to tune into the welterweight division right now, alongside the heavyweight division. I’m happy to be one of the top guys at 147, and I want to unify the belts.”