Friday, January 27, 2023  |



Who wins Jessie Vargas-Antonio DeMarco?

Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank Promotions

Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank Promotions


Junior welterweight Jessie Vargas has extra motivation in advance of Saturday’s clash with Antonio DeMarco in Macau, China, that being a potential bout with Manny Pacquiao.

A former lightweight titleholder, DeMarco (31-3-1, 23 knockouts) rose from a first-round knockdown to unanimously decision welterweight rival Lanardo Tyner in his last bout in August.

Tyner represented DeMarco’s third straight victory since losing his WBC 135-pound title to Adrien Broner by eighth round stoppage in November 2012.

A resident of Las Vegas, Vargas (25-0, 9 KOs) will face DeMarco in his first fight with four-division titlist Roy Jones Jr. as his trainer, having replaced former cornerman Ismael Salas.

While Vargas, 25, has reeled off consecutive unanimous decision wins over previously unbeaten fighters Khabib Allakhverdiev and Anton Novikov in April and August, respectively. DeMarco, 28, is 3-0 with two knockouts as a welterweight and could be stronger against Vargas with the drop into the 140-pound division.

The results of the poll taken from 17 insiders regarding Vargas-DeMarco are as follows.


Steve Carp, Las Vegas Review Journal

Jessie Vargas W 12 Antonio DeMarco: I’m not sure how this arrangement with Roy Jones Jr. is going to play out for Jessie Vargas. He was doing really well with Ismael Salas in his corner and won his world title with Salas.

But he claims Jones has taught him a lot in the short time they’ve been together. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt in this fight. Vargas should be able to outlast Antonio DeMarco, who, no doubt, will look to press the issue.

Vargas has the superior boxing skills and he’ll put them to use here to earn a decision in what will likely be his last appearance at 140 pounds.

Record: 2-0 [Last pick: Floyd Mayweather UD 12 Marcos Maidana]


Jake Donovan,

Jessie Vargas UD 12 Antonio DeMarco: The combination of Antonio DeMarco’s inviting defense and Jessie Vargas’ adding considerably more muscle mass suggests the unbeaten titlist’s very best shot at a knockout. But I’ll err on the side of history and pick Vargas to once again go the full 12.

Record: 23-7 [Last pick: Wladimir Klitschko UD 12 Kubrat Pulev]


Norm Frauenheim, THE RING magazine,

Jessie Vargas UD 12 Antonio DeMarco: It’s not much fun fighting Jessie Vargas. More like exhausting. Antonio DeMarco’s best chance is to control the pace. But that’s a little bit like trying to lasso a whirlwind. DeMarco just won’t be able to catch Vargas with a big punch or on the scorecards.

Record: 25-8 [Last pick: Klitschko UD 12 Pulev]


Tom Gray,

Jessie Vargas UD 12 Antonio DeMarco: Antonio DeMarco’s form has been patchy against limited opposition since he violently lost his WBC lightweight title to Adrien Broner. Jessie Vargas is a natural junior welterweight and he’s the man in form.

I expect him to go through the motions and post a one-sided decision despite the odd patch of stubborn resistance from the Mexican warrior. DeMarco will give it his all but I doubt he’ll put a dent in Vargas, who is too big for him.

Record: 24-9 [Last pick: Klitschko TKO 10 Pulev]


Lee Groves,

Jessie Vargas W 12 Antonio DeMarco: Defense will be the swaying factor here. Jessie Vargas is a decent defender while Antonio DeMarco gets hit with a high percentage of his opponent’s power punches.

Also, when DeMarco steps up in class, he struggles. If Vargas is an A-level talent, he’ll use his speed and timely punching to pound out a decision.

Record: 16-5 [Last pick: Sergey Kovalev W 12 Bernard Hopkins]


Andreas Hale,

Antonio DeMarco SD 12 Jessie Vargas: If you’ve been watching Jessie Vargas fights for as long as I have, it might make a whole lot of sense when I say that my mind is blown that Vargas remains unbeaten.

On more than a few occasions, I’ve had Vargas losing only to be shocked when the scorecards were read in his favor. Antonio DeMarco represents yet another challenger that I think can outwork Vargas and snare away his WBA [“regular”] title.

Vargas is a jack of all trades and a master of none, which doesn’t make him a bad boxer but it takes a lot to put away the hard-nosed DeMarco.

Remember, this is the guy that steamrolled John Molina Jr. and his losses to Edwin Valero and Adrien Broner were an accumulation of punishment. I don’t see Vargas possessing the qualities to get DeMarco out of there, unless the judges are blind again.

Record: 20-8 [Last pick: Klitschko TKO 9 Pulev]


Keith Idec, The Record/

Jessie Vargas UD 12 Antonio DeMarco: This fight figures to resemble Jessie Vargas’ last two fights in that he’ll win a decision over a southpaw by bigger margins than the mostly uneventful action suggests.

Vargas seems to have peaked but he is a better boxer and fresher fighter than Antonio DeMarco, who won’t be able to use his superior power to take the fight out of the judges’ hands.

