Vargas: ‘I definitely feel that I am in my prime now’

Jessie Vargas says he is coming into the prime of his career in the latest episode of ‘Born Fighter’, as he prepares to face Mikey Garcia for the WBC Diamond Welterweight title at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas on Saturday February 29, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Vargas (29-2-2 11 KOs) meets follow Mexican-American star Garcia in a crunch clash at 147lbs, with both men viewing victory in the clash as a gateway to more World title glory in 2020.

Vargas was one of the first fighters to sign with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA and was the first headliner on a DAZN show in America, and after an entertaining draw with Thomas Dulorme in Chicago in October 2018, he followed that with a commanding sixth round KO win in Los Angeles over Humberto Soto in April.

The 30 year old now faces one of the biggest fights of his career in the shape of former four-weight World champion Garcia (39-1 30 KOs) and he told Lauren Gardner that he believes he is hitting his peak years as he targets a crucial victory on Saturday night.

“I definitely feel that I am in my prime now,” said Vargas. “I feel good, solid, very experienced. I’ve gained plenty of knowledge throughout the years, and I think that I am in the best time in my career because of all that experience. Experience is what really makes a fighter. Sometimes in a big fight, a lack of experience can affect you, but I am not in that position, I’m good and everything is good on my side.

“Every fighter wants to become a World champion and I’ve done that twice already, and now I want to become World champion for a third time. I became World champion in 2016 and god willing, I will become champion again in 2020.

“We are giving the fans what they want to see. Mikey is a terrific fighter and we are going to give the fans a great fight, it has all the ingredients to be like a Barerra-Morales style trilogy, you never know because we are two fighters that are will to do anything to come out with the victory. This is one of the fights that I am interested in because it’s going to generate a lot of interest and it’s my time to shine.

“There’s so many things that I’ve learned in my career, but I think trusting in your team is very important, and preparation is everything. If you make mistakes in your preparation for a fight, the fight might not go as planned so you need to make sure that all hands are on deck for your preparation, that way you never have to go back and say ‘I wish I had done this differently’.”

Garcia and Vargas clash on a stellar night of World championship action in Frisco, with the longest reigning British World champion Kal Yafai (26-0 15 KOs) puts his WBA World Super-Flyweight title on the line against the former pound-for-pound king and four weight World ruler Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (48-2 40 KOs) and rising Mexican sensation Julio Cesar Martinez (15-1 12 KOs) makes the first defense of his WBC World Flyweight title against unbeaten European champion Jay Harris (17-0 9 KOs)

Israil Madrimov (4-0 4 KOs) defends his WBA Inter-Continental Junior-Middleweight title in an official eliminator for the #2 position in the WBA against Venezuelan Charlie Navarro (29-9 22 KOs), Matchroom Boxing USA talents Diego Pacheco (8-0 7 KOs) and Alexis Espino (5-0 4 KOs) get their first taste of action in 2020 and headline star Garcia will showcase two of his Garcia Promotions charges with 20 year old unbeaten Texan Flyweight Jesse Rodriguez (10-0 6 KOs) clashing with Marco Sustaita (12-2-1 10 KOs) over ten rounds and unbeaten Mexican Middleweight Leo Ruiz Acevedo (6-0 4 KOs) taking on Dennis Knifechief (12-11 7 KOs) over six rounds.

Photo: Matchroom Boxing

 

 

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Garcia on Spence fight: ‘It wasn’t my night and not the fight that I wanted to fight’

Mikey Garcia says he will prove he can win a World title at Welterweight and become a five-weight World champion as he prepares to face Jessie Vargas at 147lbs at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas on Saturday February 29, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Garcia (39-1 30 KOs) has stayed at Welterweight to meet Vargas (29-2-2 11 KOs) following his World title clash with IBF ruler Errol Spence at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in March, stepping up two weights following his comprehensive win over Robert Easter Jr in a unification clash in Los Angeles in July 2018.

The 32 year old returns to action just under a year since his meeting with Spence, and has chosen to remain at 147 pounds to meet former WBO Welterweight ruler Vargas, the former two-weight champion himself looking to return to World title level.

