Mikey Garcia vs Jessie Vargas Preview
By Will Collett
Following Tyson Fury’s dominant display against former WBC champion Deontay Wilder this past weekend, boxing fans are in store for another huge night of boxing at The Ford Center at The Star in Texas on Saturday night.
This card, quite easily the best that Matchroom Boxing USA have put together, sets the pace for the rest of 2020.
In the headline event, four-weight world champion Mikey Garcia takes on two-weight world champion Jessie Vargas. In a quest to prove he belongs at welterweight and to lay claim to a world title in his 5th division, Mikey Garcia returns to 147 pounds following his unsuccessful debut at the weight against Errol Spence last year.
Many critics arose following this disappointing performance from Garcia. His team claimed that the sudden jump up in weight was a predominant factor in this loss. Unable to bring his speed and timing up with him, he fell victim to a boxing masterclass from the IBF champion.
This fight will be Garcia’s debut on DAZN and so he will undoubtedly be extremely keen to change opinions on his ability to compete at welterweight. A victory here has grown in importance since the fight was first scheduled, with a potential super fight against Manny Pacquiao being proposed for Saudi Arabia in the summer.
Vargas was actually one of Matchroom USA’s initial signings and has since been promised a high profile fight. This is that fight and a win here is well within his reach. Coming into what he believes to be his prime years, Vargas believes now to be the perfect time for this fight and it is one he is extremely confident of walking away victorious from.
He also has a significant size advantage over the Mexican-American boxer, however, despite this and the challenges that he is expected to pose, team Garcia handpicked him which suggests a confidence in their ability to negate these advantages.
Such a well schooled and accomplished fighter in Garcia emerged as the betting favourite with many bookmakers, however, many fans are reading a lot into his first performance at the weight, as well as Vargas’s previous campaign at 154 pounds. There is a lot riding on Garcia making the weight far better than last time as he is going to need his speed and reflexes if he is to put on the performance he is capable of.
If Garcia is unsuccessful, he surely has no choice but to return back down to a lower weight division. It would be sad to see such an elite fighter beaten by lesser opponents solely due to size. There are also mouth watering clashes to be made in the weights below so this move would not sadden fans even if done in victory.
With both fighters looking to use a victory here to springboard them towards further world title opportunities, there is a huge amount on the line. Their style of fighting should compliment each other nicely and the result could very easily be a fan friendly, all out war.
The co-main event is a fight that many are expecting to upstage the featured bout of the evening. Kal Yafai vs Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez looks to be Yafai’s breakout fight at an elite level.
Gonzalez has already cemented his name in the history books, having had an incredible career so far with a record standing at 48-2 and 40 KO’s. Yafai is Britain’s longest reigning current world champion and looks to head to elite status with a victory on Saturday night.
For many, in this fight, ultimately the question being asked is, how much Gonzalez has left in the tank. Having led a career that has spanned for many years, as well as having just been in two monumental wars with Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, his recent opponents have not shown us much and so question marks hover over his name. He gets his chance on Saturday night to silence all doubters.
Gonzalez, known for his ability to control the ring will aim to put Yafai under significant pressure, unlike that of which he is used to in the professional ranks. Yafai will however, look to use his natural size advantage to dictate the pace of the fight. He will have to of course, watch out for Gonzalez’s signature combinations. This mixture of clever aggression, speed and timing has overwhelmed countless opponents in the past.
In the past, comments have been made as to the level of opposition that Yafai has faced. The blame for this however cannot be laid at his door, with it being public knowledge how long he has chased fights of this magnitude.
Saturday night comes the time for him to show the world what he is truly capable of and I believe that despite his recent inactivity, he will produce a career best performance, having craved such an opportunity for so long.
Further down the card is a fight that normally would not go under the radar, however with such a big headline and co main event, Martinez vs Harris is a bout that has not drawn as much attention as it perhaps deserves.
Martinez, known in the UK for his victory over Andrew Selby and then destruction of Charlie Edwards [despite a no contest decision], has gone on to knock out Cristofer Rosales in emphatic fashion and looks to continue this hugely exciting and impressive run of wins at flyweight.
In the opposite corner will stand Jay Harris who recently dispatched Irish hero Paddy Barnes with a 4th round stoppage. He looks to put an end to Martinez’s future world title plans by ripping his WBC world title away from him.
Elsewhere on the card, Joseph Parker returns in action in what can only be called a run out fight to get rid of any ring rust. Matchroom USA prospect Diego Pacheco also features on the card, as well as the Uzbek beast in Israil Madrimov, who has been knocking out opponents for fun and building up a cult following amongst the hardcore boxing fans.