After the boxing world was mostly centered on the Northeast and Las Vegas for the last 10 weeks, the West Coast will be the main object of affection for boxing fans this week as HBO Boxing will be live from the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Presented by Top Rank Promotions, the vacant interim WBO World Welterweight belt will be on the line as Timothy Bradley Jr. squares off against Jessie Vargas in what would be both of their returns to the ring since December and November, respectively.
Timothy Bradley’s in ring resume is unquestioned in the sport and right up there as one of the best resumes of the last 20 years.
With a record of 31-1-1 with 12 KOs, the 31-year-old, known as “Desert Storm,” has fought the toughest fighters at 140 and 147 with the rare notoriety in this area of not ducking anyone. The question for Bradley now is not if he is tough enough, but it is if he is starting to decline in this stage of his career.
Bradley doesn’t have much power, but he has a very good chin. His technical skill is unquestioned, and most importantly, he is ultra-smart in the ring.
After getting a highly controversial decision over Manny Pacquiao in 2012, Bradley defeated Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez.
He suffered his first loss in a rematch to Pacquiao in April 2014 and got the raw end of the stick in a controversial draw against Diego Chaves last December.
Jessie Vargas is a good tough young boxer that likes to compete. He is the current WBA ‘Regular’ World super-lightweight Champion and is one of the up and coming fighters for Top Rank Promotions.
The young 26-year-old from California will be coming into the ring with a record of 26-0 with 9 KO’s. As shown by his amount of stoppages, Vargas doesn’t have much pop.
However, he isn’t against getting into a slugfest in the ring. He has shown in the past that he is more than willing to trade in the ring.
The biggest names on the resume for Vargas are Josesito Lopez, Khabib Allakhverdiev, and Antonio DeMarco. So while his resume may not be as stellar as that of Bradley’s, he is really one or two wins from being in a big headliner type of fight.
His name has been mentioned as a possible challenger for a Manny Pacquiao fight in the past and in the future. A win here would be a signature win for his career moving forward.
If you are a conspiracy theorist then you might want to lean towards Vargas in this fight. He is the younger fighter who has more of a future in the sport. A win here would make him more of an appealing opponent for the rumored Pacquiao fight, and if you look at Bradley’s last fight and how he got the bad call of the judges, he might be cashed out.
However, I choose to look at things straight up, sometimes even to a fault. I see Bradley as the more experienced fighter, the better technically skilled fighter, and at this point in their career, the more mentally tough fighter. Because of that, I’m going with Bradley by unanimous decision.
Despite what the Vegas odds are saying about this fight, it should be a close fight. Some of the top boxing writers in the sport have either taken Vargas or taken Bradley with caution that he could be on the way down.
This is a fight that is practically guaranteed to go the distance and one must question if Vargas is ready to step up and technically beat what could be a declining Bradley, or if Bradley isn’t ready to be put out to pastor and still wants to be involved in some of the bigger fights in the sport.
Either way, it will be another great weekend for boxing fans before the get the grills ready, and the barbecues started for the Fourth of July weekend. Enjoy the fight.