LAS VEGAS — Undefeated welterweight prospect Jessie Vargas will debut with promoter Top Rank against once-beaten, Mexican-born Aaron Martinez, of Los Angeles, on Thursday from The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in his hometown of Las Vegas on ESPN2.
The matchup between Vargas (19-0, 9 knockouts) and Martinez (18-1-1, 4 KOs) is happening prior to Saturday night’s HBO Pay Per View-televised clash between WBC middleweight beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and RING champion Sergio Martinez from the sold out Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Vargas-Aaron Martinez also takes place two days prior to the Showtime-televised bout featuring WBC junior middleweight beltholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Josesito Lopez, the latter of whom is coming off a ninth-round knockout of former WBC welterweight beltholder Victor Ortiz in June.
Before facing Ortiz, Lopez had lost a split-decision to Vargas in September of last year. A winner of 10 straight fights, Martinez has not lost since falling by Abdon Lozano in November of 2008.
Vargas weighed in at 148 pounds — one more than Martinez.
Vargas is coming off a one-sided, unanimous decision over veteran Steven Forbes that was contested on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s unanimous-decision victory over Miguel Cotto on May 5 — five days prior to Vargas’ 23rd birthday.
Vargas then signed with manager Cameron Dunkin the next month in Las Vegas, where he was on hand to another of Dunkin’s fighters, Tim Bradley, dethrone Manny Pacquiao as WBO welterweight titleholder by split-decision in June.
On June 21, Vargas signed with Top Rank’s CEO Bob Arum, who promotes Pacquiao — this, after having been promoted by the company named for Mayweather, whose bout with Cotto and the entire event were promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
Entering the clash with Lopez, Vargas was coming off a second-round stoppage over Walter Estrada in July of last year that represented his second straight knockout and his sixth stoppage win over his previous eight fights.
Vargas wound up scoring a disputed split-decision over Lopez on the undercard of Mayweather’s HBO Pay Per View televised fourth-round stoppage that dethroned Ortiz as WBC welterweight titleholder.
Against Lopez, Vargas was appearing on a Mayweather undercard for the third time, having also done so when Mayweather vanquished Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley by unanimous decision in September of 2009 and May of last year respectively.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]