Record: 12-6 [Last pick: Klitschko UD 12 Pulev]


Rich Marotta, KFI Radio, Los Angeles

Jessie Vargas UD 12 Antonio DeMarco: Very good test for the young Jessie Vargas, who will not have the comfort level of fighting in his Las Vegas home for this one. Vargas will meet a solid veteran in Antonio DeMarco.

We will have to wait to see the effect trainer Roy Jones Jr. has had on Vargas but it should be a positive one. On the other hand, DeMarco having prepared in the Philippines with Freddie Roach, he should be in his best form possible.

This should be an interesting and brisk chess match where the younger Vargas and DeMarco go the distance with Vargas outboxing him and taking a decision.

Record: 21-10 [Last pick: Hopkins W 12 Kovalev]


Diego Morilla, XN Sports

Jessie Vargas W 12 Antonio DeMarco: Jessie Vargas is a hard sell, especially around press row, and even more so among hardcore Mexican fans who would presumably be rooting for Antonio DeMarco on this one. But Antonio DeMarco is way too easy to hit and Vargas connects a lot of punches.

DeMarco is too tough and proud to allow himself to be simply outboxed and you can count on him staging at least one serious attempt to rough Vargas up and turn the fight into a brawl. Unfortunately, Vargas has enough youth, speed and ring IQ to figure him out and emerge victorious once again.

Record: 11-8 [Last pick: Pulev W 12 Klitschko]


John J. Raspanti, Monthly Magazine

Jessie Vargas W12 Antonio DeMarco: WBA “regular” junior welterweight champion Jessie Vargas is undefeated as a professional fighter. Former lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco has been victorious three straight times after being obliterated by Adrien Broner. Vargas hasn’t won a fight by knockout in over three years.

DeMarco can swat. He’s knocked out 23 opponents in his 31 career fights. Troubling though is the knockdown DeMarco suffered in his last match. Vargas is on a roll and I think he’ll continue his winning ways by pounding out a 12-round decision over DeMarco.

Record: 23-10 [Last pick: Klitschko TKO 10 Pulev]


Cliff Rold,

Jessie Vargas W 12 Antonio DeMarco: Jessie Vargas isn’t fighting in Las Vegas, so he might be less likely to get the audience-insulting scorecards that are becoming too common in his fights.

Still, with Vargas being mentioned as a possible Pacquiao opponent – no, really. Stop laughing – it’s hard to imagine that he doesn’t get the decision here against Antonio DeMarco.

Record: 21-11 [Last pick: Klitschko W 12 Pulev]


Abel Sanchez, trainer of WBA 160-pound titleholder Gennady Golovkin

Jessie Vargas W 12 Antonio DeMarco: I see Jessie Vargas winning by a very narrow margin over Antonio DeMarco in an action-filled fight but not a fan-pleasing one.

Record: 7-5 [Last pick: Klitschko UD 12 Pulev]


Joseph Santoliquito/THE RING Magazine/ Sports

Jessie Vargas KO 8 Antonio DeMarco: This is a great test for the undefeated Jessie Vargas. I like the younger, fresher fighter. Antonio DeMarco will cause problems for Vargas, but the 25-year-old may have too much for DeMarco. We’ll see how good Vargas is after this.

Record: 15-0 [Last pick: Klitschko KO 7 Pulev]


Rob Soucy,

Jessie Vargas UD 12 Tony DeMarco: I think Jess Vargas’ youth, speed and boxing ability will be too much for Antonio DeMarco. However, DeMarco is a puncher and Vargas will have to box smartly for 12 rounds as one mistake could mean the end of his short title reign.

Record: 17-6 [Last pick: Klitschko TKO 6 Pulev]


Bradley Starks, guest/fan, Novato, Calif.

Jessie Vargas UD 12 Antonio DeMarco: I expect Jessie Vargas to use his faster hands and feet to carry him to a hard-earned unanimous decision over ex-champion Antonio DeMarco.

Though the young contender isn’t known for his knockout power, he does throw solid combinations and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him drop the Mexican banger at least once before the final bell rings.

Record: 12-2 [Last pick: Klitschko KO 7 Pulev]


Dominic Verdin,

Jessie Vargas W 12 Antonio DeMarco: Jessie Vargas is a competent boxer with a big will to win and has been mentioned as a future opponent for Manny Pacquiao. Look for Vargas to box and secure a victory over Antonio DeMarco by close yet undeserving decision.

Record: 21-8 [Last pick: Kovalev W 12 Hopkins]


Anson Wainwright,

Jessie Vargas W 12 Antonio DeMarco: A solid fight on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao-Chris Algieri. Antonio DeMarco has gotten a few confidence builders since losing to Adrien Broner a few years ago.

DeMarco is settled at 140, having been a champion at 135 pounds. While some haven’t been impressed by Jessie Vargas, he’s always found a way to win. I expect this to be a fast-paced encounter with Vargas youth prevailing on points in a good action fight.

Record: 21-9 [Last pick: Klitschko TKO 10 Pulev]


By the overwhelming vote of 16-to-1, the insiders favor Jessie Vargas to win his junior welterweight bout over Antonio DeMarco.


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