Undefeated WBA World super-lightweight champion Jessie Vargas takes on former two-division world champion Timothy Bradley on Saturday, June 27 from the StubHub Center in Carson, California for the vacant WBO World welterweight title
This will serve as the first significant test for Vargas, who hasn’t faced top competition thus far in his career. His most recent fight was against former WBC lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco.
Although Vargas won comfortably by unanimous decision, DeMarco had already taken a couple of stoppage defeats against the likes of the late Edwin Valero and Adrien Broner.
Timothy Bradley has already fought some of the world’s best and has beaten them. He’s been in Vargas’s position, winning easy fights, but he’s also been in the position where he’s taken a severe amount of punishment and has still come out victorious.
Bradley has defeated and lost to Manny Pacquiao, he’s beaten the Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez, and he survived a brutal bout against Russian slugger Ruslan Provodnikov.
He’s slick, fast, and he’s evolved into a boxer/brawler as well. If you want to beat Bradley, you’re going to have to hit him hard, or count on crummy judging.
Although Bradley had beaten Diego Chaves to the punch for a majority of the evening, not counting some head-butts, the judges ruled the fight a draw.
Vargas doesn’t have much power – only knocked out nine in 26 fights – and his last stoppage was against a Vivian Harris, who was coming off back-to-back knockout defeats against Victor Ortiz and an undefeated Lucas Matthysse.
Also, Vargas abruptly switched trainers from Roy Jones Jr. to Erik Morales on May 30th, just three weeks before the fight. Furthermore, this is Vargas’s fifth trainer in seven years. Meanwhile, Bradley has been with Joel Diaz for a majority of his career.
Team chemistry is vital if you want to succeed in the professionals. While I mean no disrespect to Vargas, if he was fighting legitimate competition and constantly switching trainers like he has been, he’d be out of the sport already.
Although Bradley hasn’t shown much punching power either, Diaz told Examiner.com that he’s been working with Bradley to use “his hips more to bring his body weight into uppercuts.”
“Once in a while, he brings in his amateur skills,” said Diaz, adding that Bradley recently hospitalized an undefeated sparring partner. “But in the professional business, you’ve got to have that pop in your fist, and I see a big improvement in this camp.”
Despite the odds, Vargas still think he’s going to win the fight, speaking with FightHype.com.
“We are taking this win no matter what. I want to make Erik [Morales] look good,” Vargas said. “The whole team wants to look good. The whole team is based off of my victory. You are going to see a stronger and faster version of Jessie Vargas than you have ever seen.”
Vargas is a smart fighter; he’s precise, and he’s good at making fighters fight his fight, but like I said, Bradley is a different animal.
Vargas made another undefeated fighter at the time, Anton Novikov, (29-0), look like an amateur in August 2014. But like Vargas, he was fighting tomato cans on the way up and got thrashed by a better fighter.
Vargas could have knocked him out at several points in the fight, and he made an effort when he stunned his man with well-timed counters, but he doesn’t have the power nor the killer instinct in his arsenal.
Timothy Bradley should win a comfortable decision, with emphasis on “should.” Both of these guys have links to California, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the scores are a little closer, but from a realistic standpoint, I think Bradley wins 117-111.