Vargas thinks war with Salido is more FOY worthy than Thurman-Porter
Francisco Vargas was in selfie-heaven.
The junior lightweight titleholder stood in the depths of the Atlantic Avenue train station next to Barclays Center, taking pictures with fans.
As the clock ticked past 1 a.m. on Sunday morning, Vargas hopped a Manhattan-bound Q train back to his Times Square hotel, surrounded by two enthusiasts who had contacted him on Facebook and were now excited travel companions.
Vargas (23-0-2, 17 knockouts) had just taken in Keith Thurman’s rousing win against Shawn Porter in a fight many have dubbed as a front runner for Fight of the Year.
Vargas, who had picked up his FOY award on Friday at the boxing writer’s dinner for his stoppage of Takashi Miura last November, sniffed at such a suggestion. While Vargas was highly complementary toward Thurman-Porter, he still doesn’t think it surpassed his all-out war with Orlando Salido on June 4 at StubHub Center in Carson, California, that ended in a draw. No, when it comes to the balloting for 2016’s FOY, Vargas thinks he will be a two-time winner, edging Thurman-Porter if the voting was taken now.
“I believe so,” Vargas told RingTV.com through translator/manager Ralph Heredia as the train rumbled into Manhattan. “My fight was non-stop action from start to finish, from the first round to the 12th round. Listen, it was a great fight tonight. It was just a different level. You had two Mexican warriors who from start to finish, from round one to round 12 gave non-stop action and I believe – as you’re aware I won Fight of the Year for last year. And I believe this right now is the leading candidate for Fight of the Year this year. Don’t get me wrong, this was a great fight,” Vargas went on. “But you cannot compare it.”
Thurman and Porter fought a highly competitive, brisk, extremely entertaining bout that was also a ratings success, earning an overnight rating of 1.8 on CBS, likely the highest for a boxing telecast this year.
“It was an action-packed fight from start to finish,” Vargas said of Thurman-Porter. “I believe the fans liked the fight a lot. It was a great fight.” As he spoke, it was hard not to notice that Vargas’ face was still nicked up around the eyes, still showing the effects of his scuffle with Salido earlier in the month. Vargas was vague about when he will return to the ring after such a grueling battle.
“You know that I had a very tough fight with Miura (last November) and this fight (with Salido) was very tough, too,” Vargas said. “I’m just taking some rest but of course I have to speak to my manager and promoter (Golden Boy) and we’ll see. Bu right now I’m just taking some rest.”
He is open to fighting Salido again — if the money is right. “I always say, if you want to be the best, you have to fight the best,” Vargas said. “And I believe that Salido is one of the best. But I’m going to look for the best options and leave it up to my team. But to be in wars like that, you definitely have to be compensated. As long as the money is right, I’ll fight anybody,” he said, adding a little cryptically, “You know my style. I’m willing to die in there. That’s just who I am.”
Mitch Abramson is former reporter for the New York Daily News and can be reached on Twitter at: @Mabramson13.