Garcia understands that fans and media alike are curious to see him remain at Welterweight and not go back down to 140 pound or 135 pounds – and the man himself says that he will shine on the first night of the latest phase of his glittering career.

“I think that there’s a lot more that I can do at 147 pounds,” said Garcia. “The Spence fight was not a representation of that, it wasn’t my night and not the fight that I wanted to fight, I just couldn’t perform and once in a while you have an off night and it happened to be that night for me. I need to show my fans and the boxing world that I can do a lot more, even at 147 pounds.

“A World title in a fifth division is very exciting. I would love to fight for a title again at 147 pounds, claiming a World title in a fifth division would be amazing and that’s why I am staying at 147, but there are other motivations for me in the sport, I’m not done, there’s a lot more to accomplish. After this fight I’ll look at options at 147 pounds and 140 pounds, I’m not stuck at either weight, I’m keeping my options open.

“I have a lot of legacy to build still, I want to create a bigger legacy for myself and for my family. I’m not done. I still feel I have a lot more to accomplish and I know I will. I’m in the prime of my career right now. There’s no looking back or stopping me right now.

“I consider this the third stage of my career because I am coming off a loss. Can I come back stronger and better than before or am I done? Past my prime? That’s why I’m here to prove it to everyone that I’m not any less than what you saw in previous years, in fact, I am only getting better. I’m not declining at all; I’m fast, strong and talented, and I consider this next part to be the best years of my career.”

Garcia’s clash with Vargas is part of a stellar night of action in Frisco, with the longest reigning British World champion Kal Yafai (26-015 KOs) puts his WBA World Super-Flyweight title on the line against the former pound-for-pound king and four weight World ruler Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (48-2 40 KOs) and rising Mexican sensation Julio Cesar Martinez (15-1 12 KOs) makes the first defense of his WBC World Flyweight title against unbeaten European champion Jay Harris (17-0 9 KOs)

Murat Gassiev (26-1 19 KOs) will make his long-awaited Heavyweight debut against Jerry Forrest (26-3 20 KOs), Israil Madrimov (4-0 4 KOs) defends his WBA Inter-Continental Junior-Middleweight title in an official eliminator for the #2 position in the WBA against Venezuelan Charlie Navarro (29-9 22 KOs).

Matchroom Boxing USA talents Diego Pacheco (8-0 7 KOs) and Alexis Espino (5-0 4 KOs) get their first taste of action in 2020 and headline star Garcia will showcase two of his Garcia Promotions charges with 20 year old unbeaten Texan Flyweight Jesse Rodriguez (10-0 6 KOs) clashing with Marco Sustaita (12-2-1 10 KOs) over ten rounds and unbeaten Mexican Middleweight Leo Ruiz Acevedo (6-0 4 KOs) taking on Dennis Knifechief (12-11 7 KOs) over six rounds.

Photo: Matchroom Boxing

Mikey Garcia: ‘I look forward to working with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN’

Mikey Garcia has signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing USA.

Former four-weight World king Garcia (39-1 30 KOs) will return to action on February 29, exclusively live on DAZN, as the California favorite looks to regain his World champion status and continue his glittering career at the elite level.

Garcia, who turned 32 today (December 15) will step back into the ring early in 2020 for the first time since moving up two-weights in March to face Welterweight ruler Errol Spence in a bid to win World honors at a fifth weight, and Garcia is on the hunt for more World title clashes and big name showdowns to add further scalps to a stellar resume that boasts wins over the likes of Adrien Broner, Roman Martinez and Orlando Salido – and Garcia believes that the best is yet to come.

“I am happy to announce my return to the ring for February 29,” said Garcia. “I am eager to make my return and grow my legacy. I look forward to working with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN, and I want to thank all my fans for the continued support. Fight details will be announced soon and I can’t wait to be back in the ring.”

“I’ve been talking to Mikey for over a year now and I’m so happy to welcome him to the team,” said Eddie Hearn. “Mikey is a standout star and I’m looking forward to working with him on big fights moving forward.

