The time of reckoning has arrived for undefeated WBA super lightweight world champion young Jessie Vargas when he faces former two-division world champion Timothy Bradley Jr. at the StubHub Center in Carson California.
Vargas’ super lightweight title won’t be on the line this Saturday because the contest will be fought at the 147-pound welterweight limit. But the WBO interim welterweight title will be up for grabs.
Favorite and Odds of Winning
Timothy Bradley enters the fight as a solid favorite in Vegas and on online sportsbooks (see odds below). But even though Vargas won’t be defending his title, his unblemished record will be in jeopardy on Saturday and the Los Angelino will be looking to make a statement when he steps into the squared circle to face his biggest challenge yet.
“I’m excited to be back in the ring with an undefeated champion,” said Bradley at a recent press conference. “I look forward to the challenge and to take his 0 away from him on June 27th.”
Pound-for-pound-ranked Timothy Bradley (31-1-1, 12 KOs) is a high-output come-forward puncher/boxer who has defeated some of the today’s best fighters such as Manny Pacquiao, Ruslan Provodnikov (in an encounter voted the 2013 Fight of the Year), and Juan Manuel Márquez.
Bradley, 31 years old, was last in action with a controversial draw against Argentine slugger Diego Chaves last December. Prior to the Chaves fight, the Palm Springs, California native had suffered his first professional loss, to Manny Pacquiao in April 2014— and he’ll be looking for his first win since, against el joven Jessie Vargas.
“I have more big fight experience than Vargas, more speed, more power and I am the better athlete,” Bradley said. “Vargas knows in his heart I am going to bring it. In the ring I will tell Vargas, ‘this in my time, not yours.’”
Check out some of Bradley’s greatest hits:
Jessie Vargas (26-0, 9 KOs) is coming off back-to-back victories over Antonio DeMarco and an undefeated Anton Novikov since lifting the WBA super lightweight title from Khabib Allakhverdiev, also undefeated at the time, in April of 2014.
“I am thrilled to have this fight,” Vargas said. “I will be facing a very talented fighter and when you have two great talents with a lot of heart it always makes for a great fight. I always elevate my game against better competition. I am ready to show and prove that I am one of the best fighters out there. There is not one doubt in my mind that everyone will enjoy this fight. I look forward to giving the fans the best of Jessie Vargas on June 27.”
Vargas, 26 years old, is a tall boxer/puncher who typically works the perimeter of the ring, working his long jab and short combinations, looking to create openings to unload bombs to the body and the noggin. Jessie has good pop on his shots, despite his 35% knockout ratio, opting to use his power to disrupt his opponents rather than to stop them.
Vargas– a perennial trainer-hopper who has worked with De La Hoya’s trainer Robert Alcazar, Roger Mayweather, and Roy Jones Jr.– will have Mexican boxing icon Erik “El Terrible” Morales in his corner this weekend.
“I’ve trained many fighters in Mexico,” Erik Morales said at a recent gym workout. “But Jessie is the best fighter I will be working with and this is the biggest fight, against Bradley,” said Morales. “We will win this fight. Jessie will put on pressure with intelligence and mix it up, using counter-punching. Bradley likes to go into his comfort zone in the ring. We will attack there too.”
Let’s take a look at the numbers:
bet365: Timothy Bradley -400 Jessie Vargas +300
Sportingbet: Timothy Bradley -350 Jessie Vargas +250
Bet Victor: Timothy Bradley -500 Jessie Vargas +350
Sky Bet: Timothy Bradley -500 Jessie Vargas +333
Not only does Bradley’s skill, experience, and grit put him head and shoulders above his opponent– stylistically, this matchup is tailormade to give Vargas fits. I predict Bradley’s high pressure will keep him in the driver’s seats and Vargas on the defense for the entirety of the encounter
“I want to be strong and get a decisive win over Vargas – like knock him out and put him to sleep,” Bradley has said.
While I do see a strong and decisive win on Saturday for Bradley, I predict Vargas’ legs and chin, as well as Bradley’s relatively low punching-power, will take him the distance in what will be a good learning experience.
Guy’s pick: Timothy Bradley Jr. by UD
On the undercard: undefeated Mexican prospect Oscar Valdez fights Ruben Tamayo.