WBC Featherweight World Champion Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo and former world champion Rey Vargas previewed their upcoming battle of unbeatens before they step into the ring this Saturday, July 9 headlining live on SHOWTIME from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
In what shapes up to be another Philippines vs. Mexico classic, both fighters will be led into this matchup by Hall of Fame trainers. Magsayo trains in Southern California under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, while Vargas trains in Mexico alongside Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain. Vargas will look to return to championship glory following a successful four-year run as a 122-pound world champion, while Magsayo looks to solidify his status atop of the division after wresting the belt away from longtime champion Gary Russell Jr. in January.
Here is what the fighters had to say about their matchups, training camp and more:
“It was an amazing feeling to bring honor to my country by winning the world title earlier this year. But at the end of the day, I’m still the same humble guy that I’ve always been. It was very emotional returning home and seeing how proud everyone was of me.
“I’m facing a fighter who’s usually going backwards. He’s tall, so that’s always his plan. I’m hoping he doesn’t run too much in this fight. If I’m able to get to the right distance with him, I’m going to get the knockout.
“I’m prepared for anything he brings. I’ve gotten great sparring with guys who move, guys who go toe-to-toe and everything in between. It doesn’t matter how he fights, I’ll be ready for it.
“My footwork is definitely very important in this fight. Just like against Gary Russell Jr., I’m going to have to make adjustments. I’m not expecting him to mix it up with me.
“I’ve already faced the best fighter in the division, and that was Gary Russell Jr. I beat him clearly and I believe that sent a message to the rest of the division. Even before he hurt his shoulder or whatever happened, I was winning the rounds.
“I’ve learned so much at the Wild Card Gym with Freddie Roach. I’ve become a much more accurate puncher with a legendary coach like Freddie. It’s a relief to know that they have my back and will be able to get the most out of me as a fighter.
“The thing I learned from Manny Pacquiao is that discipline is the most important thing. Without that, you’re nothing in this sport. That’s what helps drive me day after day.
“There’s no ‘next Manny Pacquiao’, there’s only one Manny Pacquiao. My only goal is to make my career as great as I can. Being compared to Manny doesn’t faze me. I just want to put my own name in the history books.
“All of my opponents say they’re going to knock me out. I definitely don’t believe Vargas because I don’t see him pushing for it. Him saying that is just going to motivate me and make me better on July 9.
“I’ve been preparing well for this fight. I’m always looking to improve and step into the ring as the very best version of myself. The hard work is done, now I’m just focusing on what’s going to happen on fight night.
“My goal is to dominate this fight and bring the title back to Mexico. I fight for my Mexican people and my family, and I work hard every day to make them proud.
“’Nacho’ Beristain, along with my dad, have been with me ever since the start of my professional journey. I know Nacho just as well as he knows me. I like to say that he is an ‘old man of the sea’ with all of his life experience. He knows what type of fighter I am, and I know what type of trainer he is. He knows me to perfection after all of these years.
“I’m not overconfident, but I know how hard I worked and what I’m capable of. Magsayo will come out strong with lots of energy, but we will counter that. That’s when we’ll tear his head off.
“Mexico vs. Philippines has always been a great rivalry. It’s a guaranteed, can’t-miss show. This fight is not going to be the exception.
“The Mexican fans are spicy, hot-headed and passionate. They always come out and show their support for their fellow countrymen. They will do so once again and I’m very thankful to have their support every time I face a new challenge.”