“He will return to the ring on February 29 and we will be announcing the opponent and venue shortly. The talent within Matchroom Boxing and on DAZN is unprecedented – we look forward to an epic 2020!”

“Mikey Garcia joining the DAZN roster will allow us to deliver even greater value to our subscribers as our Fight Season schedule begins to take shape for 2020,” said Joseph Markowski, DAZN EVP, North America. “We’re a data-led business and so we’re naturally drawn to the fact that Mikey has consistently delivered numbers – whether it’s been television audience, pay-per-view buys or ticket sales. We look forward to welcoming his fans to DAZN on Leap Year Day.”

Crawford on fight with Spence: ‘I believe it would be the biggest fight in the welterweight division’

On March 16, IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. sent a message to everybody at 147 that he might be the best fighter in the division when he dominated Mikey Garcia over 12 rounds. Now, it’s WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford’s turn to send a message.

Crawford will have that opportunity on April 20 when he battles Amir Khan at Madison Square Garden.

If Crawford beats Khan, the fight many would love to see is Spence-Crawford, but the business of boxing may get in the way. Spence is with PBC, which means his bouts will be on Showtime or FOX, while Crawford is with Top Rank, and fights on ESPN, so a fight with Spence would be difficult to make, but according to Crawford, it can happen.

“Of course, it is makeable. I believe it would be the biggest fight in the welterweight division,” Crawford said on a conference call on Tuesday. “But like you said, I have this fight against Amir Khan.  After the fight, we can talk about Errol Spence and Al Haymon and Top Rank doing business together. But right now, I am not even thinking or worried about Errol Spence.”

I agree with Crawford; I think the fight can be made. However, it won’t happen in 2019. The business of boxing probably won’t let it happen this year, but if both guys continue to win, and both guys popularity continues to grow, it will eventually happen. But, at this point, I think boxing fans are going to have to be patient, for now.

 

Garcia on Spence: ‘He’s the truth’

Errol Spence Jr. retained his IBF Welterweight World Championship in his hometown in front of 47,525 fans with a unanimous decision over four-division world champion Mikey Garcia in the main event of the first Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event Saturday night from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

All the cliches came out after this fight. “Size Matters,” “Skills Pays the Bills,” and so on. Garcia was making his welterweight debut, and while Spence’s size did matter, his skills are what got it done.

“Throughout training camp, a lot of commentators thought he was too smart, and I couldn’t box as well as him,” said Spence. “I showed I can box and I can move my head if I want to. The game is to be smart; it’s the sweet science. I had the size and reach advantage, so why not use it to take away the jab? It’s a weapon for me, and it takes away one of his weapons.

“The Truth” threw a career-high 1082 punches and out-landed Garcia by a staggering 345 to 75 margin.

After 12-rounds of action, all three judges saw the fight for Spence, by scores of 120-108 twice and 120-107.

“I really appreciate the love and support of the fans tonight,” said Garcia. “It’s a great night and all the credit to Errol, he’s a great champion. He’s the truth. He executed his game plan very well.”

What’s next for Spence? He wants Manny Pacquiao, who was at AT&T Stadium last night.

“He’s broken records here before, he’s a legend in the sport, and it’d be my honor to fight him next,” said Spence.

“Yes, why not?” said Pacquiao, when asked about facing Spence next. “We’ll give the fans a good fight. I’m so happy to be here at AT&T Stadium, and I hope I will be back here soon.”

We’ll see if Pacquiao will step up to the challenge, but after what we saw on Saturday night, if he declined the fight, who could blame him!

Photo: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions

Spence: ‘I don’t think anyone has the power to knock me out’

The perception, in boxing, is that many are running far away from IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. Whether that’s the case, who knows, but one man we know for sure who is not running is four-division world champion, Mikey Garcia. In his welterweight debut, Garcia is looking to defeat Spence on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas(FOX Sports PPV).

When talking about this fight, you have to look at size. Spence has fought at 147 his career; while Garcia has not gone past 140, but according to Spence, size won’t matter in this fight.

