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The Excitable El Feroz

BY Rick Folstad ON February 09, 2006
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“Ferocious” Fernando Vargas is excited. Very excited. He’s so excited that, well, let’s just say he hasn’t been this excited since tax day, 2000.

“I’m excited about this fight like I haven’t been excited in a long time,” Vargas said on a recent conference call promoting his Feb. 25 junior-middleweight fight against “Sugar” Shane Mosley at Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas (HBO, pay-per-view). “I am as excited like I was when I fought Ike Quartey (on April 15, 2000). I have learned so much and I am strong at 154 pounds thanks to my strength coach who helps me eat. And I am excited. I am going to be on him from round one.”

We’re all expecting a little excitement.

Though Vargas hasn’t been real busy the last couple years – not fighting at all in 2004 – he’s still one of those fighters you’d drive an hour out of your way just to watch. His fight with Mosley will be his third fight in a year. His last time out, he won a unanimous decision over Javier Castillejo this past August.

“Shane Mosley (41-4, 35 KOs) will definitely see a very hungry and ready-for-action Fernando Vargas (26-2, 22 KOs),” he said. “Shane is a comfort fighter. When he’s comfortable, he does all right. When he’s not comfortable is when he gets in trouble. So I’m not going to make him comfortable.”

It’s an assessment you could tack onto a lot of fighters. No one likes to be out of their comfort zone. But Vargas has an idea on how to make Mosley feel uncomfortable. He said he’s going to pressure him from the opening bell.

“If he thinks David Estrada put pressure on him, he doesn’t know what pressure is,” Vargas said. “I’m on him. I’m not going to let him breathe, you know what I mean? I’m going to be on him. He can’t take the pressure. I know he can’t.”

There are two things about Vargas that need mentioning. First, he said he checked in at 164 pounds last week. But he’s not too worried about making 154.

“I laugh at 10 pounds,” he said. “I’ve lost 10 pounds in two or three days and not knowing how to lose it.”

Now, he says he knows the proper way to lose weight.

But he’s also very, very tired of making 154 pounds. Going into camp, he said he was up there in the light-heavyweight division. In his fight with Castillejo, he said he had to drop 40 pounds in 11 weeks.

“I’m tired of being 154,” he said. “I’ve got one more fight at 154 in me (besides Mosley). I’m in great shape but at the same time, I’m tired. I’m a big guy. I’ve been at this weight for 10 years. And I don’t need to fight anymore if I don’t want to. But I want to take care of business this year, do what I have to do to top off this great year by beating Shane Mosley and then, I’ve got vengeance on my mind.”

That’s the second thing worth mentioning. Vargas might not be looking too far past Shane Mosley right now, but when no one is watching, he’s sneaking a glance at what might be a little farther down the road.

“There’s only one fighter out there that beat me who is still active,” he said, referring to Oscar De La Hoya. “But right now, the only person on my mind is Shane Mosley. But vengeance is on my mind. I’ve got to look great in order to demand vindication.”

And he’s pretty excited about that.

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