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New Faces: Jessie Vargas

24
Jun

Jessie Vargas lands a left hook to Antonio Soria in his fourth pro bout at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, Calif., in December of 2008. Photo / Dwight McCann-Fightwireimages.com.

JESSIE VARGAS

Vital Statistics:

Age: 21
Hometown: Las Vegas
Weight class: junior welterweight
Height / reach: 5-10 (178 cm)/ 71 inches (180 cm)
Amateur record: 135-20
Turned pro: 2008
Pro record: 10-0, 5 knockouts
Trainer: Roger Mayweather
Managers: Floyd Mayweather Jr./Leonard Ellerbe
Promoter: Mayweather Promotions

Best night of pro career: Systematically broke down former title challenger Arturo Morua (25-13-1, 14 knockouts) to a sixth-round stoppage on the Floyd Mayweather-Shane Mosley undercard on May 1. Vargas patiently stalked Morua from start to finish, evading the Mexican’s punches while punishing him with left hooks to the head and body, hard jabs, and lead right hands until the bout was halted to spare the still standing but thoroughly beaten veteran any more damage.

Worst night of pro career: Lost control of his emotions during a frustrating fight with journeyman Trenton Titsworth in his second pro bout in October of 2008. Titsworth kissed Vargas on the neck during a clinch, prompting Vargas, who was in firm command of the fight, to retaliate by hitting on the break. Vargas won a unanimous four-round decision but he lost a point for his infraction along with Titsworth.

Next fight: Faces veteran Ernesto Zavala (21-4, 9 KOs) in the Fight Night Club co-feature at Club Nokia in Los Angeles on June 24. Zavala is an experienced southpaw who recently ended a five-year retirement. The 37-year-old boxer, who was once considered a fringe contender, won his first comeback bout in April. The six-round bout will be part of the Fox Sports Net telecast and live stream on RingTV.com and Ustream.com.

Why he’s a prospect: Vargas, who began boxing at age 8 under the guidance of former champ Roger Mayweather, had an extensive amateur career that culminated with a spot on the 2008 Mexican Olympic team. He is serious about learning the craft of boxing and though he usually employs a thinking pressure fighting style, he has shown versatility and the ability to adapt to different styles in recent bouts. He possesses above-average power in both hands.

Why he’s a suspect: Despite training around the best defensive boxer in the sport, Vargas is sometimes too offense-minded. He lacks consistent head movement and sometimes covers up behind his gloves while stalking his opponents, allowing them to outwork or step around him. He may have trouble with movers.

Story lines: Born in Los Angeles, Vargas moved to Las Vegas when he was 6 years old and found boxing at the now-defunct Nevada Partners gym at age 8. Former two-division titleholder Roger Mayweather has been his only trainer since his first amateur bout. Vargas won the Junior Golden Gloves national titles in 2002 and 2005, as well as the national PAL tournament in 2005. He made the 2008 Mexican Olympic team before he graduated from Palo Verde High School but was eliminated in the North American qualifying rounds. Turned pro in September of 2008 and immediately earned the respect of veteran matchmakers for his willingness to take on tough opposition such as fellow undefeated prospects. Eric Gomez originally compared Vargas to a young Antonio Margarito but the Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker has emended that original observation: “I think Vargas better than Margarito was at the same stage of his development because he can box. His technique is more sound. He can punch and he has a steady attack but he’s learning how to counter punch.”

Fight-by-fight record

2008
Sept. 5 Joel Gonzalez KO 1
Oct. 4 Trenton Titsworth UD 4
Nov. 1 Michaelangelo Lynks RTD 2
Dec. 5 Antonio Sorria UD 4

2009
April 17 Anthony Lenk UD 6
Sept. 19 Raul Tovar UD 6
Dec. 2 Travis Hartman TKO 2

2010
Jan. 29 Rickey Kinney UD 4
Feb. 25 Robert Luna Jr. TKO 1
May 1 Arturo Morua TKO 6

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