“The size difference won’t matter,” Spence said this week. “Skill for skill and talent for talent, I’m more dominant than him in every aspect. I’ll beat him at anything he wants to do. On paper, he’s the toughest opponent to date, but once we get in the ring, we’ll find out.

“I don’t think anyone has the power to knock me out. We don’t allow that kind of mentality into training camp. I hope he tries though.”

If he beats Garcia on Saturday night, Spence believes that would make him the number one pound-for-pound boxer in the sport.

“This win makes me pound-for-pound number one,” Spence said. “Mikey has a great record and a big fan base, and I feel like winning this fight turns me into a star. Everyone wants to take Floyd Mayweather’s place as the face of boxing, and this puts me on the right track to become the face of boxing and the best fighter in the world

“This is a legendary fight. This is where we see what fighters are made of. There have been a lot of great fights when little guys came up and beat a bigger fighter. You can’t ever write off the little guy. This is going to be a hard fight.”

Spence is looking to bring the pain to Garcia, and his primary goal is to make Garcia regret taking this fight.

“I know I’m the best fighter in the world and I’m going to show it Saturday night. I’m going to punish him and make him wish he took his brother’s advice to not take this fight.”

Photo: James Smith/Dallas Cowboys

Garcia: ‘I know there is a lot more to my game that you guys still haven’t seen’

Usually, when a fighter goes up in weight, he likes to test himself against lesser opposition. Then, after that initial introduction, a fighter may go after the best in the division, but not Mikey Garcia. The four-division world champion is making his welterweight debut against maybe the best 147-pound fighter in the world. That fighter is IBF welterweight champion, Errol Spence Jr.

Garcia will battle Spence this Saturday at AT&T Stadium(FOX Sports PPV) in Arlington, Texas.

For Garcia, it is not what he saw in Spence, but what he saw in himself that made him want to take this fight. Recently, on a conference call with the media, Garcia spoke about the moment he realized he wanted to fight Spence:

“Look, I was watching him fight Kell Brook, and I saw him really turn the fight around and showed to everybody why he’s the world champion and why he deserves all the credit,” Garcia said.

“And then I saw him fight Peterson. And we were watching with my dad and my brother, and I told Robert my brother and my dad that after a fight or two I want to fight Spence. And they all thought I was crazy and just joking, but I was serious. I told them, “I’m going to move into welterweight because I’m coming I’m moving to welterweight. I will fight and challenge Spence.

“I saw his fight with Peterson, and even though he did great, I just feel like there is a lot more that I can do. People keep asking me what did I see in him. Was there a particular fight? Something that I saw in his game? Some holes in his game? No. It’s not even about that.

“It was just what you guys haven’t still seen in me, and I know what I can do and what I’m capable of, and that’s what I’m betting on. That’s exactly why I took this fight because I know there is a lot more to my game that you guys still haven’t seen.”

Garcia has a lot of skills, but we’ll size matter come Saturday night in Texas?

We’ll find out soon…

Spence on Garcia fight: ‘This is definitely one of those crossover fights for me’

IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. is thought of by many in the sport as possibly the best fighter at 147. To date, the biggest name that Spence has defeated was former world champion Kell Brook, but that fight took place in the UK. Now, Spence is preparing for the biggest fight of career, and this time it’s on American soil.

On March 16 at AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas(FOX Sports PPV), Spence will battle four-division world champion, Mikey Garcia. This fight will mark the first time that Spence will headline a pay-per-view, which means a lot to the Desoto, TX native.

“This is definitely one of those crossover fights for me,” Spence said at a media workout on Tuesday. “Garcia is the biggest name to date that I’m fighting on American soil. It’s just great being so young in my career, fighting in my first pay-per-view and fighting with a guy like Garcia who brings over a different fanbase.

“You can tell how I looked ten weeks ago compared to how I look now. I’m not overlooking Garcia. I’m in tip-top shape, slim and ready. The difference is that now in a pay-per-view fight you have to be more dedicated and focused to promote the fight, showing that you are a star in boxing and sports media.”

Spence(24-0, 21 KOs) has only gone the distance three times in 24 fights, and one thing that he has shown is a killer instinct, which enjoys showing in his fights.

“If you know me and you know my boxing style, you know I’m never in a boring fight,” Spence said. “Even if it’s just me beating up my opponent, or them just being hurt, I’m always going to try to stop my opponent and put on a spectacular performance.

“I put that pressure to look great on myself, not just because I’m undefeated or because everybody says this about me, I do it for myself to put on a great performance and a great show. I want to do that so great guys can look at me and think about if they want to fight me or not. That’s why a lot of guys don’t want to fight me.”

Garcia won’t be an easy night for Spence on March 16, and the pressure is on Spence because he is the bigger guy and the fight is in his own backyard. However, if Spence is who many say he is, he must win these type of fights.

Photo/Credit: Renato Rimach/TGB Promotions

Garcia: ‘A lot of people underestimate the power when they face me’

Mikey Garcia hosted a media workout in Riverside, CA. on Tuesday as he prepares to battle IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. on the first Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event Saturday, March 16 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The undefeated Garcia(39-0, 30 KOs) is a four-division champion, but this by far is the biggest challenge of his career, and while Spence is the bigger guy, Garcia believes that people should not sleep on his power.

“A lot of people underestimate the power when they face me,” Garcia said. “They don’t see my physical size as a threat. But you know they feel the power once we’re in the ring and definitely change their minds.

“(I wanted to fight Spence) because he’s the best right now in the (welterweight) division. I want to make a statement. I want to make a mark, and you know I have to do that against the best.”

Not only does Garcia believe he has the power to hurt Spence, but the 31-year-old Garcia thinks he is the more skilled fighter.

“I believe I’m a better fighter overall,” Garcia said. “When it comes to footwork, I think I have the better footwork. When it comes to speed, I think I have better speed. When it comes to defense, I have better defense. With timing, I have better timing. All of these things are what will help me win this fight. The only thing that he has going for him that’s apparent is the size, height, weight and reach.

“I’ve always said I’m better than him. Not by a lot, but just enough to beat him. He also reminds me of myself in a lot of ways, the way he fights, the way he is. He does everything well, good footwork, good speed, controls the fight at his distance that he likes… In a lot of ways, it resembles the way I fight. But I still feel that I’m better in every one of those ways and that’s what I’m betting on.”

This is an intriguing fight, but no matter what happens, you have to give Garcia a lot of credit for trying to beat a guy that many are reluctant to fight, but, in the end, Garcia is willing to risk it all to be great.

Photo: Don Alexander/Dallas Cowboys

Spence on top fighters at 147: ‘Whoever ends up on top from this group, will end being a Hall of Famer’

IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. is considered, by some, to be one of the best welterweights in boxing, but to be considered the best, he is going to have to beat some of the top guys in the division.

Some of those top guys include WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford, WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter, and WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman. While those guys are belt-holders at 147, there a few other names out there that are tops in the division, including Manny Pacquiao and Danny Garcia.

According to Spence(24-0, 21 KOs), who will battle four-division world champion Mikey Garcia(39-0, 30 KOs) on March 16 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the best at 147 need to fight each other.

“The welterweight division has always been one of the strongest divisions in the sport, and it is like that now,” Spence said on Saturday at a press conference to promote his fight with Garcia.  “We just need to fight each other. I’m ready to fight any of them. Whoever ends up on top from this group, will end being a Hall of Famer. That’s how you become an all-time great.”

Credit should go to Mikey Garcia for his willingness to fight Spence; credit should also go to Amir Khan who is stepping up to fight Crawford in April.

Sadly, the politics of boxing might prevent Top Rank’s Crawford from fighting PBC’s Thurman, Spence, and others. However, not many PBC fighters have been willing to step up and face Spence, which is why what Garcia is about to do should be applauded.

Ultimately, the top guys at 147 do need to fight each other. It’s good for the sport, and it according to Spence, it could mean a spot in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Photo: Andy Samuelson/Premier Boxing Champions